Adana Cooking

by Mebrure Caliskanalp

A historical southern province of Turkiye, Adana embraces a rich cultural heritage. Like many hot areas, the cuisine of Adana tends to be very spicy. In addition to various spices, typical dishes are often flavored with lemons or lemon juice, and plenty of garlic. Bulgur is one of the main ingredients in many of the favorite dishes of the region. Most dishes come with their own special salad, such as the tomato and onion salad which accompanies mercimek köftesi, a delicious concoction of red lentils, bulgur, onions and tomatoes, as well as spices, of course! The people of Adana also enjoy drinking rak quite often. So, a great many of meze, or hors d'oeuvres, has been developed to accompany the rak . The dish known as 'Ali Nazik' is a milder example of Adana cuisine; 'Vartabit', on the other hand, is more typical of the flavors of the region's cooking. 20


Ali Nazik


Ingredients1 eggplant 1 lb. ground beef 2 med. tomatoes, chopped 1 long green pepper, chopped 1 container lebni, a type of very thick yogurt found in Middle Eastern stores 2 cloves of garlic 1 tsp. salt 1-1.5 loaves of (French) bread cut into 1 in. cubes 1 cup tahin (sesame paste) 1 clove garlic, crushed juice of 1 lemon 1 tsp. salt 1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans 2 Tsp sumac; small amounts of black pepper,20 cayenne pepper, and cumin 1 stick butter 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika




After pricking its skin with a fork, grill the eggplant in a 400 to 450-degreeoven for 1 hour. When the eggplant is cooked, peel and mash it with a fork. Crush the 2 cloves of garlic, add to the lebni, along with 1 tsp. salt. Mix the garlic flavored lebni with the mashed eggplant. Arrange the eggplant in a platter, mounding it along the sides and leaving a shallow depression for the ground beef. Keep the eggplant mixture warm. Cook the ground beef until it is very well done, adding salt to taste. Then add the chopped tomatoes and pepper, and sautee for 5 minutes. Arrange the ground beef mixture in the middle of the eggplant mixture and serve immediately. Afiyet olsun! Put the bread cubes in a 9 x 13 in. pan and broil until golden brown. Mix the tahin with crushed garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Add enough water to this paste to bring it to a consistency of pancake batter. Drain the beans. Stir the beans into the tahin mixture. Spread the bean mixture over the toasted bread cubes. Sprinkle with the spices beginning with black pepper and ending with sumac. Melt butter until golden brown. Stir in either cayenne pepper or paprika according to your taste. Drizzle over prepared dish. Serve immediately and enjoy it!

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