Left/back arrow
Right/next arrow

June 24, 2015


Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

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).

Kalamari at Adem Baba in Istanbul / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng


Rebecca Seal

"Istanbul" by Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant) Photograhy: Steven Joyce

serves 4

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.

  • 120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) dark ale
  • 40g (11/2 oz/⅓ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole squid, cleaned
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • tarator sauce to serve
  1. Make a batter by whisking together the beer and flour. Season lightly with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Rinse the squid and pat dry with paper towel. Cut off the tentacles and reserve. Slice the body into rings about 2 cm (3/4 in) wide.
  3. Heat the oil for deep-frying. When it’s shimmering, carefully drop a tiny bit of the batter into the oil. If it floats, bubbles and browns immediately, the oil is hot enough. Turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Dip the squid rings and tentacles, one at a time, in the batter, drain off excess and lower into the hot oil in batches. Deep-fry for 1 minute – or less – until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels before serving hot with tarator sauce.