I was very lucky to be invited to Arzu’s house to see how she made erişte. She had set aside her Sunday to work with her sister making enough erişte to last her through the winter. I had not met her sister before but there was absolutely no doubt that they were related as you will see in the photos!
This is how Arzu greeted me, sitting on the floor, hard at work. Her husband opened the door and ushered me in. No wonder she couldn’t answer the phone when I checked she was in!
She starts off by throwing a pre-rolled ball of dough onto the little table on the floor.
Erişte is a very popular pasta. The dough is made with flour, water, eggs and salt. She bought a 5kg pack of plain flour. (There is only plain flour to be found here. No such thing as strong flour or cake flour etc.)
Her sister is working on a side table they have set up. They are both concentrating heavily. This is the first time I have ever seen a European style rolling pin at work in a Turkish kitchen. I have no idea where they got it from.After the dough has been mixed well to a strong consistency (there is nothing soft about this dough) it is rolled out into very fine sheets. As each one is rolled out, it is gently carried to a room where sheets have been laid out and they wait a few hours for it to dry a bit. Sunday was a 35C degree day so 2 to 3 hours sufficed.
Then the erişte was sliced. This erişte here would be considered on the slightly thick side and often it would not be greater than 1/4″ or around 7mm.
It is laid out to dry and regularly turned until it snaps when you break it. This will probably take around 2 to 3 days.
Erişte can be eaten as pasta, boiled until al dente, which takes about the same time as commercial pasta. Butter will then be dropped in it and it will be tossed. Possibly adding some salt and pepper too.
The most popular thing to do with erişte however is to add it to a soup which more often than not, will include green lentils.
When the pasta is completely dried, it will be stored in ‘tulum’ – cotton bags that are breathable so that should it still retain any moisture at all, it will not go mouldy.
There are many famous recipes for soup with erişte and two are listed here.
Here is a popular dish in some villages too.