We are in our Aegean village of Assos and after a wobbly start weatherwise, we are all finally settling into summer mode.
If you let it, food can be something of an issue here: more people in the house, less sophisticated shops and markets than in the big city, and generally everything less convenient. But the plus point, of course, is the splendid markets bursting with the freshest of fruit and vegetables, often from the stallholder’s own garden, fields, or orchards and also much cheaper than Istanbul.
By now, I know many of the local market women in nearby Ayvacık so it’s nice to go back and say Merhaba! How are you, Nasılsın, how have you been?
All this aside, pulses still play a role in daily menu-planning. Lentils and bulgur are key. I thought I would try out these patties or köfte when after a quick skim-through, I saw the ingredients included the familiar fine-grained bulgur combined with potato, a perennial favourite in this household! A big plus was that you can make them in advance and they can wait in the fridge. They are prepared beforehand and served cold as a side dish, you see.The flavours of many of these Turkish dishes always mingle better if left to sit a while.
This particular recipe is from Ozlem’s Turkish Table, one of my favourite sources of inspiration. While it works perfectly OK as a recipe, the general comment here at home was that the flavouring needed to be more pronounced. This is what I tend to feel generally about pulses: they are great, healthy and economical but they can be bland if the seasonings are not well-adjusted. Maybe on a personal level, we just like our meze to have real oomph!
Potato & Bulgur Patties/Patatesli Bulgurlu Köfte
extra chopped parsley/dill to garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the bulgur, red pepper paste, red pepper flakes and spring onion. Mix well with your hands. This will help the paste and spice to really blend in with the bulgur and onion. Add the hot water to the mixture and give a good stir. Leave aside for about 15 minutes and stir once in a while so that the water will be well absorbed.
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked, and drain. In a separate bowl, mash them with the cumin. Add the olive oil, salt and ground pepper and knead with your hands until smooth. Stir the potato mixture into the bulgur, add the chopped parsley and mix well with your hands. Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Have the bowl of water ready by your side. Wet your hands with the water and take a walnut-sized amount of the mixture and mould into a patty shape. Place the patties side by side on a serving dish.
- Cover with cling-film and place in the fridge until required. NB remember to bring to room temperature before eating.
Further NB: the potato and bulgur patties can be served on a bed of lettuce leaves or with a dipping sauce of pomegranate molasses and olive oil.