Every Sunday is filming day at our apartment now with my new job, which I just completed week 4 of. I’m still in the process of working on my Tastes of Asia series, so I thought I’d choose a country that straddles two continents this week: Turkey. Turkey oftentimes is perceived as part of Europe, but it’s actually partly in Western Asia. When I visited Istanbul back in July 2011, I actually took a boat to the Asian part of Istanbul the city, as the city of Istanbul is technically half in Europe and half in Asia!
Two spices that were new to me when I started cooking Turkish food were sumac and Aleppo pepper. Sumac is a fruity, citrusy berry that is dried, ground up, and oftentimes used as a topping or garnish on everything from beans to salads to meats. Aleppo pepper originates in the Syria/Turkey region of the world, particularly known for its mild spiciness, fruitiness, and especially for its naturally oily feel when you rub it between your fingers. It’s a brilliant red color and notably has no seeds inside the actual pepper. Both spices are beautiful to look at as well as addictive. I used both of these spices to make a rendition of Turkish Adana kebabs, named after the fifth largest city in Turkey. Adana kebabs are loved not just for their interesting shape and appearance, but also their bouncy texture and delicious spice mixture. I used New Zealand lamb mince for mine. The Aleppo pepper gives these kebabs a unique deliciousness, and it’s rounded out with some parsley and a generous amount of salt for flavor.
I was really happy with how my kebabs came out, and ideally, if I can still get reasonably priced Australian or New Zealand lamb, would consider keeping this on rotation in our home when having a lamb craving. Looking forward to sharing this soon!