Sunday, June 20, 2010

Meze - Aymis's Circassian Chicken

If some people are born with a green thumb, some are definitely born with a natural cook's hand and my sister-in-law, Duygu's mother, Aymis hanim is definitely one of those talented individuals.  Whatever she touches seems to turn into a gastronomical delight.  None of our special family gatherings at Duygu's house would be complete without her mother's incredible 'Zeytinyagli Dolma's' (stuffed grape leaves in olive oil) or 'Barbunya' (pink beans in olive oil), yummm...  'Dolma' is the one food that would separate the girls from the women in case of Turkish cooking, since it entails many hours of wrapping the rice and onion combination filling in thin grape leaves; the size and the firmness of the Dolma pronounces the expertise level of the preparer.  It is one of my favorite foods and I am especially fond of Aymis hanim's Dolma's.

Circassian chicken, 'Cerkez Tavugu,' is another specialty that is the sign of a good Turkish cook.  The actual recipe is suppose to be very hard because it requires extracting the oil of walnuts; I have never, even questioned, how that is done, so I cannot tell you but this recipe, in my opinion, tastes better than the real thing.  It is super easy and incredibly delicious.

Getting a recipe with actual measurements out of a real Turkish cook is next to impossible,  These women must have all learned how to make these delicacies on their mother's laps and are very easy going about giving out recipes since everyone's pinch or hand full is different; the resulting product can be extremely variable.  I have learned after many melt-downs that all you need to do is relax and trust your taste buds.  If you get the basic ingredients fresh and rightly prepared (in this case boiling the chicken until it is tender) the sky is the limit.
I am including the recipe for this but I have to admit that I start out with the boiled  chicken and keep on adding more and more yogurt and salt and even garlic until I get it to the consistency and taste I desire.

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