Mains for 5 people
This Turkish main that consist of meat & either beans (Fasulye) or spinach (Ispanak). It is ideally served with rice cooked in butter, but I am service mine with wheat which is much firmer.
- 300g flat beans (50p)
- 300g spinach (40p)
- 1 tinned of chopped tomato (50p)
- 1 red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 800g lamb chops (£4.00)
- Fresh Mint (50p)
- Fresh coriander (50p)
- 3 Turkish peppers (25p)
- Chilli flakes
- Black pepper
- Ground Cumin
- Vegetable oil.
- Pomegranate (50p)
- Natural yogurt (45p)
- 500g wheat (99p)
- 50g butter
- 25g onion
Total cost for the main £8.59 or £1.71 per person.
All the above ingredients were necessary as I tried to make this dish as authentic as possible. The most costly item on the list was the lamb chops, found in Iceland. For even lower budget, revert to chicken which can be bought from £2.00. The yogurt and pomegranates are also extra and often found in Turkish mains. Both are not really necessary. Instead of wheat, I could have stuck to rice or barley which are half the price of wheat. Excluding the yogurt and Pomegranate well as using chicken wings instead of lamb and rice instead of wheat would have bought the main’s cost down to around £5.15
Rinse and cut the lamb chops in smaller pieces big enough to be a mouth full. Place in a bowl. Peel & press the garlic over the lamb then add black pepper and salt. Mix well and set aside.
Rinse the flat beans, cut off the extremities and cut them in pieces of about 3cm in length. Do the same for the Turkish peppers and set aside. The Turkish pepper are much more flavourful than your regular green sweet peppers and they are not hot.
Cut off the spinach leaves from their stalks, rinse the leaves individually before roughly cutting them. Set aside. I used the large spinach leaves.
Peel and chop the onion, set aside. Pick off about 15 leaves of mint and a hand full of fresh coriander, rinse and chop finely. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the meat and fry for 5 minutes turning the pieces of meat until all sides are browned. Now add ¾ of the chopped onion, mix and cover the pan. Allow the meat to sweat for 10 minutes.
Now, add tomato, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, oregano, mint, coriander and 100ml water. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning before covering to simmer for 20 minutes.
Halfway through the 20 minutes, add the flat beans & Turkish peppers, stirs and cover again. At the end of the 20 minutes, add the spinach stir well and cover to simmer for another 5 minutes.
By the time the spinach are softened, the meat would have been cooking for 45 minutes in total, so it should be really tender and almost falling off the bone.
Now on to the Wheat. The Turkish would have served the meat above with a Sade Pilavi, which means rice fried in butter, then cooked with stock… Please read the Wiki page about Turkish food, such an interesting mix of flavours and techniques. I am not using rice obviously, but I am cooking my wheat in the “Sade” way.
Rinse off the starch from the wheat, set aside. In a big enough pan with a lid, heat 50g butter and add the chopped onion. Until it starts to caramelise. Now add the wheat with a pinch of salt and stir fry for about 5 minutes to obtain a very slightly toasty smell (or burn if you will) coming from the pan.
Now pour over it 500ml of stock and cover to simmer for 30 minutes. You will need to open the pan very often to check the water levels and add more water until the wheat softens.
Now. Wheat does not soften to the level of rice and can be very chewy, if you have never used it, after cooking it for 20-25 minutes you should be able to eat it without too much efforts.
Wheat is a great alternative to rice.
I server mine hot, topped with the Lamb Kıymalı with yogurt and fresh pomegranates jewels.
I chose to use the pomegranates instead of dry fruits because they are less sweet and bring much colour to the plate.