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Posts Tagged ‘Turkish’

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A Turkish meal is usually cooked by a weathered and wise old grandma deep in the Anatolian heartland who couldn’t write down the recipe for Jacques Pepin himself.  She knows what she’s doing and would fight to the death over one pinch of salt or two.  For the culinary tourist such as yours truly, I’ll have to relate these recipes as best I observed it cooked in front of me.  Like much in Turkey, they’re fairly straightforward, just not very exact.
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Hey!  Food Junta’s Turkish correspondent returns with another soul-fulfilling, horizon-expanding (and edible) recipe from the east/west.   This is Karnıyarık (Kar-nuh-YAR-uhk).

In Turkish, Karnıyarık means “split stomach.” Do you hear the violence inherent this Turkish speciality? Are you prepared to cross all sorts of personal and culinary boundaries in pursuit of this Turkish delicacy? Because things will get intimate between you and eggplants. You’ll skin, fry, eviscerate, and roast this vegetable, but in the end, you’ll both emerge more than penpals searching for that stamp you had somewhere.  You might even become fast friends.  And it tastes good.

Before I came to this Turkish dish, my knowledge of eggplants remained limited to ogling the  shiny, bulbous objects in the vegetable section, eggplant parmigiana pizza, and the rare ratatouille.  My recipes cubed and sliced the poor eggplants, trying to find where they fit in my pre-karnıyarık lexicon.   Yet from that distance, I could only manage to destroy or appropriate the eggplant.  None of my recipes dealt with eggplant as eggplant. Even in so-called eggplant dishes, it was simply bulk, fodder for the tomato sauce, or buried in “real flavors” in a classic example of epicurean tourism, or worse, orientalism.  (Whoa…)  But what a wealth of authentic Turkish experience and untapped flavor I was missing! It just takes a willingness and patience to feel the common…something between you and the eggplant. (more…)

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