Recently we walked down to visit the remaining Auntie Muriel at her home down by the deniz. A pleasant walk on a beautiful spring day and all of us including My Hurley Dog enjoyed ourselves immensely. A spot decision was also made to take My Hurley Dog to the beach so he could have a run and a splash (after all it is very much warm enough here).
Arriving at Auntie Muriel’s I immediately realised we came on a good day. Her son was returning to Germany the next morning and so she and her daughter were making Icli Kofte for his farewell party.
Icli Kofte (also known by Daughter and I as Nene Kofte) is Daughter’s absolute favourite meal. They are bloody hard to make. The few times The Turk and I tried they were dismal failures but everyone in the village seem to know how to make them and damn it they make it look so easy!
Anyone who has been to a Middle Eastern or Lebanese Restaurant (or has been to the Middle East or Lebanon) would have tried the similarly made Kibbe but I know that Icli Kofte are just that little bit better (Daughter says its because it is made with love).
There is an awful lot to the recipe so if you want to give these a go I would suggest you try the recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table. I have tried a few of her recipes and they always successful (well most of the time) and spot on for taste.
Referring to her recipe we do not put in walnuts at all. We do use all the spices mentioned but we also add cumin and biber salcasi (pepper paste) to give the bulgur dough a tinge or glow.
The dough needs to be perfect. If it is not perfect it will be damn near impossible to make the little parcel and fill with the meat mixture. To be honest I cannot do it. It is bloody hard. I sat there watching Auntie Muriel making these at such a speed all the while chatting and laughing, not a care in the world. I tell you the last time The Turk and I tried to make them it nearly caused WWIII in our household (and it left a hell of a mess to clean up). Oh also we add the pepper paste to the dough as well – obviously we like it spicy here in the village.
After a couple of leisurely hours drinking cay and listening to Turkish chatter Auntie Muriel sent us on our way with a plate of her Icli Kofte for dinner. I carried my precious cargo of kofte home and immediately started making the sauce which we add to pretty much everything. I have mentioned the sauce before – pepper paste (yes again), garlic and oil, honestly it works with pretty much everything.
Ozlem bakes her Icli Kofte but here we either deep fry them, a favourite with the çocuklar (kids) or boil them (my favourite and obviously a lot healthier).
Served with a salad, for me this is a meal but to many this is merely an appetizer, either way I will finish with Afiyet Olsun or enjoy your meal.