Antep Ezmesi: what can we say? We’re fully aware that we’re always saying different Turkish dishes are favourites for us…but then another food always springs to mind…and that’s a favourite, too. But Antep Ezmesi is one of the originals. An old faithful that’s always been on our meze table and, because we loved it so much when we tasted it, an Antep Ezmesi recipe was one of the first Turkish recipes we learned.
We’re sure if you make spicy ezme at home – or if you’ve never tasted it yourself and you try it in a Turkish restaurant – you’ll love it, too…if you’re a fan of spicy food, that is. Antep ezmesi is spicy and zingy, yet crisp and refreshing, all at the same time. And when any friends come out to visit us in Fethiye and we go to the fish market or other restaurants around town, they’ll go to the meze fridges and their first choice of meze is always Antep ezmesi. No discussion between any of us. It’s only afterwards that we discuss further choices. Everyone loves Antep ezmesi.
What is Antep Ezmesi?
‘Ezme’ is a Turkish word that means ‘crushed’. You’ll also see the word used to describe any other Turkish food that involves a bit of crushing, smashing up or grinding. Antep Ezmesi is from the southeast of Turkey (Gaziantep) and is supposed to be spicy – like a lot of other Eastern Turkish dishes – and so it’s always going to appeal to us as spicy food addicts. It’s basically a spicy tomato salad dip and the nearest thing we can think of to describe it to you is a hot salsa dip made with the freshest of ingredients.
You’ll see spicy ezme in any Turkish restaurant or lokanta that serves mezeler (starters) from their fridges. It’s a staple – if there’s none there, it more than likely means it’s all been bought up. This, and the types of homemade ezme recipe you’ll find in Turkish cookery books, is much much better quality and far more tasty than the product you can buy from the supermarket deli counters in Fethiye.
Antep Ezmesi bought from the deli counters is still tasty but it’s a completely different dish. For us, too much tomato puree is used rather than fresh, chopped tomato (no doubt because it’s much quicker to produce a large batch of it in this way) and you don’t get the same texture or the refreshing flavours on your tongue. It’s more of a paste than a salad and the taste is different, too. You can compare for yourself which you prefer.
Now, we need to tell you this; if you make spicy ezme, we’d be misleading you if we said making your own Antep ezmesi recipe takes no effort. However, now we have told you that, we can also tell you the taste sensation afterwards is definitely worth your labours.
If you’re desperate to make spicy ezme and you’re in a bit of a rush – or you just can’t be bothered to stand there chopping – you can use a food processor/mixer to chop most of your ingredients (except your tomatoes!!). Acılı Antep ezmesi is still amazingly good when you’ve used a food processor…but it’s just not quite as a good as when you decide to do some good old chopping by hand. Texture is the key difference here, and, if you use the food processor, be careful not whizz everything into a pulp.
Anyway, let’s get the chopping board out and make spicy Antep ezmesi…
Ezme Recipe – How To Make Spicy Antep Ezmesi
- 3 large ripe beef tomatoes
- 5 fresh chillies
- 1 large red capsicum pepper, seeds removed
- 1 medium cucumber, quartered lengthways and centre removed
- 1 large onion, peeled
- ½ bunch parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp salça (tomato puree)
- 1 tsp dried mint
- Salt for seasoning
- Place a pan of water on the hob and bring to the boil.
- Plunge your tomatoes into the water for just under 1 minute and then remove them and place in cold water.
- Now remove the skin from the tomatoes - it should peel away easily because of the boiling water.
- Cut your tomatoes in half, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard the seeds.
- Chop your tomatoes as finely as you can without them turning to pulp and add them to a large bowl.
- Now chop the onion, pepper, chillies and cucumber as finely as you can and add those to the tomatoes.
- Remove the stalks from your parsley and finely chop this before adding that to your other ingredients.
- Now add the mint, oil, vinegar, tomato puree and salt.
- Give everything a good mix and do a taste test.
- Add more chillies if necessary (Antep ezmesi is supposed to be spicy) and, if it seems too loose, add more salça (tomato puree), too.
- Place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
There is no cook time in this Antep Ezmesi recipe. The boiling water is merely an aid to peeling your tomatoes. All ingredients are raw.
We have said our ezme recipe serves 6 people. Antep ezmesi is a meze that you can just put out on the table for people to help themselves so '6 people' is just a rough guide.
And that’s it. You should now have before you a bowl of bright red loveliness, waiting to be eaten by your guests – because Antep ezmesi is great as part of a fabulous summer meze table, with fresh Turkish bread, or, as part of a main meal – it’s a great side to köfte.
Antep ezmesi is one of those dishes where no two look the same. You’ll know this if you order it from restaurants, regularly – the amount of ingredients used and the texture created is down to the preferences of the chefs making it. We have some favourite go-to places when it comes to spicy ezme and will sometimes just order a portion with bread as nibbles to go with our beer. Mmmm… However you make your Turkish spicy ezme, it’s always guaranteed to impress your guests.
For loads more meze recipe loveliness, pick up this book from Amazon…
Take a look at our full Turkish recipe index for more inspiration.