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Turkish vegetable stew (Sebze güvee)

Turkish cuisine is known for kebabs and meze but is also redolent with beautiful slow-braised stews. These dishes are derived from traditional Ottoman culture that was in turn influenced by old Persia.

The stews were traditionally cooked in the villages over slow fires and log periods to extract the maximum flavours from the ingredients. Usually heavy with meat, lamb and beef where the meat was cooked till it melted on your tongue. However, modern cuisine has also developed a number of vegetarian and vegan versions like this recipe.

This is a stew that pops with flavour. The hearty stew is loaded with vegetables and perfectly cooked chickpeas that have a subtle bite. The biber salcasi or harissa cheat makes it pop with the olives and liberal amounts of chilli. This is a stew that you will have seconds of.

This is a fantastic cookbook by a British chef specialising in cuisines from the Middle East and Turkey. This book contains recipes for kebabs, stews, other Turkish favourites, and some more contemporary dishes. Everything I have cooked from this book has been fantastic, this is one of my favourite Turkish cookbooks.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in 4 cups water overnight

3 cups water

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely sliced

1 lb potatoes, chunked with skins

2 zucchini, chunked

1 red pepper, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

4 tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup black olives

2 tablespoons red pepper paste (biber salcasi) or harissa

2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

11/2 teaspoons dried oregano

A pinch of saffron

2 cups water

1 teaspoon pepper

Salt, to taste

A handful of parsley, minced

Rinse out the chickpeas and add to a pot with the water. garlic, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil. Scoop off any scum from the top. Simmer for 30 minutes till the chickpeas are cooked through but not mushy. Ensure that the chickpeas have a nice bite. Rinse out and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes till the onions are soft but have not taken on any colour.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Taste for salt and spice and adjust as needed.

To serve, heat up the stew and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately with pita bread or couscous.

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