Exploring Turkish Cuisine, Mains, Recipes
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Coconut Crumbed Mung Bean Sprout Fritters

Patience…patience… Life in Turkey is very slow, so slow that waiting is big part of my life. Take a deep breath and let it be, let it go… Boşverthe word Mr.O often throws at me who frets over small things. I’ve been waiting for my knife to be delivered for over 5 months, though I was told 3 months. What kind of knife, you would wonder, right? I ordered a special knife when we had a family trip to Babakale. I’m still waiting, bugging Mr.O’s dad to find out if it’s on its way or it’s still being made. We were told that the knife will be passed on to the family friend who is living there and then she will bringing it to a relative in Çanakkale, and then finally to Istanbul, not by post but in person, who will come to Istanbul, and god knows when it will happen. At the moment, two of my knives, Opinel and Sürmene, and guess who won in the tomato slicing competition, which is the best sharpness test? To my surprise, the Turk beat the French…. I defended my French knife, protesting that it’s been used more! 

Beside the knife fight to distract myself from all the voices talking to me at the moment, growing things can also help to relax and that’s why people take up gardening for meditation. So my first batch of kombucha has been bottled and stored in the fridge. Why my instagram photos are so bad? I don’t use it but I think I should start using it. I like natural photos and instagram looks somewhat unnatural but it’s a great way to delude people to think they are in a space far different to reality, which we need sometimes.

At the shop where I usually buy mung beans, I spotted black lentils(siyah mercimek), twice the price of normal lentils. I couldn’t resist it since I love black in food, not in other things, but these weren’t really black, strictly speaking.

I’ve been sprouting mung beans and tossing them here and there, usually salad or soup. But I got my chef’s blood going and made something worth to post. Yes, sprouted beans are a lot more efficient to cook, more nutritious and easier to digest without the bean effect, boatedness. Don’t feel sorry for the sprouts and blend them all in a food processor.

I bought some avocados and limes from the market last week and they were in the right ripeness. I usually buy several at different stages of ripeness and check their ripeness and, if they are ripening faster than I want them to, I put them in the fridge. Luckily, avocados are easier to find than when I first came but there are so many bruised avocados here because Turkish people like to squeeze them to check if they are ripe or not. In fact, they don’t need to squeeze but instead they can just check the colour of the stem or press gently around the stem. Did you know you can prevent guacamole from turning brown by putting a pit in the bowl?

Anyway, instead of putting them in separate containers, clogging the already crowed kitchen, I just put them all in one container since I wasn’t going to fully grow the sprouts. While letting them sprout, I used a portion of them in a veggie soup and the rest ended up in this dish, which somewhat reminds you of spring or summer. Actually, it’s been quite warm over the last couple of weeks, except two or three days of gales, which created some havoc, cancellations of ferries and shortage of fish.

waves

I was going to make this falafel, a bit like the Syrian falafel I ate in Hatay. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and the look of the crispy fritters. However, frying isn’t in my genes and I opted for baked fritters, yeah, yeah, yeah, I will fry them if I have to cook for you but they were destined for my tummy so… Is that why chefs often don’t eat what they cook? Or is it because they lose their appetite from smelling and cooking as some claim?

I coated them with coconut flakes and rubbed with generous amount of oil before baking and, while you’re waiting for them to cook, reading a book or something else, you’ll suddenly turn your head towards where the kitchen, sniffing like a hungry puppy…. because the smell of coconut is so tempting.

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So it’s only half baked and you’re already in the kitchen, getting impatient to taste this yummy fritters. You can prepare the salad with the remaining sprouts, radish, red onion, carrot, and whatever you fancy and dress it with lime, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, mint or coriander, a touch of garlic, nut or olive oil, and so on, imagining being out in the fields on spring days.

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It’s delicious….. no other words to say…. when something is really good, silence seems to be the best word. A hint of spiciness and ginger are all that this had, no garlic, no spices such as curry, cumin, etc. Over the years of cooking, I’ve learned that simplicity is the best. I always thought that fritters contain eggs but no. Some people use baking power to lighten the texture but I prefer it natural, and in fact, it was quite light unlike other fritters made with, lets’ say, chickpeas.

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It’s more obvious that the lentils don’t look black and I have no idea why they are called ‘black lentils’. Anyway, this hamburger style fritters got to be eaten with sauce, yeah~~ you can make whichever sauce you fancy, but I made a quick chutney with quince jam, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper since I didn’t really plan for sauce. All that is missing is a nice glass of the Normandy cider in the photo, or dry fruity, aromatic Riesling…..Spring seems to be just around the corner but don’t rush… just wait with patience while eating something healthy for crazy summer days!

Mung Bean Sprout Fritters

Ingredients(makes 8-10 medium patties)

3 cups sprouted mung beans
1/2 cup buckwheat, millet, chickpea or mixed grain flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, seeded
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp lime juice
coconut flakes for coating
sea salt and black pepper
fresh coriander or parsley
vegetable oil for greasing

chutney for condiment

1.  Preheat the oven at 200’C. Sauté the onion in a pan with a little oil.
2. Put all the ingredients, except the flour, salt and pepper, in a food processor and pulse.
3. Turn out the mixture into a bowl and add the flour and mix (if wet, add some more flour), and season with salt and pepper.
4. Make patties of the size you prefer and coat each with coconut flakes
5. Place the patties on the generously oiled baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
6. Turn them over and bake for 10 more minutes.
7. Serve them with chutney and salad.

NB: You might prefer fried fritters as in this over my skinny fritters and I don’t blame you.:)

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