Turkish Recipes: Yoğurtlu Brokoli

This winter has been all about learning to love some of the foods we used to hate. Living in Fethiye, we eat a lot more veg than we ever did back in the UK and we’ve taught our taste buds that not all veg is nasty and horrible. However, until recently, there have always been two vegetables that have never succeeded in reaching our shopping bag from the stalls of Fethiye market: Broccoli and cauliflower.

Broccoli and cauliflower always looks so tempting on the market when it’s in season but what would we do with it if we bought it? Probably look at it in the fridge till it went limp and lost its colour. But, a few weeks ago, I thought, ‘Right! Time to learn broccoli. There must be Turkish recipes for it.’

A quick search around some of the blogs we follow and found a post from Hülya (of Kars Gravyer Peyniri / Cheese fame). She had a recipe for broccoli drizzled with yoghurt. Well, we shouldn’t have been surprised should we? This is Turkey. If in doubt, use yoghurt. I was inspired.

Broccoli From Çalış Market

Our first ever Turkish broccoli purchase

So, three weeks ago, we were at Çalış market and we took the plunge. 1.5 lira for what I thought was one big chunk of broccoli. No, it was 1.5 lira for 1 kilo of broccoli. The stall holder crammed two more broccoli ‘trees’ into the bag, we handed over our money and walked home with a bagful of food neither of us liked…until I made my (nearly) Turkish version of broccoli and yoghurt.

Yoğurtlu Brokoli
You see, the thing is, we wanted to enjoy broccoli because we know it’s really good for you. But the flavour of it – yuk! I decided to make a strong-tasting yoghurt dip that would make our broccoli more palatable.
For the broccoli:

  • Break the broccoli up into medium-sized florets, leaving as long a stem as possible on each floret.
  • Plunge the florets into boiling water 2-3 minutes and then remove them and let them cool.

For the yoghurt dip:
We needed lots of flavours going on so this is what we came up with:

Yoghurt Dip

A yoghurt dip with strong flavours was needed

  • First of all, add 3-4 tablespoons of natural süzme yoghurt to a bowl.
  • Grate 1 large clove of garlic into the yoghurt and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of red pepper paste (biber salçası) and mix it in. Tomato puree is fine if you can’t get red pepper paste.
  • And of course, not forgetting a bit of heat and a bit more colour. As much hot paprika or chilli powder as you like.
Turkish Broccoli and Yoghurt

The broccoli and yoghurt challenge!

  • Add the yoghurt dip to a ramekin dish and place the cold broccoli around it.
  • Pick each broccoli floret up by the stem, dunk it into the yoghurt, eat and enjoy your broccoli!

We are now broccoli converts – just as it is going out of season – and no longer think it’s yuk! Bring on next year when we can buy broccoli without a care…and build ourselves up to the challenge of the dreaded cauliflower.

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  1. There’s always a need for new broccoli recipes. I’ve got to try this.

  2. @ Italian Notes: Especially those broccoli recipes that mean we can actually enjoy broccoli! 🙂

  3. That dip can make anything look good! I’m more of cauliflower than broccoli fan, but happy to have either as long as I have that dip.

  4. Broccoli is the best! I agree about cauliflower though, until I tried green curry. Make a Thai green curry with cauliflower- it’s so delicious! It’s pretty much the only way I eat it!

  5. @ Belinda: The dip was good but now we love broccoli too. Always a bonus! 🙂

    @ the bockster: Well, we’ve been putting broccoli in curry too and that’s quite nice. Maybe curry can be the cauliflower inroduction! 🙂

  6. Brokoli salatası

    So basically you can prepare your broccoli as you do for your recipe, except I favour small, bite-size florets. Meanwhile prepare the following:

    * cubed tomatoes (sadly the less seeds and juice the better… save them for another dish!) c 1cm, say 2-3 smallish tomatoes per broccoli “tree”.
    * finely sliced (on the diagonal) spring onions (quantity depends on how oniony you want it!). A brilliant and totally seasonal alternative here is fresh garlic (looks like baby leeks)
    * lemon juice (half a juicy lemon to the tree)
    * olive oil, lots of (but basically you are making a dressing, so 2:1 with the lemon juice)
    * pepper, salt and pul biber to taste
    * optional: 50/50 yoghur/süzme yoghurt with garlic

    Once the broccoli is cooked, cool (I use cold water) and drain thoroughly (I spin it in a tea towel!). Mix all the ingredients except the broccoli and yoghurt in a large bowl, add the broccoli and toss thoroughly. Check the seasoning and correct if you need to and then transfer to what you’re serving it in. You can either pour the garlic yoghurt on top or serve in a separate dish (my preference).

    TOP TIP: if you add bicarb to the cooking water (just a dash) your broccoli stays green, even when cool. BUT the cooking time reduces: be warned!

  7. @ H: You win the prize for quite possibly the longest ever comment on Turkey’s For Life. Congratulations! 🙂 (No prize though, sorry.) We shall try your recipe if we see more broccoli on the market this week (it was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday) and let you know how we went on. If not, we’ll just have to look forward to next year. Thanks. 🙂

  8. Looks good. H’s recipe sounds good, too. My husband is a broccoli fanatic. I’ll pass this along to him since he’d be doing the preparation.

  9. @ Cathy: That’s value for you. Two recipes in one post – and we didn’t expect it! 🙂

  10. Looks good, but would I go through the trouble of making it just for broccoli? Probably not… But I’d eat it if you make it! 🙂

  11. @ Corinne: You have to go to the trouble of making it just for the broccoli, otherwise the broccoli won’t be worth eating. 🙂

  12. Thanks for the recipe…it looks yummy. I’m always trying to look for new recipes for broccoli. In Turkey the broccoli tastes like it is supposed to….here in the winter it tatses plasticky.
    thanks for sharing your recipe. 🙂

  13. @ Erica (Irene): You’re welcome. Plasticky isn’t good! 🙂 Yes, the broccoli in Turkey is good although we don’t have a lot to compare it to as we never used to like it. 🙂

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