Spicy Antep Ezmesi: what can we say? Simply, that this ezme recipe is one of our very favourite dishes.
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 then 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 (acılı) 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 local 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.
Some of our friends need to choose vegetarian or vegan dishes and ezme fits in very nicely as a side dish thar we can all happily share.
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.
Fasulye ezmesi, for example, is another tasty white bean meze dish.
Antep Ezmesi is from the southeast of Turkey (Gaziantep).
And, like a lot of other Eastern Turkish dishes, is supposed to be spicy. That means it’s always going to appeal to us as spicy food addicts.
It’s basically a spicy tomato salad dip. The nearest thing we can think of to describe it to you is a hot Turkish salsa dip made with the freshest of ingredients.
It’s a great way to use up tomatoes, too, if you have a glut.
You’ll see spicy ezme in any Turkish restaurant or lokanta that serves mezeler (cold starters) from their fridges.
It’s a staple of Turkish cuisine. Especially in kebab restaurants where it makes a perfect fresh accompaniment to your barbecued meat dishes.
If there’s none there, it more than likely means it’s all been bought up.
Homemade Acılı Ezme Is The Best
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. And you don’t get the same texture or the refreshing flavours on your tongue.
It’s more of a tomato paste than a salad and the taste is different, too. You can compare for yourself and decide which you prefer.
No Two Spicy Ezme Salads The Same
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 fresh ingredients used and the texture created is down to the individual chef’s own preferences.
Sometimes, you can get quite a relatively chunky acılı ezme. Whilst in other places, the ingredients can be almost blitzed and the olive oil is plentiful!
As long as the ingredients are fresh and the tomato paste or pepper paste is not making up the bulk of the dish, we really don’t mind.
We have some favourite go-to places when it comes to spicy ezme and will sometimes just order a portion with fresh bread or Turkish pide bread as nibbles to go with our beer.
Boğaziçi Restaurant along Fethite harbour springs to mind. They do a mean ezme!
Homemade Is Worth The Effort
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!
You need good quality, ripe tomatoes and you’re going to be chopping these by hand!
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 do use the food processor, be careful not whizz everything into a pulp. Just give it a pulse a few times.
Anyway, let’s get the chopping board out and make spicy Antep Ezmesi.
Ezme Recipe Ingredients
For this delicious recipe, we’re basically going to be chopping lots of lovely fresh ingredients into tiny pieces and mixing them together in a large bowl.
Obviously, we have our ripe tomatoes. We need to peel and deseed these.
This job is easy when you plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute and then plunge them into cold water straight afterwards.
The skin will peel off easily and then you can halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and excess tomato juice with a teaspoon.
We also have:
- Onion – you can use red onion if you like.
- Hot peppers – as many chillies as you can handle. Our recipe says 5. On days when the chillies haven’t been so hot, we’ve added more or some hot red pepper flakes (pul biber).
- Red and green capsicum peppers. In Turkey, we use the red ‘kapya biber’ and the green ‘sivri biber.’ These are the long pointed ones but bell peppers will be fine, too.
- Cucumber – an optional ingredient that we use because some of the local restaurants in Fethiye add it.
- Good quality olive oil.
- Vinegar – or freshly squeezed lemon juice. We use Turkish grape vinegar.
- Salça – just a little bit of tomato paste (domates salçası) or red pepper paste (biber salçası) that will help to thicken up all those lovely juices
- A half bunch of parsley – for some lovely fresh green flavours.
- And a bit of dried mint – it lifts the zing factor.
Chop everything up with a good sharp knife and add it all the bowl.
Mix it up and do a taste test and make any necessary adjustments. We often find the hot chilli flavour is absorbed by other ingredients so we add more afterwards.
And that’s it.
You should now have before you a bowl of bright red loveliness, waiting to be eaten by your guests.
However you make your Turkish spicy ezme, it’s always guaranteed to impress your guests.
Ezme Recipe – How To Make Spicy Antep Ezmesi
Turkish Ezme Recipe – Spicy Antep Salad
- 3 large ripe beef tomatoes
- 5 fresh chillies
- 1 large red capsicum pepper seeds removed
- 1 small green capsicum pepper seeds removed
- 1 medium cucumber quartered lengthwise & centre removed
- 1 large onion peeled
- ½ bunch parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- salt & pepper 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.
- This Turkish ezme recipe is a base for you to follow and over time, you will add more of, or use less of certain ingredients depending on your taste.
- 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.
- For the same reason, the calorie count is also approximate.
And if you are looking for other light Turkish salad dishes, take a look at another famous Gaziantep dish, Gavurdağı Salatası.
For loads more meze inspiration, take a look at our full Turkish recipe index. Afiyet olsun!