In Turkish cuisine there are a group of dishes known as zeytinyağlı (olive oil dishes) and Barbunya Pilaki is one of them. We love olive oil but not too much of it so this recipe doesn’t contain nearly as much oil as it should but it still tastes great, especially in the summer months. We’re going to a 60th Birthday pool party on Saturday and this is going to be our contribution to the food table. I always make a large amount because it’s usually for loads of visitors and it also keeps in the fridge for a couple of days for us to nibble at. You can just halve all the ingredients if you don’t want to make so much.
If it’s there, we always order barbunya pilaki from the meze fridges in Turkish restaurants so I was really pleased to find some recipes for it. After a few experiments, this one is based around a recipe from a book that’s called Turkish Cookery (the red one that you can buy in the shops of tourist areas) with a couple of little changes that I’ve made over time.
A Turkish Recipe For Barbunya Pilaki
- First of all, if you’re in Turkey, get yourself off to the market and buy a kilo of barbunya. Come home and pod them – it’s very therapeutic and my favourite part of making barbunya pilaki. (If you buy the ready podded beans in a bag, you’ll only need about half a kilo, and you’ll miss out on the joy of podding.)
- Chop a couple of onions however you like. Some people dice them but I’m into the half-moon slices at the moment.
- Chop 3 or 4 of the long green peppers you see in Turkey into rounds. (If you can’t get these, half a small green bell pepper or similar.)
- Peel and slice one or two big carrots. We use two because we love the colour and the flavour the carrot gives to the juices.
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a pan (we probably use a couple of dessert spoonfuls but feel free to use more) and get your carrots going for a few minutes. Then add your onions and peppers and wait till they begin to soften.
- Roughly chop a couple of the meaty, summer Turkish tomatoes (use a tin of tomatoes if you like) and add these to your pan along with 3 or 4 cloves of grated/crushed garlic and a mug of hot water. Add salt and pepper and a teaspoonful of sugar.
- Cook for about 10 minutes and then add your fresh beans. Stir them in, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for half an hour or so, until your beans are cooked. If you’re using 2 tins of borlotti/pinto/romano beans, simmer your sauce for 20 minutes or so and then add your beans for 10 minutes till they’re heated through.
- Once cooked, add your barbunya pilaki to a serving dish and allow to cool. Once cool, garnish with fresh, chopped parsley. Before eating, squeeze a wedge of lemon over your serving. Don’t skip on this because it really adds to the taste.
As we said, barbunya pilaki is a perfect member of your summer meze table. It’s likely you will end up with lots of juices leftover once you’ve polished off a serving of barbunya pilaki. Some fresh crusty bread will sort that little problem out for you.
Some people also add small cubed potato to their barbunya pilaki. We’ve experimented with this on occasion but we much prefer just the carrots and onions. If you do add potato, your barbunya pilaki doesn’t last as long so you’ll need to eat it quicker.
Finally, our photo has basil in it rather than parsley. This is because we forgot to buy parsley. A light sprinkling of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley enhances the flavours of this dish. And don’t forget the drizzle of fresh lemon juice, too. Essential for ultimate enjoyment!