During a cooking class held recently at the Makati Shangri-La hotel, Turkish chefs Harum Imre and Ramazan Edrem showed us how to prepare some of their country’s popular dishes.
Both staying in Manila for one week for the Turkish food festival at Circles restaurant, the chefs prepared fava bean dip, mint labneh, walnut chicken, octopus salad and stuffed eggplants, the recipe for which was featured in last week’s DIY (see last Thursday’s issue of Inquirer Lifestyle, page C3 or visit www.normachikiamco.com for the recipe).
Another dish they prepared, which I found fascinating, was a spicy tomato marmalade. Made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, parsley and spring onions, it was full of lively colors and vigorous flavors. This marmalade can be used a perky spread for pita bread and is usually served with a platter of appetizers called mezze.
At home, I tried to duplicate the recipe. However, since I didn’t have a food mill, I couldn’t turn the mixture into a fine marmalade. So it came out as a relish—a zesty palate refresher that I ended up serving with tapa. I believe it will go great with other dishes, too, such as barbecue, fried fish and roasted chicken. It’s somewhat similar to tabbouleh salad but without the bulgur wheat.
Spicy tomato marmalade
2-3 c water
2 tbsp salt
6 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 medium cucumbers, finely chopped
1 c finely chopped parsley
2 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
¼ c tomato paste
1 dried red chili pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Chopped walnuts (optional)
Peel the onions. Combine water and salt in a bowl, and soak the onions in the water for one hour. Rinse the onions then chop them finely. Mix the onions with the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and spring onions. Pass the mixture through a food mill (see note). The mixture should come out like a coarse purée.
Add the tomato paste and the chopped red chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Blend well. Top with the chopped walnuts.
Note: A food mill is a rotary device used in professional kitchens for grinding and puréeing fruits and vegetables. If you don’t have a food mill, you can purée the mixture in a food processor. Or, just serve the mixture as is (without puréeing). It will be more of a relish or a salad rather than a marmalade and will still be delicious. You can serve it with roasted meat and fish, or as a dip for pita bread.
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Dried red chili peppers are available in the spices section of large supermarkets and in some Indian groceries.
If you can’t find dried red chili pepper, you can use red pepper flakes.