At the moment, there are loads of these almost spherical courgettes on Fethiye market and we absolutely love them. We’re not sure if there any traditional Turkish dishes that use this type of courgette in particular but we’ve certainly never seen any – and the last time we went to the market with our Turkish friend (who loves cooking and seems to know a lot about traditional Turkish cooking) asked us what we would do with these.
Whether it’s a bell pepper, an aubergine, a mushroom – any vegetable that has room in it – the tradition in Turkish cuisine is to stuff it with a filling of some description to make a dish known as dolma (dolma means ‘stuffed’). There’s a lot of room in our round courgettes so we decided to make stuffed courgettes. Let’s call it Kabak Dolması.
A Seasonal Recipe for Kabak Dolması
This dish is for two people and you’re likely to get full but it doesn’t matter because you can do what we do and put the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the day after. Kabak dolması is fabulous cold with natural süzme yoghurt.
The bulk of our filling is going to be made of fine bulgur wheat (köftelik bulgur), so we need to prepare this first.
- Fill a coffee mug to the half-way point with the köftelik bulgur and pour into a bowl. Boil the kettle, add a teaspoon of tomato puree (salça) to the mug and when the kettle has boiled, add the water until the mug is three quarters full. Stir until the salça has melted and then pour into the bowl, covering the bulgur. Add more water if the bulgur isn’t covered. Set aside and cover with a clean tea towel or cloth.
- Slice a small lid off 4 round courgettes and scoop the middles out with a spoon. Think Halloween pumpkins. Nothing is wasted in our house so about half of the discarded courgette will become part of your stuffing. Put the rest in a bag in the fridge and you can make an omelette or risotto with it the day after.
- Now, finely chop a red pepper, an onion and a few chillies (if you like spicy – of course we do!) and fry in a little olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and mix in. Fry on quite a high heat so that you get the singed edges to your peppers and onions. It all adds to flavour.
- Once fried, remove from the heat, fork through your bulgur and stir into the peppers and onions. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.
- Spoon the bulgur mixture into each of the courgettes until they’re full. You can cram it in if you want and if there’s any left at the end, you can save it for a salad the day after or do what we do and just eat it!
- Place each stuffed courgette onto a baking tray and brush with a little olive oil before placing in the centre of the preheated oven.
Bake courgettes in the oven for about 40 minutes, remove, and then you can eat them. Turkish people love their natural yoghurt these courgettes are perfect served with a side dish of haydari (natural yoghurt with a bit of mint and grated garlic mixed in to it).
If anyone knows of any traditional Turkish recipes that use this type of globe-shaped courgette in particular, we’d love to know about them.