Cook N Bake Turkish Series: Sutlac Dessert

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Turkish Series Sutlac Dessert

It’s Thursday again, and hopefully after four delicious Turkish recipes you still have room for some dessert! For one last time during this Turkish Series, my friend Ceren from Istanbul suggested Sutlac Dessert, nothing less than rice pudding with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. The very first bite of it will awaken your childhood memories, the sweet smell of vanilla and cinnamon will bring you back to those after school afternoon filled with homework when either mom or grandma would cheer you up with a chilled, creamy rice pudding.
One of the favorite Ottoman desserts, which at the time was usually flavored with rose-water, Sutlac Dessert is still a very popular home made dish, as well as a dessert you can often find on restaurant menus.

On the note of such a simple yet ethereal treat, we must now say goodbye to our Turkish Series. We hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for more recipes from around the world to come!
1 liter of milk (plus an extra 1/2 cup for mixing the starch)
1/2 a cup of rice
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of starch
1/2 a package of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Clean the rice and boil slowly in 1 cup of water. Add milk and boil for 10 more minutes. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves.
Mix the starch with half a cup of milk ad then add it into the rest of the milk and rice mixture. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and add in vanilla. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
Pour into serving bowls while it is still warm. Sprinkle cinnamon on top once it has cooled.
Note: if desired make sutlac in the oven during directions 1-3
if desired mix starch with 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk before adding it to the milk and rice mixture.then add in vanilla.
If desired put the pudding into oven safe bowls and set on a tray with water in it then put bowls in the oven,and use overhead heat to toast the tops of the pudding.



Cook N Bake Turkish Series: Sehriyeli Pilav

Rometti LImoncello Cook N Bake Series Rometti Limoncello  - Cook N Bake Turkish Series -  Sehriyeli Pilav

It can be boiled or steamed, with small and round or long, thin grain, and it surely is one of the most predominant ingredients in either western and eastern cuisines. So versatile to form compact breaded balls, yet again light and airy, sometimes crispy. This week’s dish is a manifesto of Turkish cuisine’s rice dishes, Sehriyeli Pilav, also known as Pilaf with Orzo.
In Turkish, pilaf means “lump of boiled rice”, although pilaf does not alway refer to dishes made with rice but also with other grains. As a matter of fact we often hear the word bulgur associated to pilaf: bulgur is a type of rice made from gluten-free wheat. Cous cous and cracked wheat can also make pilaf.
Born as a ceremonial dish, pilaf used to be served in Ottoman cerimonies with soups, dolma, meat, vegetables and sweets. A Turkish tradition is to serve a dish of pilaf, called sözkesen, at the end of the meal to indicate the meal completion.
Whether it is served with vegetables, seafood, meatballs, pistachios or dried fruit, pilaf is made with rice soaked in water, drained and fired in oil, water and salt. After the cooking it needs to rest for about 20 minutes, and then accompanied by meat, poultry, vegetables, or orzo. While the condiment is what determines the flavor of the dish, a good pilaf must have a good quality rice, which should not absorb too much water and the grains should not stick together.
Sehriyeli Pilav is a great source of protein to complete your meal, you can prepare it for a succulent Sunday meal or serve it as a complete, nutrient dinner on a weekly night. And if you make a little too much, don’t worry, it’ll taste even more flavorful the day after!

2/3 cup orzo
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots 1/4 inch dice
2 ribs of celery 1/4 inch dice
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup water
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted real butter
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1 small zucchini if desired, 1/4 inch dice (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, parsley and zucchini if desired.
Heat the oil and butter in the skillet over medium heat, then saute the orzo, stirring it constantly until it is golden brown about one minute. Add the prepared vegetables (except the parsley and zucchini) and add the salt and pepper. Stir until the onion is lightly browned, then add the rice, saute and stir until coated with oil and butter.
Add the broth and the water and bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and cook covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid removing the lid and letting the steam escape. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the zucchini, and let it stand 5 minutes. Zucchini will steam. Then stir in the parsley and serve sprinkled with toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Recipe from
Image © Fénot

Cook N Bake Turkish Series: Doner Kebab

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Turkish Cuisine Doner Kebab

As we already mentioned, vegetables are probably the most common base ingredient in Turkish cuisine. This week, however, we couldn’t ignore the most known turkish dish all around the world: Kebab.

Kebabs are made with casserole meat, stews or even grilled meat. Doner Kebab (“rotating roast“) is extremely popular throughout Europe, but also in some areas of the United States, both as a dine-in dish and, especially, as a take away. It is not uncommon that Doner Kebab is called shawarma, a word originated from the Turkish çevirme which is simply a synonym of doner. A mixture of veal, beef and lamp, Kebab is cooked on a vertical spit and shaved into thin shavings. It is then wrapped in a either a flatbread or a sandwich. Sometimes it can be also served on a plate together with lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber.

Kebab seems to have originated in the 18th century during the Ottoman empire, however back then the spit, called doner, was not vertical but horizontal. The vertical mangal,” barbecue”, according to tradition, is attributed to Hacı İskender, who owned a restaurant in the industrial 19th century Bursa, Turkey, and invented the way of roast vertically as his grandson İskender Efendi states in one of the family biography.
Doner Kebab is not a very easy dish to make at home, however the homemade version is almost as tasty and good as the one made on a vertical slit!

1 (2 1/2- 3 pound) Lamb Leg (boned & cut in slices)
3 pounds Ground Lamb
3 cups minced Onions
1 large Tomato
1 Egg
1 tbsp Black Pepper Powder
Salt (to taste)
Lamb Fat
1 cup Olive Oil

Remove any bits of skin and bone from the lamb leg. Cut it into serving-size slices, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Pound it with a meat tenderizer or the edge of a heavy saucepan until thin and trim.

Prepare a marinade sauce with onions, olive oil, salt and pepper, and soak the meat in this marinade overnight.

Spread the lamb fat over each piece of the meat, and ground lamb mixed with an egg. Thread pieces of meat on a long skewer, starting with the larger pieces. Trim the chunk of meat on the skewer and add trimmings to the end of the skewer. The tomato is put on the skewer whole at the end.

If you have a Doner Kebab broiler you can let the meat cook while turning and shave it as you go. But if you don’t you can still shape the minced lamb into a loaf tin and cook it on a baking tray  at 356 F for about 1 hour and 20 min, turing it halfway through. When it is done wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 min. Slice it as thin as possible and serve with lettuce, onions, tomato and cucumber, chili if you like, over a pita bread or on a plate.


Cook N Bake Turkish Series: Stuffed Zucchini

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Turkish Series Stuffed Zucchini

Welcome back to our weekly Cook N Bake Turkish Series!

This week we have a special recipe coming from a special friend of mine who lives in Istanbul. I’ve known Ceren for a few years now, she is one of those people who I will always consider a friend although although I could go years without seeing her. So of course, when we here at Rometti decided to dedicate five weeks to Turkish cuisine, I couldn’t help but thinking of her and she promptly emailed me one of her mom’s favorite recipes: Turkish Stuffed Zucchini.

Istanbul was the center of the Ottoman cuisine. Being the capital, chefs would be called to the imperial court to represent their local cuisine, test it and amalgamate it. Turkish cuisine was not important only for the empire, but for all people as well. As a matter of fact during the month of Ramadan there would be households open to all neighbors to stop by and grab a bite.

Stuffed vegetables are typical of Turkish cuisine: they are commonly called dolma. Rice is often the main ingredient for the stuffing, together with the part of the vegetable that was carved out, and spices. Vegetables are a dominant ingredient compared to meat, which is often served in smaller portions or is used for flavoring.
Turkish cuisine is very simple, and doesn’t use a lot of saturated fats. As a matter of fact olive oil is usually the main oil used for cooking, together with sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, sesame oil and walnut oil.

Even if you are not a fan of vegetables you won’t be able to say no to this appetizing, flavorful dish that all moms love to make in Turkey! Your children will love it too!

2 lb zucchini
1½ cups rice
1 medium onion, chopped finely
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp dried mint
1 tsp salt to taste
½ tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2-3 tomatoes, sliced (for covering tops)
Hot water

Wash and drain the rice. Chop the onions finely and mix all the ingredients but hot water and the zucchini. Wash the zucchini and make scratches or parallel marks with a fork, or you may peel them in stripes. Cut the stems. If the zucchini are too long cut them in half, then scrape inside of each piece of zucchini using a small spoon, making them hollow. You may sprinkle with salt inside.
Stuff each hollow zucchini with the rice stuffing, leaving about ¼ inch part on top. Cover each stuffed zucchini either with a slice of tomato or stems of the zucchini. Place them in a pot leaving no room in between. Add about 1 inch of hot water to cover the zucchini and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Take them over serving plate and serve with either plain or garlic yogurt. You may garnish with dill.


Recipe courtesy of Ceren Ates.

Cook N Bake Turkish Series: Tarhana Soup

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Turkish Series Tarhana Soup

Bordered by eight countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Azebaijani, Iraq and Syria), and three different seas (Mediterranean, Aegean, Black, plus the the Sea of Maramara, the Bosphorus and Dardanelles), there is an enchanting land that combines both modern and old world features: Turkey.
Influenced by both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures, Turkey is a mix of Anatolian, Ottoman and Wester countries traditions which transfer also in their cuisine. Starting this week our new Cook N Bake: Turkish Series will present us some delicious dishes that are the result of a fusion between Ottoman, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Central Asian cuisines.

Although Turkish cuisine changes from North to South and East to West, there are some ingredients that are commong throughout the country: beef, chicken, fish, onion, garlic, lentils, beans, tomatoes, nuts such as pistachios and almonds, parsley, cumin, paprika, thyme and oregano together with many other spices. Fruit is also popular, other than being cheap, both dried and fresh. Yogurt is also extremely present in the Turkish cuisine.
Usually a Turkish meal starts with a soup (çorba), which is also the main dish during the fasting of the month of Ramadan, thus we want to start our Turkish Series with a soup as a first course: Tarhana Soup.

Tarhana Soup gets its name to the powder used to make this soup which is very popular in Anatolia. The powder has a light, pink color and a sour taste. Its color is due to the ingredients used to make this powder obtained by crumbling a fermented mix made of plain yogurt, flour, red pepper vegetables, tomatoes and onions. Eventually the powder is boiled with water, milk, spices and butter.

Tarhana Soup is nutritious, healthy and can even be perfect as a hot, warming breakfast when it’s rainy and cold outside!


2-3 tablespoonful tarhana dough (see below)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp crushed tomato
2-3 cup chicken stock
Crushed red pepper, optional
1 tsp butter
Crumbled Feta cheese to furnish
Place the tarhana and 1/2 cup water in a pot. Leave it alone for 1-2 hours for tarhana to dissolve a bit. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat. Adjust consistency of the soup to your liking by adding more water if you prefer. Taste for salt.

Place the soup into a bowl, sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese on top and serve while still warm.