4 Nisan 2012 Çarşamba

Party Like an Arabesque Star

As an ‘anti hero’ compared to all time ‘hero’ steak tartare, çiğ köfte (pronounced as chee kufta but will be called in its original name in this writing) does not always reveal good feelings at first bite.  However, it urges you to bite again and again to discover the hidden secrets in it. Some people ignore it while some others can not compare it with anyting else. Some people can eat it in every corner when they come across with it, others are very selective and curious about it. No matter what,  çiğ köfte can be hardly compared with any other tastes. Apart from its mandatory  proficiency in choice of its ingredients, patience and know-how is a must when making a perfect çiğ köfte. And yes, here is the rigt adress to get this know-how.

Last winter was very long, cold, snowy. It was not always fun to go out and enjoy yourself on the skippy roads; instead, partying at home like an arabesque star by kneading çiğ köfte with the accompany of that ‘moody’ music  was in for me. Here is a good example: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtTO1tQo6sw

Çiğ köfte,  as the name implies in Turkish, means raw meat. Non fat, clean raw meat, mostly from top round of the beef is used for it. And this meat must be finely grinded. You can ask help from your butcher who is always willing to help. Other important ingredient is the isot which a special kind of flaked paprika from Urfa. Black isot is used for çiğ köfte and has a sweet spicy  hot feeling in the mouth. The other ingredients for 50-60 pieces of çiğ köfte is as follows:

250 g grounded beef
500 g finely ground bulghur
1 tablespoon red pepper paste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 grated tomato
1 medium onion
30 gr isot
2 cloves of garlic
Black pepper
Olive oil as needed

All you need to do is to knead all these ingredients until they are basically ‘cooked’ by the power of your palm. And lets admit it, kneading raw meat is a man’s job. You need a real physical power for tis long process.As a woman you can help of course,traditonally by kindly wiping off the sweat from the forehead of ‘kneading man’. However, there is a sequence in kneading: firstly, bulghur, isot, tomato and pepper pastes,salt, cumin, garlic, chopped onion, grated tomato and oil is mixed and kneaded well for all the flavours to combine. You must start slowly so as not to smash bulghur grains. This process takes at least 40 minutes to cook the bulghur through. You can always taste and add necessery spices as you knead. After you soften the bulghur, now it is time to add the meat and knead the mixture  again. I told you this requires a real physical power!

After about 20 minutes of kneading, taste the mixture and if you do not feel uncooked bulghur on your theeth your  çiğ köfte is ready to rock. There is another way of testing which we did mostly. Knock off the çiğ köfte  to the ceiling, if it sticks to the ceiling and stays there, you can tell that it is cooked. As you can imagine, we  still have lots çiğ köfte traces on the ceiling at home J  Add the scallions and parsley and take it aside for 15 minutes for resting. We also added some wallnuts just to get that crunchy feeling. After shaping the köfte into small patties you can enjoy it in a lettuce leaf with a squeeze of lemon juice.  

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