I've been holidaying in Turkey on and off since I was 9 and it's one of my favourite countries. I adore the culture, the people, the scenery, the way of life and, of course, the food. Turkish is considered one of the world's great cuisines, which often comes as a surprise to people who've never been and think it's all kebabs. In actual fact, it's a vegetarian's paradise, with tons of meat-free dishes all made with the freshest, most delicious local produce.
I've been staying in the Turquoise Coast town Kalkan for the past 6 years (and am lucky enough to be going twice this year - just 3 months until my first trip, eeeeep!). Kalkan is famous for its food, and while it's nice to eat a gourmet meal in a luxurious harbourside restaurant, sometimes you just want something simple. This is where pide comes in. It's the Turkish version of pizza and it's dirt cheap, with prices starting at a couple of pounds in little family-run lokantas. It's famous for its distinctive 'slipper' shape and is made with a variety of toppings. It makes a great lunch when shared between two with a big bowl of salad while on holiday, but in the cold, miserable UK weather, it also works as brilliant winter comfort-food.
I don't pretend to be an expert on pide but I've made it many times and while the homemade version will never be the same as those made under the Mediterranean sun by a chef with decades of experience, it's still delicious! This is my recipe, adapted from several others and tweaked over the years:
(Makes 2 large pide)
1 tsp dried yeast
half tsp sugar
75ml warm water
150g strong white flour (plus extra for dusting)
half tsp salt
4tsp olive oil (plus extra for brushing)
1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (follow instructions on packet if necessary) and add the sugar.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl then gradually add the yeast and sugar mixture and the olive oil, stirring constantly.
3. Knead the mixture for several minutes until all the ingredients are well-combined and you have a soft dough.
4. Cover the bowl in cling-film and leave somewhere warm for approximately one hour, or until the dough has risen and is at least 50% larger. (I put my bowl on top of a radiator cover so it's warm but not too hot.)
|The dough before...|
5. When your dough has risen, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 7/220C. Knead the dough for several more minutes then separate into two equal chunks. Dust your work surface, rolling pin and two baking trays with flour, then roll one piece of dough until you have a long, 'slipper' or 'boat' shape. Carefully place the pide onto a floured baking tray. You may find your pide is a really irregular shape so you might want to stretch it and tidy up the shape a little now it's on the tray. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
6. Add your toppings, leaving a border of approx 2cm of dough all the way round. Roll/fold these edges up and squeeze all around with your fingers to create a crimped effect. Brush with a little olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the toppings have cooked and the crust is golden brown. Cut into slices and enjoy, preferably with an ice-cold bottle of Turkish beer!
The tomato topping
You can always buy pizza topping and use that, but it's really quick, easy and tasty to make your own. I use the following recipe:
2tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook over a low heat until the onion has softened then add the tomatoes and a pinch of black pepper. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated. You should have a spreadable, rich mixture.
The top topping!
I usually use grated mozzarella as my basic topping then add whatever I have in. My favourite topping is:
75g grated mozzarella
25g crumbled feta
finely sliced green pepper
finely sliced red onion
I often also add a few halved black olives and sliced mushroom. My meat-eating boyfriend sometimes adds a few slices of pepperoni or chorizo as well.
|Glyn's green olive & chorizo version|
|Glyn's rapidly disappearing pide|