You’ll never find a more comforting Turkish home-cooked meal than kızartma. Layers and layers of fried zucchinis, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, and tender meatballs are coated in finger-licking garlicky yogurt and tomato sauces. This fry up is super juicy and super flavorful, you’ll only regret not having made more.
For the Turkish meatballs:
- 500g ground beef (1 pound)
- 1 big onion
- 1 egg
- 6 tbsp plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp cumin
For the kızartma:
- 3 eggplants
- 5 potatoes
- 3 zucchinis
- 4 bullhorn green peppers
- 5 tomatoes, grated
- 1 tbsp Turkish red pepper paste (tatlı* biber salçası), or use tomato paste
- 700g Turkish yogurt (3 ¼ cup), or use Greek yogurt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly cut
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- vegetable oil, for frying
First, prepare the Turkish meatballs:
- Make the köfte mixture. Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl. Roughly grate in the onion. Add the egg, breadcrumbs and cumin. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix together well and knead the mixture for 5 min, as you would for bread dough.
- Shape the meatballs. With wet hands, take a small handful of the meat mixture and pat it into a flat elongated meatball, about 1cm thick (½ inch). Repeat until you run out of the köfte mixture. You should have around 18 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a plate, cover with foil and refrigerate until needed.
Then, make the kızartma by frying everything in stages:
- Soak the eggplants and potatoes. Trim the stems off the eggplants and peel them. Cut them into 3 cm (1 in) cubes. Place into a mixing bowl and cover them with salted water. Let the cubes soak while you get on with the rest. This helps to draw out bitter juices from the eggplants. Peel the potatoes and cut them into long thin strips. Place them into another mixing bowl and cover with salted water. Allow the strips to soak for 15 min. This helps to remove excess starch and to prevent the fries from sticking together.
- Fry the zucchinis. Trim the stems off the zucchinis and peel them. Slice them into 1 cm (½ inch) coins. Cover the surfaces of 2 frying pans with 3 cm (1 in) of oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil reaches 160°C (320°F), or until it’s hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 1min, split the zucchini coins evenly between the 2 pans. Fry, turning them from time to time with a slotted spoon, until golden brown on both sides (between 10 to 15 min). Place the zucchini coins on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. It’s fine if they get soggy, that’s how they should be for this recipe.
- Fry the potatoes. Drain the potato slices and pat them dry thoroughly with paper towels (if they are wet the oil will spatter dangerously). Make sure the oil temperature is still 160°C (320°F) and then split the fries evenly between the 2 pans. Fry, turning them from time to time with a slotted spoon, until golden brown on all sides (between 15 to 20 min). Place the fries on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. No worries, if they get soggy.
- Fry the eggplants. Drain the eggplant cubes, rinse them under cold running water and pat them dry. Check the temperature and split the cubes evenly between the 2 pans. Fry, turning them from time to time with a slotted spoon, until golden brown on all sides (between 10 to 15 min). Place the eggplant cubes on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Fry the meatballs. Check the temperature and then split the köftes evenly between the 2 pans. Cook for 2 to 3 min on each side or until brown. Place the köftes on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Fry the green peppers. Make several deep incisions in your peppers with a sharp knife. Check the oil temperature and cook them in one of the pans for 4 min, turning them halfway. Be careful, the oil will spatter. Place the peppers on paper towels.
- Make the tomato sauce. Get rid of most of the oil left in the other pan until there is just enough to coat the pan. Stir in the red pepper paste (or tomato paste) and cook while mixing with a wooden spatula for 2 min. Add the grated tomatoes with 1 tsp of salt and mix until combined. Let the sauce simmer over medium heat for 12 min, or until reduced by half.
- Make the garlic yogurt sauce. Place the garlic cloves and 1 tsp of salt in a mortar and crush into a paste. Add to the Turkish yogurt and mix until combined. Taste and season accordingly.
- Assemble the kızartma. Layer all the fried vegetables and meatballs into a large dish, pour the garlic yogurt and tomato sauce on top of everything and mix a little to better distribute the sauces. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours at least before serving (or overnight, it’s even better the day after). Or you could eat your kızartma warm, I won’t judge you.
You can keep the kızartma for up to 3 days in the fridge.
*If you buy Turkish red pepper paste, check the label thoroughly. Acı means hot and tatli means sweet. For this recipe, you’ll need the ‘sweet/tatlı’ one. I find it easier to use the tatlı pepper paste because it’s easier to add spices to make it hot, but if the acı is too spicy for you then you won’t be able to get rid of the hot taste.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 1383
Keywords: turkish main dishes, summer vegetables recipe, frying recipes