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Cuisine of Tokat

Madımak Yemeği – Knotweed With Pastırma


1 kg knotweed
200 gr pastırma 
2/3 c bulgur
2 onions
1 c butter
1 head garlic, divided into cloves and peeled
1 lt water

Clean the knotweed of hardened stems and dead leaves, wash well, then drain and chop. Chop the onions and the pastırma. Melt the butter in a pan, and cook the onions in the butter till they are transparent. Add the pastırma. Add the chopped knotweed and continue to sauté. Add the bulgur, garlic and 1 liter of water, and cook 1 ½ hours. (For a better flavor, add 100-150 gr. sheep’s tail.)

Note: This dish is actually made over an area that includes Tokat, Sivas and Amasya provinces. Madımak, a type of small-leaved knotweed, is a famous and extremely popular food in Anatolia, so much so that it is the subject of folk songs, it can be a nickname, business are named after it. As it is time consuming to gather, clean and cook, this is often done as a group effort.

People in many areas of Anatolia traditionally take their flocks to the high mountain meadows, or yaylas for the summer. Madımak is at its best during the spring when they first ascend, and its short season adds to the demand for it. It is very nutritious; 100 grams of madımak contains 73% water, .4 gr fat, 1.4 gr protein, 63 mg vitamin C, 55 mg calcium, 25 mg sodium and 6 mg phosphorus. Due to the organic acids it contains, it has a slightly tart flavor. It has now gone beyond the borders of Turkey, to become a popular vegetable among vegetarians in particular.

In addition to its culinary use, its roots are boiled and drunk as a tea in order to clear the kidneys of sand. The juice of the leaves are used to treat heat spots on babies, and in bath water. Madımak is also recommended for those with diabetes.

Mercimekli Bulgur Pilavı – Bulgur Pilaf With Lentils


1 c green lentils
1 c coarse bulgur
1 ½ T clarified butter

Put the lentils in a pot and add enough water to cover it by 3 fingers. When they have softened a bit, add the salt. When they are completely tender but not disintegrating, add the add the bulgur and an equal amount of water, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, drizzle with melted butter and cover again and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

If desired:

a. You may add chopped and sautéed mushrooms.
b. Instead of lentils, you may add homemade vermicelli or other small noodles.
c. The cracklings remaining after rendering of tail fat may also be added.
d. It is typical to eat bulgur pilaf with lentils along with pickles, ayran, a mixed salad or rose hip paste.
e. The small wrinkled type of lentils are ideal for this dish because they are small and cook quickly.

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