It’s Not Easy Being Yesil

Following on from yesterday’s post about making sarma I thought I would dwell a little on yet another of my food fears  *deep breath*.

chard 4

When I was a kid I had a prejudice against anything yeşil (green).  It was never going to cross my lips.  It was poison I tell you – POISON!  A lot of my numerous food issues can be put down to the fact that my mum was a terrible cook.  Green beans were always brown.  Peas too.  Broccoli was just gross – who wants to eat miniature (brown) trees anyway?  And spinach?  Puke!  I also had my well known prejudice against domates and patlıcan but as we have already previously discussed my very obvious need for therapy I return to the story at hand.  Yes, a prejudice against anything yeşil.

Being my mother’s Daughter I too am no chef (and certainly not to the standard of a Turkish Housewife) so it was always going to be a trial living here in Mersin where home delivery is just about non-existent (although for some strange reason there is a home delivery service for Burger King and Macca’s).  So with my numerous and varied aversions to pretty much everything and the fact that I am a crap cook leaves my menu choices, well, I am going to say it, pretty limited.

Thankfully The Turk’s family took pity on me and fed us on a regular enough basis so that we didn’t starve as well as giving me a few cooking lessons so that I was self-sufficient (or perhaps because they were sick of feeding us).  Of course living in Mersin many of the meals are green based meaning I had to overcome my prejudices and learn to embrace yeşil.

In the first few months of winter many of the farms here in Mersin have a green leafy vegetable growing, so similar to spinach that I assumed that was what it was.  Naturally with my aversion to the colour of baby poop green I have never grabbed any but while visiting Auntie Muriel recently she gave me a big bunch of the ‘spinach’ to take home and cook for The Turk.  It will make his heart stronger she cries.  It turns out that the spinach was in fact not spinach it was something called pazı (Chard) which of course I had never heard of before but as The Turk is still feeling poorly I thought I should use some of this magical green stuff to help him spring back into health.

On the advice of Songul, SIL extraordinaire, she immediately gave me the secret recipe for chard – Kis sarmasi or stuffed winter greens!  Anything stuffed is delicious to be honest.  Having already mastered the art of the sarma I immediately knew what to do.  Stuff ‘em!

If you want to try your hand at Kis sarmasi let’s go:

20 piece pazı (chard) – cut into two or three size dependent

200gm kıyma (mince meat)

3 cups pirinç (rice)

2 finely diced soğan (onion)

2 grated domates (tomatoes)

2 tablespoon salca (biber paste)

1 bunch finey chopped maydanoz (parsley)

2 teaspoons dried nane (mint)

Cumin, tuz (salt), karabiber (pepper) for taste

Limon tuz (half cay glass mixed with water)

Zeytin yağı (olive oil)

From there it’s pretty simple; mix all the ingredients before slowly adding the olive oil.  You want the oil to cover everything but not get too sloppy.

Sear the chard leaves (or vine leaves) for about 30 seconds until they are semi-soft (soft enough to manipulate).  Then fill and roll.  And fill and roll.  And fill and roll.

Place the little parcel into a large pot and cover with water.  I pour in a little more olive oil and limon tuz (as needed) before placing a heavy plate over the sarma. Leave on medium simmer for 40-50 minutes.

This recipe made approximately 60 kis sarmasi, devoured by family in no more than 10 minutes.  Yah me!!!  _________________________________________________________________________

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4 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy Being Yesil

  1. Janey, you have inspired me. I don’t have an aversion to yeşil and I’m a pretty good cook….but for some reason I gave always shied away from making stuffed foods. I’m not really sure why….think I’m worried that the rice won’t cook and will be crunchy! Having read this though, I’m going to give it a go. After all, if you can do it…..!

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  2. Pazı is always delicious. If you don’t want to faff with the above recipe, cook the chopped leaves in sautéed onion with a little oil, salt, pepper and garlic and serve with yogurt. My perfect lunch.

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  3. Pingback: Gotta Cut Footloose | janeyinmersin

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