I have noticed how addicted I have become to my beloved çiğ köfte, a Turkish specialty I did not know about before coming here. So I thought I owe it a blog post to introduce you all to this wonderful dish.
Ҫiğ köfte means “raw meat ball” but the variation I cherish so much does not contain any meat at all. So, dear vegetarian and vegan friends, be reassured. The sale of “meaty” çiğ köfte has actually been forbidden in most parts of the country due to hygienic issues so it is now mostly prepared by Turkish mammas at home only.
The meatless çiğ köfte that is sold on the streets and in little franchise stalls every fifty metres is a mix of bulgur (a cereal food that looks similar to rice), water, chopped onions, tomato and pepper paste and spices. Ҫiğ köfte is traditionally served as an entry and is rolled in lettuce to which you may add some lemon juice. Another way of eating çiğ köfte is to spread it over a lavaş (a soft thin flatbread) and wrap it all up including the lettuce, so it becomes a dürüm. Of course we should not forget to add nar eksesi (a thick pomegranate sauce).
I must admit I was not a fan of çiğ köfte from the beginning since it did not look like the most appetizing thing in the world to me. But nowadays I cannot go without this darling for longer than a few days. I am sure they put in some secret ingredient that has made me addicted. My local çiğ köfteci (= çiğ köfte seller) was not sure about the entire ingredients either since they buy the mixture from their franchiser and just prepare the dürüms themselves.
Ҫiğ köfte is the perfect summer snack since it is fresh and refreshing at the same time. The best drink to go with it would be ayran (a yoghurt drink) which helps to counteract the spiciness.
One of my favorite parts about having çiğ köfte in my neighborhood is to talk to Sibel abla, the lady that sells them. We have become quite good friends by now since I go there often and when there is not too much work she likes to join me for tea and a chat.
How about you? Do you have any local food related place you have grown fond of?