|carrot salad with garlic yogurt/yoğurtlu sarımsaklı havuç|
Yogurt is a fact of life if you live here in Turkey. You will find it everywhere sold in containers so large it’s hard to imagine that anyone can possibly eat their way through one.
But even in our household, we get through one regular-sized carton every single day.
The essential Turkish yogurt is always plain and always eaten as a savoury. Only now is it available with fruit and therefore as a sweet but this is that bad ole foreign influence! I myself have totally lost the taste for yogurt as dessert even though in those early days, I used to yearn for it. Goes to show, you can get used to anything.
It is often used as a basis for cold meze: mixed with crushed garlic and a little olive oil, it can go a long way.
Here are some typical examples:
- Cacık [pron: jajik]: chopped or grated cucumbers with dried mint or fresh dill, more often eaten in summer than now, eaten with a spoon
- *Haydari [pron: high/da/ree]: a classic yogurt dip with mint and garlic
- Eggplant salad/patlıcan salatası a firm favourite at the meze table
* haydari differs slightly in that the yogurt must be süzme or strained. In other words, it shouldn’t be too watery. Click on How to … or at the top of this blog to find out how to make your own. It’s easy, very easy ….. but even easier just to pop out and buy it all ready whey-free!!
|I’m not promoting this particular brand over any other: this is just to show what to look for when|
you are at the supermarket
This simple yet delicious recipe for carrots in a garlic-infused yogurt dressing uses a ‘thick, creamy yogurt’ or indeed, süzme.
I have some slight reservations though: many of the Turkish recipes for this meze involve either half cooking the carrots first or else grating them and then gently frying in olive oil. My natural inclination – and one that I have been following for years – is to simply grate the carrots and add them to the garlic-infused yogurt along with a swirl of olive oil. The other very Turkish addition is that of sugar: I did add it today but honestly next time, I won’t. I don’t think it adds particularly to the taste of this salad and I actually prefer it without.
|I love that vibrant colour|
This issue of adding sugar to various meze does crop up. Last night we had dinner at one of the Turkish cousins’ and she had added sugar to the fava or broad bean purée – I couldn’t detect it; another cousin adds loads of sugar to her enginar or artichokes in olive oil and it makes a fantastic difference – it’s delicious! We discussed this havuç salatası and they thought it should be added so that’s why I thought I would give it a try. I do add sugar to tomato-based recipes BTW.
- In a deep frying pan, over a low heat, lightly sauté the carrots in the olive oil. Add the salt and sugar, cook them down to half their original volume, still retaining their crunchiness, and set aside to cool.
|like this …|
- Stir the yogurt and garlic together until smooth and creamy.
|and like this …|
- Transfer the carrots to a glass serving bowl and when cool, pour the yogurt over. Alternatively, stir the yogurt into the carrots and serve on a platter. Refrigerate until required.
- Serve garnished with sprigs of parsley or simply chopped parsley, and a sprinkling of paprika flakes if desired.