Dilistan Çilingiroğlu Shipman
Kayseri cuisine is as rich as its culture and history, which is why one of the best ways to become well acquainted with this beautiful Central Anatolian province is through its kitchen door.
Kayseri, one of Central Anatolia’s most beautiful cities, is also an historical settlement. Aside from its bountiful history and tradition, the city that was named after one of the most important Roman Emperors, “Caesar,” has a rich cuisine as well. When one speaks of Kayseri, what immediately comes to mind are its pastrami, soujouk (spicy Turkish sausage) and mantı (a Turkish variant of ravioli). Kayseri’s delicious and unique desserts are also competing with one another. Nevzine, which is made from walnuts and tahini (sesame paste), and rose baklava are among those desserts that immediately come to mind. Mantı, on the other hand, has a special place in Kayseri cuisine as well. Some even claim that there are over thirty different varieties of mantı. The most well known variety is the mantı that is eaten with a yogurt sauce and a light red sauce over the yogurt with crushed red pepper flakes. The most common type is boiled; however, baked mantı and mantı soup can be found on many tables. A young woman’s capability is measured by the number of mantıs that can fit in a spoon.
Kayseri Mantı (Ravioli)
500 gr ground beef, 500 gr flour, 500 gr yogurt, 2 large onions, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tbsp tomato puree, 2 tbsp butter, 1 egg, Black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, sumac, salt.
Preparation: 1. Mix the flour, water, salt and egg. Knead until the dough is thick. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is very thin. Then, cut out small squares from the sheet of dough. 2. Grate the onions and knead into the ground beef with black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Place small portions of this mixture in the middle of the squares and make small parcels from the square pieces. 3. Boil the mantı in water for approximately half an hour and discard the excess water. Add the butter and tomato puree sauce, prepared beforehand. Kayseri mantı is generally eaten like this, but if you wish, you can serve it with a garlic yogurt sauce and sumac.
Kayseri Kofte (Meatballs)
½ kg ground beef (suitable for making meat balls), 1 grated onion, 2 slices of bread, crust removed and crumbled, 1 tsp pimento, 1 tsp blackpepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 egg, 2 medium tomatoes, 4 medium potatoes, oil (for frying).
Preparation: 1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut widthwise about 1 cm thick. Leave them to soak in brine. 2. In a bowl, mix the ground beef, onion, bread, egg and herbs and knead well. Make round and somewhat flattened meatballs. 3. Remove potato slices from brine and dry thoroughly. Fry slightly (not completely) in oil. 4. First, place the slightly fried potatoes in a greased baking pan, then place the meatballs on top of the potato slices. On top of the meatballs, place the round sliced tomatoes. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 175 degrees C.
Yağlama (Buttered Pastry)
For the Dough Filling: 500 gr flour, 300 gr water, 15 gr yeast, 10 gr salt. For the Filling: 300 gr ground beef, 1 finely chopped onion, salt, black pepper, ½ bunch finely chopped parsley, olive oil. For the Sauce: 200 gr yogurt, 3 pureed garlic cloves (crushed), crushed red pepper flakesç
Preparation: 1. After dissolving the yeast in water, mix with flour and salt and knead. When the dough is formed, cover and set aside. 2. In a saucepan, sauté the onion in olive oil until golden brown. Add ground beef, parsley, salt and black pepper and cook. 3. Roll out the raised dough (after approximately 1-1.5 hours) using a rolling pin. Once the dough is completely rolled out, cut the dough in triangular or circular pieces. Then cook these pieces over a hot plate or in a greased pan. Brush the cooked pieces with melted butter or oil. 4. In between the pastry pieces put in the mixture and repeat this for all pieces. 5.Before serving, pour the garlic yogurt sauce on top and crushed red pepper flakes that have been cooked in butter.
250 gr cubed lamb, 250 gr cubed beef, 1 large onion, ½ bunch parsley, 1 tomato, 3 tbsp butter, 2 medium carrots, 1–2 green peppers, 1 bay leaf. For the pilaf: 1.5 cups long grain rice, 1.5 cups meat broth, salt, 4 tbsp butter.
Preparation: 1. Place the rice in brine and allow to soak for half an hour. 2. Sauté finely diced onion in butter. Add the meat and when the meat starts to brown add the finely diced tomato, peppers and the bay leaf. Cook over low heat, in its own juice. 3. Wash the rice well. In a separate pan, boil four tbsp of butter, salt and broth. When it starts to boil, add the rice. Cook on high heat at first, then simmer on low heat, until dimples start appearing on the surface of the rice. 4. Add grated carrot to the cooked meat and pour the whole mixture over the rice and cover.
100 gr tahini (sesame paste), 200 gr butter, 3 tbsp yogurt, 2 tbsp baking powder, 3 cups flour, 1.5 cups walnuts, crushed. Ingredients for syrup: 2 cups granulated sugar, 3 cups water, ½ lemon’s juice, 1 cinnamon stick.
Preparation: 1. Preheat the oven to 170–180 degrees C. Melt the butter. Add tahini, yogurt, baking powder, flour and walnuts, and mix well. 2. Pour the mixture in a lightly greased baking pan. Bake in the oven until lightly browned. 3. Bring the syrup to a boil and allow it to cool. 4. Pour the syrup over the dessert once it is taken out of the oven. Before serving, you can decorate the dessert with some tahini.