Turkish Iced Cucumber tarifi
* 32 oz. plain cow’s milk yogurt (the original recipe uses thick sheep’s milk yogurt)
* 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely grated
* 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced or passed through a garlic press
* 4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tbs. freshly chopped mint
* 1/4 tsp. dry oregano
* 3/4 tsp sea salt
Meze, small dishes served throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, are usually offered to accompany raki, ouzo or arak, an anise-flavored grape distillate similar to grapa, very popular with the residents of that part of the world.
Karabiber (Black Pepper), one of the outstanding restaurants in Istanbul, serves the most vibrant and authentic Turkish food. Mucver -- Zucchini Fritters -- is part of the traditional meze course accompanied by çaçik, a yogurt/garlic/cucumber sauce. These fritters could also make a brilliant side dish for seafood, poultry or lamb without the çaçik.
1 lb. small zucchini (courgettes), coarsely grated.
1/2 lb. equal parts of crumbled feta and grated casseri cheeses
6 scallions, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper (Malabar Black Peppercorns are recommended)
Oil for frying
Place the grated zucchini in a colander, salt lightly and mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes to draw out the excess liquid. Using paper towels, squeeze the zucchini dry and place in a bowl. Add the cheese mixture, eggs, scallions, dill, mint, parsley, flour and salt and pepper to taste. Stir mixture until you have a thick batter.
In a deep fryer, over medium-high heat, pour the oil to a depth of 1/4 inch (approx. 7 mm). When the oil is hot, use a serving spoon to drop spoonfuls of the batter in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry, turning over once, until brown on both sides, 2 - 3 minutes per side. With a slotted spoon transfer the fritters to paper towels to drain. Keep warm until all the fritters are cooked.
Serve hot with the çaçik on the side.
To make çaçik:
32 oz. plain cow’s milk yogurt (the original recipe uses thick sheep’s milk yogurt)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely grated
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced or passed through a garlic press
4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. freshly chopped mint
1/4 tsp. dry oregano
3/4 tsp sea salt
Line a large sieve with cheesecloth (muslin), place over a bowl and spoon the yogurt onto the cheesecloth. Refrigerate overnight to drain the excess water (if using sheep’s milk yogurt, it is usually not necessary to drain as the yogurt is sufficiently thick). You should end up with 1 1/2 cup drained yogurt. Refrigerate until needed. Please note that the longer you keep the yogurt, the tangier it becomes as it still contains active cultures.
Salt the grated cucumber and draw excess moisture. Dry with paper towel (like the zucchini above).
In a bowl combine the drained yogurt, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and mint and mix well. Fold in the dried cucumber. Sprinkle the oregano on top.
You can either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight.