My love for Turkish cuisine only intensified after my second visit to Istanbul this spring. When I first visited 10 years ago, I never thought I’d be able to make at home the foods I had loved so much, but now that I’m a little older and a much better home chef, I was up for the challenge and requested a review copy of “Istanbul” by Rebecca Seal. Now I can make my favorites: lahmacun, zucchini fritters, fried calamari and hunkar begendi (lamb stew over eggplant purée).
"Istanbul" by Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant) Photograhy: Steven Joyce
To me, a plate of hot, delicate kalamar eaten with a bowl of nutty tarator
sauce (page 94), looking out over the Bosphorous at sunset, sums up why
I love Istanbul’s food: it’s such a simple dish and really makes the most of
local ingredients, plus it’s easy to recreate at home. You can use any beer
for the batter, but I find dark beers make for tastier results. The trick with
squid is to avoid overcooking them or they become rubbery – these rings
need no more than a minute’s cooking.