Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Last chance for Turkish tapas by Chef Haydar Inal

Tapas Bar

I was really lucky to get invited to try Turkish food by Chef Haydar Inal ,executive chef of the Ankara Palas State Guest House in Turkey because this promotion will end on the 12th of October.

Due to Turkey’s strategic position on the 30-kilometre Bosphorus strait separating Europe and Asia, established trade routes gave the Turks freedom to experiment with spices and textures in their food, which has influences from Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.

During the 12-day promotion, there is a range of traditional Turkish favourites. Popular böreks include Su Böreği (Traditional Turkish Cheese Pastry), Gül Böregi (Spinach Cheese Pastry), Fincan Böreği (Cheese Pie) and Puf Böreği (Cheese and Parsley Puff). Mezzes range from Cerkez Tavuğu (Circassian Chicken) to Saksuka (Dried Fried Aubergines in Tomato Garlic Sauce), Kisir (Bulgur Salad), Arnavut Cigeri (Spiced Mutton Liver) and Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarma (Vine Leaves with Rice and Mint Raisins Cinnamon).
Guests can also look forward to Tas Kebab (Lamb Stew with Vegetables), Coban Kavurma (Fried Beef with Vegetables), Kilic Balığı Sis (broiled Skewered Swordfish), Tavuk Beyti (Chicken Roll), Domatesli Karides (Tomato Shrimp Sacmpi) and Dalyan Kofte (Beef Meat Ball).

To end the perfect Turkish experience, there is a sweet note to the night with Revani (Semolina Cake Soaked in Light Syrup), Sütlac (Milk Pudding with Rice), Baklava (Layered Pastry with Pistachio) and many other Turkish desserts.
Lastly, you will be delighted with a complimentary box of Turkish Delight candy by checking in on FB and posting a photo of your favourite dish!

Overall, I really enjoyed the food there because I love strong spices and Middle Eastern dishes.

Here was what we tried:
1) Su boregi (Turkish cheese pastry)
This was a square block of dense pastry with a strong salty taste but without the pungent taste of cheese.
2 gul boregi (spinach cheese pastry)

The pastry was light and flakey filled with spinach and cheese.
3 puf boregi (Cheese and parsley pie)

Compared to the gul boregi above, the pastry was firmer with a cheesier and stronger filling.
Saksuka (deep fried aubergines in tomato garlic sauce)
A nice medley of aubergines, courgettes and potatoes in a tangy tomato garlic sauce.
9 Arnavut cigeri (mutton liver)

Before I tried it, I was expecting it to be gamey but it was not.
It was really pleasant and tastes like the beef liver found in steak and kidney pie.
zeytinyagli yaprak sarma
(Vine leaves with rice, mint, raisins and cinnamon)

It was my second time trying them and I liked the size of them because they were smaller.
It tasted so much better than the one I tried elsewhere because the rice was nice and savoury wrapped in delicious vine leaves.

The hummus was my favourite because it was the strongest tasting hummus I have tasted with strong cumin spices.
13 tavuk lslim (Chicken wrapped in eggplant)
The appearance of this was interesting, it was a big ball of shredded chicken meat with eggplant on the outside.
The chicken was tender and tasted similar to roast chicken with moist mushy eggplant on the outside.
14 coban kavurma (beef with vegetables)

The pieces of beef were really tender with a hint of spiciness from the sauce and the potatoes were gorgeous too.
15Kilic Baligi sis (swordfish skewers)

The swordfish was chunky and tender.
16Tavuk Beyti (chicken roll)

This was my favourite because it was a chicken version of beef kofte which has lots of herbs in it.
18 Tas kebab (Lamb skewer)

The pieces of lamb were nice and juicy.
19 domatesli karides (Tomato scampi)

Delicious prawns in tangy tomato sauce accompanied by cute cherry tomatoes.
20 bulgur pilavi (rice with lentils)

The rice was flavoursome with protein rich starchy lentils.
For drinks there were two non-alchoholic mocktails:
Turkish Mint Delight (Apple Vinegar, Soda water, Mint)
Turkish Delight Fruit Cocktail (Pomegranate juice, Apple juice, Rose Water, Honey, Raspberries, strawberries).
I chose the Turkish delight fruit cocktail which was really nice and refreshing and it was blended extremely smooth.
I loved the tangy tones of the strawberries and apple.

Thanks to Shangri La and a fellow foodie for this invitation and the Turkish delights.

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