I am pleased to be able to share a post about Ramadan and Iftar in Instanbul, Turkey as part of my Ramadan Around the World Series
Istanbul, the melting pot of the cultures and city on two continents, has its own magic during Ramadan. The mosques are decorated with strings of lights and people gather at night to enjoy concerts with traditional Ottoman music on several stages throughout the city. The most famous spots are Sultanahmet (next to the Blue Mosque) and Üsküdar on the Asian side where you have a real chance to listen to the big names of Turkish classical and religious music for free.The events are sponsored by the municipality as well as the ‘Street Iftar’, held alternating in different quarters of the districts. Already two hours before Mahgrib, the shores of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn get crowded. Turks love to celebrate their Iftar outside during summer months and they love barbecue (mangal). We know from records the İftar traditions in the Ottoman times. Directly after the call for prayer was heard, water, dates, cream and honey were served. Then it went on with soups and all kind of dishes nonstop till Sahur. Music was played and space for deep conversations provided, as Iftar should not only nourish the body but also the soul.
A traditional Turkish Iftar table can still be quite elaborated, especially when people invite you to their home. Usually a soup, salad, often seasoned with pomegranate vinegar, some Mezze such as stuffed wine leaves or peppers, marinated artichokes or Hommos, a dish with meat, filled and baked breads (Pide) and Pilav (rice or bulgur) are served. The typical Turkish sweet is Baklava but there is also a special Ramadan sweet.
Güllac is a light sweet, made of corn starch sheets, milk, sugar, rose water, nuts and pistaccio. Pastry shops sell it during Ramadan but it is also easy to make at home.
I haven’t encountered ‘the one’ typical Ramadan main dish so far. The Turkish cuisine uses its imagination for all kind of Kebabs. The following eggplant Kebab is a traditional Turkish dish and perfect for Ramadan as it is quite easy to prepare and once in the oven, it’s done. Got this recipefrom a friend and cooked it quite often.
Patlican Kebab (Eggplant Kebab)
You need for 4 persons:
2 medium-sized eggplants
3 medium sized potatoes
1 big or 2 little tomatoes
2 pointed peppers (in Turkish sivri biber, if you can’t find, try it with bell pepper)
500g minced meat
1 onion, diced
25 g butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Broth (I am lazy, doing it with one stock cube and that’s fine)
Spices: Salt, pepper, cumin, chopped parsley, chilli flakes (in Turkish ‘pul biber’)
Wash and dry the eggplants and cut them in slices (about 2cm thick), peel the potatoes and cut them in slices (about 1 cm thick). Mix the minced meat with the egg, the spices , the chopped parsley, the diced onion, the breadcrumbs and some chilli flakes and form flat meatballs. Layer the eggplant, potatoes and meatballs alternating in an ovenproof dish. Cut the pointed pepper and the tomato in pieces and put on top.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add the tomato paste and saute it, add the broth and if necessary, taste it with some more spices. Pour the mix over the eggplants, potatoes and meatballs. Cover the ovenproof dish and let it cook for about 30 min (circulating air mode, 190 degree). Remove the coverand let it cook for 20 min more.
Serve the Kebab with rice or bread and Yoghurt or Cacik.
Afiyet olsun – Enjoy your meal!
“Behind Kahk& Karkade is a German expat sister with a past in Turkey and a future in Egypt. Blogs about culture, travel and daily life as an expat.
Her Blog can be found at: https://kahkandkarkade.wordpress.com/
Her gravatar link: http://tr.gravatar.com/kahkandkarkade