Maklube (Upside Down)

This is a dish I tasted last year in Antakya at a restaurant for the first time. I don’t know why my aunt never cooks this dish, i believe it has an Arabic origin than a true Antakya dish. It is a one dish meal, with vegetable, rice and meat all in one. It is slightly flavored with allspice, which blends the tastes very well together.  Make sure the spices are used in a subtle way to balance the delicate taste of eggplant.

P1090979 matlube

2.5 Lbs Eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick lengthwise
2 lbs beef chuck, irregularly sliced between 1/2 in-1 in cubes
1 tomato
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, diced
1 stalk of leek, finely chopped
1 carrot, cut into 3 pieces
1 bay leaf
pinch of oregano
2 1/2 cups medium grain rice (calrose, goya spanish, baldo rice)
1 tsp allspice
2 pieces of cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 tiny pinch cinnamon

Salt the eggplants liberally and let them sweat for 1/2 hour. Wash under cold water and squeeze dry. Lightly fry them or brush them with olive oil and bake them on a baking sheet.

In a dutch oven (takes about 2 1/2 hours) or pressure cooker (40 minutes), salt and brown the meat, set aside. Sautee onions, leeks, carrots until translucent, add tomato paste, and the rest of the spices and salt to taste. add just enough water to cover the meat. Cook until tender. Remove from heat and strain the juices and set aside.

Soak the rice in boiling water and salt for 5 minutes and well rinse under cold water 5 times until all the loose starch is washed away. Drain and set aside.

In a 4 inch deep dutch oven, arrange the eggplants to cover the base and all the sides, with enough height to fold over. Add the meat to on top, and the rice, then 6 cups of stock from the beef (if not enough stock, add boiling water to make it 6 cups total).

Cover and Place in a 425 degree oven for about an hour, check to see if rice has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from heat, let stand for 10 minutes and turn it upside down on a serving dish.  Slice just like a cake and serve.

Tuzlama (Tripe)

Tuzlama (Tripe) Soup

Not for everyone’s taste, this is a soup usually drunk late at night before going home in specialty restaurants open late into the morning. These restaurants, usually called “Iskembeci” specialize in offal and all other “non-standard” parts of the animal, most notably Kokorec (Pronounced ko-ko-retch) among others. Tripe is one of the four stomachs of the cow, namely Iskembe (Rumen), Borkenek (Reticulum), Kirkbayir (Omasum) and Sirden (Abomasum). Most soups and stews are made from the first two parts (Iskembe and Borkenek)–which are the first two connected parts of the stomach.

Tuzlama soup

You can find Tripe (Iskembe) at many Mexican supermarkets or high-end butchers.

1 whole Tripe (about 3 Lbs)
1 Large onion, cut in half
1 head of garlic, cut in half
4 quarts of water
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
3 tbsp flour
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp red pepper flakes

Cut tripe into large pieces (about 4×4 inches), place it in a pot with water, onion and garlic, peppercorns and 2 tbsp salt. boil gently for one and a half hours. Remove the tripe onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Strain the soup and discard the onion and garlic. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, lemon juice, flour and yogurt, slowly mix in some of the hot soup to temper, then mix in the sliced tripe. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring constantly until it boils.

Warm up butter and red pepper flakes, pour over the soup right before serving. Serve with crushed garlic, and red wine vinegar.

Confit of smoked eggplant, roasted peppers and tomato

This is a very traditional Turkish recipe cooked in many regions, but i’ve elevated it by letting it confit in olive oil over low heat in the oven, then fill canning jars with it and let it infuse in the fridge for about a week or two.  it will keep for at least a month or two in the fridge.


2-3 medium eggplant
2 medium green peppers
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 medium sized tomato
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil

Skewer the eggplants and peppers and grill it on open fire until peppers have blistering skins , and until eggplants are soft to the touch on the stem side.  Peppers will cook much faster than the eggplant.  Transfer to a baking dish and cover to sweat for 5 minutes.

Remove skins under cold running water.  Place in a dish and add the lemon juice.

Chop the eggplants, green peppers and tomato roughly the same size. Place in a baking dish, adjust the salt, add the garlic and about 1/2-1 cup of good quality olive oil.  Place in a preheated 250 F degree oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and fill up sterilized canning jars and cover to cool, then place in the fridge for about a week.  Enjoy with toasted bread.



This is a new recipe I’ve tried i’ve heard from a family friend.  It is an easy to make appetizer that is good spicy finger food.

1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 lb fine bulgur
1 medium onion, very finely chopped or grated-if finely chopped, rub it with salt to break it down.
1 tbsp pepper paste (or 1 large fresh bell red pepper, finely ground)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Mix the bulgur with onion, 6 oz of water, red pepper paste, salt/pepper, cumin and let rest for 10 minutes.  Mix in the meat and slowly mix in another 4 oz of water, and knead for 5-10 minutes until it becomes almost a paste-like consistency.  Make 1 inch balls out of it and place on a floured surface.

Boil 5 cups of water and cook the meatballs for 15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix in the ground garlic and olive oil.  Drain the meatballs and mix in with the garlic and olive oil.  You can garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes.

Ful (bakla) – Broad bean stew/dip


This is a very traditional recipe from southeastern Turkey and all around the middle east.  Eaten as breakfast or lunch, a very filling light, healthy, tasty dish

2 Lbs Fava beans (either soaked overnight and cooked over low heat or canned)
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1 tomato, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
salt/pepper to taste

Drain fava beans and add 4 cups of water and all remaining ingredients, cook over low heat for about 1 1/2 hour, mixing every 10-15 minutes, making sure there is enough water. If needed, add water. Smash with the back of the spoon, and remove from heat, add another chopped clove of garlic and some good olive oil. Garnish with a good squeeze of lemon, onions, tomato, coriander and green hot peppers, serve with bread to dip and cucumber, radish and pepper pickles.

Garlic Lamb with Mint and Yogurt



3 Lamb shanks
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup strained yogurt (preferably Goat milk yogurt)
1 egg
6-10 stalks of fresh garlic
mint (optional)


Sprinkle salt on the lamb shanks and sear them until browned.  Place in a dutch oven and cook for 4 hours at 325 degree oven.  Remove from the oven and take the meat off the bone, reserve the juice.

Cut the garlic in 2 inch pieces.  In the same pan over the stove, sautee onion over medium heat with a tablespoon of butter, add the garlic, meat and the reserved juices.

In a bowl whisk together the egg and the yogurt, slowly mix it with the meat.  Simmer for 10 minutes until the garlic is cooked.  Sprinkle with dried mint.




This is a classic dish from Turkey and Greece.


6-7 Italian eggplants
3/4 lb ground chuck
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8 oz, diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2-3 tomatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick
2-3 Green peppers cut lengthwise in 4 pieces

Pare the eggplants and roast in a pan with few tablespoons of vegetable oil over low heat. Turn to brown them and cook covered until soft and brown on the outside.

In a sauté pan, sauté onions, garlic and ground beef, add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.  Slash the eggplants through the middle and stuff with the ground beef mixture.  Pour tomato sauce around the eggplants.  Place 2 slices of tomato on each eggplant, and a slice of green pepper and place in a 375 degree oven covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 25 minutes, serve hot.


Lamb shoulder tandir

Possibly the most perfect festive lamb dish I know, it is a slow cooked shoulder of lamb instead of the most common leg of lamb.  The shoulder has more bones, fat and collagen and is perfect for keeping the meat juicy during the long cooking process.


1 lamb shoulder, about 6-7 lbs
3 tbsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. oregano (use more if fresh)
1 tbsp. zahter (or thyme)
1 tbsp. rosemary
1 tbsp. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion
Vegetables for the roasting pan (potato, onions, garlic, red peppers)

For crust
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil

Grind the salt, and the spices in a food processor and rub the lamb shoulder with the mixture.  Place in the fridge let stand for 1 hour.

Grind the onion in a food processor then strain the juices in to a cup.  Pour the onion juice over the lamb and place it in a plastic bag or a vacuum bag.  Let it marinate for 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees and place the lamb in a deep roasting pan with a cup of water and seal tightly, as tight as you can and cook for 3 hours.  Remove from oven, put your favorite vegetables around the lamb and cover and cook for another 2 hours.  Remove from oven, uncover and baste it with the yogurt, tomato paste and olive oil mixture.  Increase the oven to 350 and cook uncovered until the crust turns dark red.