Vegan Turkish Foods

Gözleme – (Crepe)

The Gözleme isn’t the most common Turkish food out there, especially if you head out to a restaurant but if they do serve this then go for it. The Gözleme is a flavorless Turkish crepe that comes stuffed with oodles of veggies. There are quite a few varieties; it can be stuffed with spinach (ispnakli) or potatoes (patatesli.) If you are a strict vegan and avoid dairy products, make sure to ask for a gozleme that has no cheese (peynirsiz.)

Cig Kofte (Raw Meatballs)

Don’t freak out. I assure you there’s no meat in this next dish. Yes, the name is quite deceptive but until recently, Cig Kofte was made using traditional meat. However, if you visit Turkey, meaty cig kofte are quite uncommon and sometimes even banned. The spicy vegetarian variety, however, is probably the only thing you’ll encounter if you go looking for it in Turkish street corners or restaurants.

The dish is made from bulgur, tomatoes and red pepper paste. If you want to be sure, just ask if it’s the vegan version and if there’s no meat inside.

Ev Yemekleri ((Home Cooking)

Now, this one isn’t so much a dish but more of where you’ll find a great possibility of vegan Turkish dishes being served. Even though foreigners sometimes associate Turkish food with meat, in truth, home cooked Turkish meals are actually more vegan friendly than most think. In majority of Ev Yemekleri restaurants, expect a good variety of purely vegan dishes up for grabs.

Cezerye

For Turkish street explorers who want to munch on something as they go, the Cezerye is the perfect vegan treat to have. This strange, brightly colored snack is made from carrots that have been cooked for a long period until all the sweetness from the vegetable has condensed. It is then peppered with hazelnuts or walnuts.

Eat Freshwater Bass

Largemouth bass

The largemouth is the larger of the two black bass. It averages around 2 pounds but has been known to reach 25 pounds and 24 inches in length. It is known as one of the best freshwater fighting fish, said to attack anything that it thinks is alive. The fish is known by many different names depending on the region. Some of the common names are widemouth bass, bigmouth, black bass, bucketmouth, green bass, green trout, linesides, Oswego bass, Potter’s bass and Florida Bass. The large mouth is the state fish of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. It can be found in all of States but is more popular and more abundant in the southern states where they grow much larger. The largemouth will take on a slight muddy flavor if taken from muddy water yet they will remain mild and fine flavored if taken from clear water. The most popular ways of cooking are to pan fry, deep fry, oven fry or broil.

Smallmouth bass

Because of its intolerance of pollution, the smallmouth version is found in clear, cooler waters of central United States not nearly as widespread as the largemouth. Some of the regional names are smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, and bronze bass. The smallmouth averages 1 pound and can grow up to 12 pounds. It is more brown than its cousin, the largemouth especially if found in darker water. If found in sandy areas the smallmouth takes on a lighter, almost yellowish color. Like the largemouth it will take on a slight muddy flavor if taken from muddy water yet it will remain mild and fine flavored if taken from clear water. The best ways for cooking are to pan fry, deep fry, oven fry or broil.

White bass

The white bass, sometimes called sand bass, is a freshwater fish found in deep lakes and rivers throughout the Midwest. It is silver or yellowish in color with 7 dark, horizontal streaks. The average weight of the white bass is 1 to 2 pounds but they can grow to 4 pounds and over 18 inches in length. The white bass is the state fish of Oklahoma. It is a moderately fat fish with a fairly fishy taste. The most popular ways of cooking are to sauté, pan fry, oven fry or bake.

Fair Trade Tea/Coffee

Tea and coffee are collected from many nations, some more developed than others, and for a while trading for them involved unfair practices. Various products could be purchased for much less than they are worth which created a dangerous trade related situations. Luckily, there are many companies today who are happy to be a part of the fair trade movement.

Companies involved in trade policies like these proudly advertise the fact; companies that include The Green Salmon, Blue Smoke Coffee, Starbucks and more join the list every day, including exporters and importers as well. Plus, there’s Fair Trade USA and companies of that sort that are monitoring trade conditions and ensuring that everyone involved is represented and treated fairly.

The problem is that coffee and tea are in extremely high demand, and with demand issues arise. Think about it, nearly everyone you know indulges in one of these beverages, often as much as once or twice a day (or more). Tea and coffee are made from natural ingredients found all over the world including Italy, Asia, Colombia and Tibet and many of the nations have different trade regulations. With the varied exchange rates, the deals that get struck can be unfair.

Fair trade coffee/tea is certified as having been grown and marketed under a specified set of standards. Most coffee and tea drinkers today are helping by being willing to pay more if the coffee or tea they purchase carries the brand or certification logo of fair trade because they welcome the chance to help farmers in third world countries, helping them get a fair price and avoid low pay labor exploitation.

If you’d like to get involved there are many organizations that you can support with donations and by volunteering. The most important thing you can do is simply buy coffee and tea from companies that support policies that are fair. Supporting the right companies will help pave the way for the future of trade policies, plus you’ll be getting delicious coffee and tea varieties while feeling good about supporting fair trade and helping to change the world for the better in a big way, where before laborer’s worked under oppressive conditions for limited pay.

Chinese Tea Culture

Chinese tea is classified in “colours” which are Red, Yellow, White, Dark, Oolong and Green resulting from the amount of oxidisation of the leaf and also from the process it undergoes once picked.

Red tea is the forerunner of Western black teas and has a rich flavour. However, although it is the most drunk tea in the world, it isn’t particularly popular in China.

Yellow tea is the most rare of Chinese teas and only three varieties remain. People are intrigued by its rarity and are therefore buying it more and more.

White tea is also extremely rare as it is made only from the buds and selected leaves of the plant. It undergoes very little processing thus retaining its health benefits.

Dark tea is often confused with black tea but it has little similarity. Much of it is exported and it has a strong aroma and flavour.

Oolong tea is very delicate and fragrant and is somewhat popular in China.

However, it is Green tea that is the most popular of the Chinese tea culture, in part because of its healthy properties, being rich in Vitamin C, isoflavones and antioxidants which help to cleans the blood stream of cell damaging atoms, thus improving the health of the cardio vascular system.

Although tea does have health benefits, the Chinese don’t obsess about health the way the Western world does these days. Chinese tea culture is such that tea is drunk because people like it as an adjunct to food and also to sociability and as such is part of the Chinese way of life.

The food style to which tea is considered the most important accompaniment is dim sum. Dim sum is similar to the Spanish tapas in that a selection of small dishes are chosen from a trolley, often different types of dumplings and small cakes.

Slow Cooked Turkey

The Turkey. Crispy, golden-brown skin, mouth-watering fragrance filling the air, and meat so tender and juicy it falls right off the bone. To put gravy on this turkey would be an insult.

Of course, everyone has their own secret turkey recipes. Some turkey recipes brine the turkey, some use a deep fryer, others a beer can suspended upright inside the turkey itself while it cooks, to really seal in that flavor. Another route can be slow-cooked turkey recipes. It’s tricky, get it wrong and you’ve either got a cold, pink, underdone mess or a dry and tasteless bird more suited for jerky than cranberry sauce. But get it right, and the family will rave, beg for your secret, and spirit away as much of the leftovers as they can!

Grandma’s turkey recipes say one hour in the oven at 350 degrees for every five pounds of bird. At that rate, a little ten pound hen can be done in a couple of hours, while a twenty or thirty pound “turkzilla” could take all day! The slow-cook actually starts the night before, but requires so little attention that everyone can get a great night’s sleep, and Thanksgiving Day dinner can be served in the early afternoon, with plenty of time for seconds before the game. It’s surprisingly flexible too, accommodating stuffing, no stuffing, basting, breast-down roasting, flavor additions, medium weight twelve-pounders all the way up to the biggest behemoth that will fit in the oven.

Around 8 to 10 pm the night before Turkey Day, after making sure that the turkey is completely thawed, complete all usual preparations. Stuff the bird if desired, brine or butter or inject with herbs and spices, and put the turkey in the oven with a cover or a foil tent at 350 degrees, for one hour. That’s right, just one hour, two if you’re feeling especially nervous over an extra-large turkey. Then turn the oven down 170-250 degrees, depending on the size of the bird. Just hot enough to keep the bird from cooling off. Now, walk away. Go to bed. Get that beauty sleep. (The batteries in the fire alarms were all checked last week, right?)

By morning, nostrils will be twitching and bellies rumbling at the tantalizing scent of perfectly roasted turkey that fills every room of the house. Once the ravening hoards have had their coffee and doughnuts, take the temperature on the bird. Remember that a turkey has to cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees before the good old U.S.D.A. says it’s safe to take out of the oven. Some prefer to remove the bird at 150 degrees for a juicier result, but with the slow cook, it tends not to be necessary. Just keep the desired “done-ness” in mind for the rest of the process.

An hour or two before dinner is to be served, remove your foil tent and turn that oven back up to 350 degrees. Give the turkey a quick basting if desired. This will finish off the last bit of roasting and give your bird that beautifully browned skin that sets off the garnishes so nicely. Remember to watch the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh, as well as in the middle of the cavity if you’ve stuffed your bird. Once the guest of honor is thoroughly cooked, let the turkey rest for twenty minutes or so before bringing it to the table, just to give those lovely juices time to soak into the meat properly. If you’re concerned that your work of art might cool off too much during that little nap, give Mr. Turkey back his foil cover while he waits, and use the time to finish off the yams, gravy, or whatever other final bits and pieces haven’t yet made it to the finish line.

Indonesian Recipes Offer Great Variety

Rice is Indonesia’s staple food, so it’s not surprising that Indonesian recipes often contain a lot of rice. Additionally spices are very often used in Indonesian cuisines. One spice that is commonly used in Indonesia is chili pepper, which is also known as Cabai. This pepper is every hot and is used in many different foods. Another spice that is often used is ginger root seed, also called jahe, which is also a hot spice. It’s used in a drink made of ginger and sugar that they call wedang jahe. Kunyit is a spice that not only adds flavor, but also color to Indonesian recipes.

Cardamom is a spice that is often used in teas, but also has been used in delicious desserts in Indonesia. Cinnamon used in Indonesia is different than traditional cinnamon in texture, but it’s used for the same things. They use it in coffee and tea, as well as different desserts. In Maluku in Indonesia and Indonesian New Guinea they eat a lot of foods that contain yams, cassava, and flour. Indonesians tend to eat their meals a lot at once and in large variety. They also tend to eat very spicy food, as well. Indonesians tend to also share their tastes with other Southeast Asian countries. They eat a lot of galangal and pandan, which are both common in Thailand.

Indonesia recipes also contain a lot of soybeans. They use soy beans in tofu, soy bean cakes, and soy sauce, which are all food items that have come to the United States in one form or another. One food of the Indonesians, called Satay, has been seen in China. Indonesia also makes heavy use of curries as well.

Because of all the cultures that came together to make Indonesian recipes, it’s not surprising that they have such a wide variety of food and tastes. In Indonesia, it is very common to see people selling food on carts in the street. When one sees one of these carts, it’s called kaki lima, and many people buy food from these vendors. Vendors tend to sell a variety of different foods from their carts, including noodles, rice, and drinks. Each vendor only serves one item, but there are a variety of different vendors to be found. An interesting fact about the manner of eating in Indonesia is that they only eat with their right hands. Indonesian recipes are delicious, and should be tried by all.

Benefits of Olive Oil

  • Heart Benefits – Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E. The Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) also known as the “bad cholesterol” transports and deposits cholesterol in the tissues and arteries, which can eventually block the arteries leading to deficient blood flow and all kinds of heart problems. The high levels of monounsaturated fats found in the oil not only lower LDL levels protecting you from atherosclerosis, but also allow the High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) the “good cholesterol” to clean the cholesterol away from the arteries.
  • Inflammation Benefits – The healthy fats in olive oil are used by the body to create natural anti-inflammatory agents which help reduce the severity of both arthritis and asthma. Cell membranes that are not inflamed are able to transport healthy nutrients into the cells and move the waste products out.
  • Cancer Benefits – A study published in the January 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology (which is a peer-reviewed medical journal of tumors and cancers), showed that a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olives called oleic acid, has the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene. An oncogene is a gene that in certain circumstances transforms a cell into a cancer cell. Another research which included over 36,000 participants conducted by the University of Athens revealed that high rates of olive oil consumption, is associated with lower odds of having any type of cancer.
  • Diabetes Benefits – A Spanish study published in the Scientific Journal Diabetes Care revealed that a Mediterranean style diet, rich in olives, reduces by almost 50% the risk of type II diabetes when compared to a low fat diet. Previously it was prescribed that a low fat diet can prevent various diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes, whereas it now appears that it is the “type” of fat that counts rather than the actual amount of fat. Adding olive oil to your diet can also lower your triglyceride levels. Many diabetics live with high triglyceride levels which increases their risk for heart diseases.
  • Weight-Loss Benefits – Being overweight goes hand in hand with high levels of cholesterol, heart disease and other ailments. In a study conducted and published in the September 2003 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that a significant loss of body weight and fat mass can be achieved by changing only one eating habit; the substitution of saturated fats with olive oil.