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Old 12th February 2007, 00:17   #1 (permalink)
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Turkish Spices

From today's ZAMAN newspaper:

Tastes from the Spice Bazaar
Saffron, cloves, rosemary and coriander are all important spices in Turkish cooking. In addition to adding to the taste, aroma and color of dishes, they all possess many medicinal qualities. Used for centuries around the world, they are all found in a variety of Turkish food.

“Pomegranate, saffron, cinnamon, the ingredients of love,” is the groom’s toast in the Song of Solomon. Harvested from the stigma of the crocus, saffron was included in the repertoire of the palace kitchens for hundreds of years. The world’s most expensive spice by weight, it has a slightly bitter taste and contains a carotenoid dye that gives food a distinctive golden hue. Dating back to Sumerian times, it has many uses as a dye, flavor enhancer and medicine. Hippocrates recommended it for digestion, colic, bronchitis and insomnia. It is rumored that Cleopatra added a quarter cup of saffron to her bath for its reputed cosmetic and aphrodisiac properties.
Safranbolu, in Kastamonu Province, is reputed to produce one of world’s top quality saffron from the purplish flowers grown throughout the area. In Turkish cuisine it is used for soups, chicken, tea and desserts. In addition, it is used as a dye, producing a rich color.
Adnan Kalmaz, a 3rd generation aktar, or herb seller in the Spice Bazaar, explains, “Every Turkish cook book contains recipes using saffron. It is considered to be a spice that brings joy, so at many weddings Zerde, a rice pudding made with saffron, is served to guarantee a happy marriage. It is also made if an important guest arrives.”
Kalmaz cautions to always buy saffron in strands, not as a powder. When using it in cooking he explains, “For rice you can add 2 or 3 threads to the boiling water to impart the color, aroma and taste. Or, alternatively, you can soak the threads in a glass of hot water for a few minutes and then add the water to any dish.”
Originating from the island of Madagascar, cloves have a distinctive flavor and aroma and have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. A plant from the myrtle family, the dried buds were once required to be chewed before having an audience with the Han Chinese emperors in order to mask any potentially offensive odors.
Kalmaz recommends brewing a tea combining cinnamon and cloves to help ward off symptoms of flu. Mothers for centuries have rubbed a drop of clove oil onto the gums of infants to ease teething pain. When massaged into the skin the oil is an effective pain killer for minor aches and pains. However, undiluted clove oil can be irritating for many, so it’s best to make sure to dilute it before use. Kalmaz adds, “This is one of the unforgettable spices in Turkish cooking. It is used in rice dishes, as well as desserts. It adds a special flavor and aroma to quince and apple compotes.”
Medicinally it is used in a tea to aid digestion and flatulence. It is also reputed to help insomnia as well as anxiety. A handy odor fighter, ground cloves are an effective carpet deodorizer. Just sprinkle a little over a carpet, leave to sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum up.
Rosemary, used by Romans to combat fatigue and poor memory, was also used by Egyptians as cleansing incense. A small shrub with pale blue flowers, rosemary is an aromatic addition to many gardens worldwide. A stimulant of the circulatory system, it is used externally for cuts, abrasions and bruises. For an excellent hair conditioner, rub a few drops in the hands and massage into wet hair. Wrap the hair in a towel and enjoy the slight tingling of the scalp.
In aromatherapy, the oil is used as an inhalant for congestion as well as to heighten memory and concentration. It is also used to treat migraines, nervous tension and as a pain reliever for fibromyalgia and sciatica. Used in massage, it is good for aches and to help release cellulite buildup.
In Turkish cooking it is used for pickles, as well as with lamb, beef, veal, fish, egg and vegetable dishes. With meats it is used in both stews and whole sprigs are often added to grills.
Another staple of the Turkish kitchen is coriander, used as either a powder or seeds. A member of the parsley family, it has a warm, nutty scent, but some do find the aroma disagreeable. It is used widely in Turkish cooking including pickles, içli kofte, izgara kofte, soups and potato salad.
Medicinally, coriander is used throughout Turkey to treat dizziness. Kalmaz explains that you can either drink a tea made with coriander when vertigo strikes, or simply chew a few of the berries. It also contains an antioxidant that helps prevent meat from turning rancid. Considered a good aid for digestion, a weak tea can be given to infants for colic pain. Often used to ease anxiety, it is also considered by many to be an aphrodisiac.

Zerde (Serves 4)
1/3 cup rice
1 cup water
3/4 cup superfine sugar
40 saffron threads, soaked overnight in 1 tbs rose water
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsps warm water
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
1/4 cup currants
Cook the rice in the water over a very low heat until tender, about 25. During the last 10 minutes of cooking slowly add sugar, stirring all the time, making sure it is completely dissolved.
Stir in the saffron-rose water. Blend the cornstarch with the warm water, and then add, a little at a time, to the rice. Stir to mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and place in a bowl to cool. Mix in half the pine nuts, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, and currants. When cool, garnish with the remaining pine nuts, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, and currants.

Quince with Kaymak

2 quince
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ cup water
3 or 4 cloves
1 tsp lemon juice
Garnish:
4 tbsp Kaymak
Chopped pistachios
Blanched, sliced almonds
Peel quince and cut in half. Place the quince, cut sides down, in a shallow pan, sprinkle seeds around the quince pieces. Sprinkle with sugar. Add water and cloves. Cook covered over a low heat until soft. Place the cooked quince on the serving plate. Add lemon juice to the syrup remaining in the pan, and cook for a few more minutes. Let syrup cool then pour over quince. Cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Place one tablespoon of kaymak on top of each piece of quince before serving. Sprinkle with pistachios and almond slices.


12.02.2007
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KATHY HAMILTON
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Old 12th February 2007, 08:13   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Turkish Spices

lovely...lovely
And saffron is so expensive in the UK..here its cheap.
cloves i could sniff them all day..i love the smell..didnt know they came from the Myrtle tree. .i always imagined they came from the carnation family..as the Turkish word for carnation and clove is the same..karanfil...there are loads of love songs about the lover smelling like karafil!..(maybe Myrtle is the same family..perhaps one of our forum gardeners would know.?)
Cinnamon sticks are nice ,better than the powder..down in Hatay they have a drink made from the licorice root..meyankökü..as well as şerbet..sherbet

really enjoyed reading that
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Old 12th February 2007, 09:08   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Turkish Spices

Quote:
Originally Posted by shirleyanntr
lovely...lovely
And saffron is so expensive in the UK..here its cheap.
cloves i could sniff them all day..i love the smell..didnt know they came from the Myrtle tree. .i always imagined they came from the carnation family..as the Turkish word for carnation and clove is the same..karanfil...there are loads of love songs about the lover smelling like karafil!..(maybe Myrtle is the same family..perhaps one of our forum gardeners would know.?)
Cinnamon sticks are nice ,better than the powder..down in Hatay they have a drink made from the licorice root..meyankökü..as well as şerbet..sherbet

really enjoyed reading that
It could be because of the smell of the Carnation as it has an perfume similar to the Clove

Ray
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Old 12th February 2007, 09:18   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Turkish Spices

I've just found this on the net, with cardamom I would think this is very refreshing, I must go out now a get some cardamom.


Saffron Tea

Beware, saffron is mighty expensive. But it does make this tea recipe stand out.

INGREDIENTS:
8 tsp black tea, loose
8 cups water
12 green cardamom pods
8 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp saffron threads
PREPARATION:
Heat water with cardamom, sugar and saffron. Simmer until reduced by half. Add tea and steep for about 10 minutes. Strain out tea and spices, and serve hot.
Serves 8
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Old 12th February 2007, 09:46   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Turkish Spices

i bet thats nice..have you tried the adaçayı..its sage tea.its the one with the yellow plant in the cup...i'm not keen on it but its supposed to be beneficial for everything from ingrowing toe nails to dandruff..
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