Monday, September 14, 2009

Street Food: Taiwanese Pancakes!

In Taiwan, my friend George and I used to cruise the night markets from time to time. He ate all the questionable foods like "stinky tofu" and "chicken butts", and I kept to the "safe" foods like "papaya milk" and "steamed pork buns". One of my favorite night market foods were the scallion pancakes. Wandering the crowded little alleyways with George munching on a steamy pancake from a plastic bag is one of my favorite memories of Taiwan.

So, one day feeling all nostalgic, I decided to make them here at home in Istanbul. Here's how it worked out.

First, I got a recipe from the Internet. Oh how I love the Internet.
The dough was super straight forward - water, salt and -this is important! - HOT water.

Here I've rolled out the dough and spread a thin layer of sesame oil over it.
Then I sprinkled scallions over it.

Then you roll up the pancake, twist it and roll it - like so.
Let them rest for 30 minutes before flattening them out with a rolling pin.
Once they're flat, you can freeze them between parchment paper, (which I did with some).

Or... you can put them into a super hot pan with a little oil and make them nice and crispy!

I served them with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger.
Georgie! You'd be proud!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jonny and the Sublime Portal

If you look to the right hand side of this blog, you might see something new!

My excellent friend Jonny who is the creative force behind Istanbul's Sublime Portal made this for Melanie and I to promote our show at Java Studio. And he did it all while taking care of his beautiful three-and-a-half-month old son. What can I say? He is THE man!

Check it out!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Little Photo-blog Dedicated to Food Around Turkey

When Ramadan arrives, Turkey gets even more obsessed with food. Some people are fasting and at sunset the streets and restaurants are filled with people waiting for the signal that they can finally begin eating. In celebration of the local appreciation, (and sometimes obsession) here are some pictures I've taken celebrating Turkish cuisine.

Typical Turkish Breakfast.
Shared amongst four of us and whoever happened to walk by at the time.

Ciya, my fave restaurant on the Asian side. You'll never guess what this dish is, give up? Meatballs and sour cherries. Was it delicious? Absolutely!

A little restaurant in Mardin. I loved the attention to presentation.
This is a regular salad, spicy ezme, and cacik - which is like a yogurt-mint dip.
(I've just noticed now that they drew a little heart on the ezme with pomegranate molasses! It's upside down in my picture.)

At the same Mardin Restaurant, a huge metal cup of ayran.
Ayran is a frothy salty yogurt drink. This one was so smooth, Mel compared it to ice cream.

Murat Cergis Konagi in Mardin.
This meal changed the way I thought about food.
This is an appetizer plate with ten appetizers, some were as simple as goat cheese and walnuts, others completely complex, each one more delicious that the last.
I bought one of these platters the very next day.

House Cafe in Ortakoy gets an 'A' for presentation
with this green apple garnish adorning their lemon juice.

And now for dessert!
Deep fried donuts being sold at the Ramadan Market in Sultanahmet.
You can see them cooking in the background.

Tulumbasi are like Spanish churros, but soaked in teeth-achingly-sweet honey.
The sign above touts them as a famous Ottoman dessert.

And below is the world-famous Gaziantep baklava.
Trust me, Mel and I went to great lengths to ensure we tested a range of baklava while in Gaziantep, so we could say it was the "best" with journalistic integrity.

It's the best.