I like slow food because it reminds me that I don’t have to live life in a hurry. So often we buzz through life on high speed, and meal preparation turns into a stressful quick fix, whatever we can get on the table the fastest! Of course, most evenings I want a nutritional meal that’s quick and practical, but once in a while I slow down to enjoy cooking as a hobby. Slow food is “produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients.” **
Last weekend I took the time to make a traditional Turkish dish that I love:
1 large cabbage
Ingredients for filling:
300 g ground beef (just under ¾ lb.)
1½ cups rice (uncooked)
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 onion, minced
3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 ½ tsp. mint
¼ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
Ingredients needed for cooking:
5-6 cloves minced garlic
3 cups boiling water
1 ½ TBSP tomato paste
Cut out the core from the cabbage and plunge it into boiling water for a minute. Rinse it with cold water and carefully remove the outer leaves. Repeat this step until you’ve removed all of the smooth outer leaves. Save the small, wrinkled middle to make coleslaw. Set your cabbage leaves aside on a large tray.
Mix the filling ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Take the cabbage leaves and use kitchen scissors to cut out the central veins that are too thick to roll from the outer leaves. Cut the leaves into 3 x 4 ½ inch pieces, give or take. (8 x 12 cm.) Using cut cabbage veins and scraps, line the bottom of a lidded skillet or pan. To line the pan, use only whatever cabbage you won’t be able to roll.
Put a heaping tablespoon of filling onto the short end of a piece of cut cabbage and press it into a little roll that is a bit shorter than the width of your cut cabbage leaf. Roll it up, wrapping the cabbage twice around the rice roll. Don’t bother trying to close off the sides. Make rolls and place them side by side, tightly together in your pan. You should have enough filling for two layers. When you finish one layer, sprinkle it with salt and half of the minced garlic. Make a second layer of rolls on top of the first, and repeat, using the rest of the garlic.
Mix 1 ½ TBSP tomato paste in the boiling water and slowly pour it over the cabbage rolls. Place a heat proof dinner plate face down over the rolls. Put on the lid and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the water is absorbed. Let the rolls rest for 20 minutes or so after you’ve turned off the heat.
Serve plain or accompanied by garlic yogurt. (1 cup of yogurt with ½ tsp salt and 1 minced clove garlic) Afiyet olsun!
If you live overseas, do you enjoy learning to cook local food? Or do you stick to foods from your native country?
**Quote from Wikipedia article, "Slow Food"