Urfa Biber was one of those fortuitous discoveries I made while travelling in Brazil. Believe it or not ,Brazil has a large Turkish and Lebanese population and I found this spice in one the central markets in São Paulo. I immediately fell in love with the color, incredible fragrance and flavor ; kind like a spicy raisin. It quickly became a staple in my kitchen and I hope you will experiment with it in yours. Try the Köfte recipe below, a traditional Turkish use for the Urfa or add it to a pasta dish instead of the crushed red pepper flakes found in every supermarket. Once you try it, I am sure you too will become a convert.
Spicy Grilled Bulgur Köfte
Adapted from the “Classic Turkish Cooking”
By Ayla Algar
1/2C fine grained bulgur wheat
1lb. Of ground lamb (not too lean!) broken up into bits
1C minced onions
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and minced
1t Global Palate Urfa Biber (Turkish Dried peppers)
2t finely chopped garlic
1-1/2t freshly ground cumin
1/2C chopped flat –leaf parsley
1/2C chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2t. Freshly ground black pepper
Wash the bulgur in a fine meshed sieve and place into a medium bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to stand for 30 min. then drain well, squeezing out the excess moisture.
Place the drained bulgur into the bowl of a food processor, add all of the other ingredients except for the olive oil and pulse rapidly until the mixture comes together like a dough. Do not over-process so that it become like a paste or it will be very heavy and dense but it should be very well combined and all of the ingredients well mixed.
Transfer the meat to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hr. Use wet hands to shape egg size pieces into ¼-in thick oval patties (köfte). Grill them over a medium gas or charcoal grill until they are golden and crisp or you can fry them in the olive oil in a heavy iron skillet.
Mughul style Lamb, Eggplant and Spinach Curry
Adapted from “From Curries to Kebabs”
by Madhur Jaffrey
3 lbs of boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1” chunks
2T of peeled and grated fresh ginger
10 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4C coriander seed, toasted and finely ground in a spice mill
Canola oil or other vegetable oil
2C white onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1”chunks
1t Global Palate Urfa Biber pepper
1t Global Palate Aleppo Pepper
1T Global Palate Garam Masala
2T Hungarian Paprika (sweet)
1 C plain yogurt
1-9-10oz package of fresh baby spinach, washed very well and drained
Place the cubed lamb, ginger, garlic and coriander into a large bowl and stir well to combine. Let marinate for 1/2hr.
Pour enough oil into a heavy frying pan to a depth of 1” and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fry them, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning until they are a rich golden brown. Remove the onions from the oil with a pair of tongs and a wire spider and drain on paper towels.
In a large lidded heavy sauce pot add about 1/4C of the oil used to fry the onions and heat over a medium flame. When the oil is hot add the meat together with the marinade ingredients. Brown the meat well. You may need to do this in several batches. Do not over crowd the pan. Add the eggplant, turmeric, garam masala, Urfa Biber peppers, Aleppo Pepper, paprika and salt and stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 5 min. or so then cover the pot and lower the heat a bit. Cook for 10 min. stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and add 1/2 of the yogurt. Cook, stirring until the yogurt is absorbed. Add the remaining yogurt and stir cooking for another 10 min. You may need to add a bit of water to keep the curry from drying out. Add the baby spinach and fried onions and stir well. Cover and simmer for about another 30-40 min. or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Check the pot occasionally to make sure it is not burning. Serve with rice or Indian bread.
Urfa Biber Shrimp with Julienne Vegetable Salad
adapted from Craig Kotetsu of Park Ave. Summer
For the Shrimp:
1lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
juice of 1/2 a lemon
large pinch of Global Palate Murray River apricot flake salt
1 small clove of garlic , minced
1T Global Palate Urfa Biber Turkish pepper flakes or to taste
2T olive oil
For the Salad:
1 Japanese cucumber or 1/2 of a hothouse cuke, peeled, seeded and cut into very thin julienne
1C green papaya ,cut into very thin julienne or 1/2 of a Jicama peeled and julienned
1 large carrot, trimmed , peeled and cut into very thin julienne
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, cut into a very thin julienne
1t of Murray River apricot flake salt
1/2t ground white pepper
1/4C rice vinegar
Mix all of the ingredients for the shrimp except for 1T of the olive oil and let marinate for 1/2hr.
Pre-heat a large heavy skillet or wok and add the remaining olive oil adding a bit more if not enough.
Drain the shrimp and add to the hot pan, sautéeing quickly and stirring frequently to cook evenly.
Cook the shrimp until just pink and firm to the touch.
Remove from the pan and let cool. This may be done up to 1/2 a day ahead of time.
To make the salad, combine the the salt, sugar, white pepper and rice vinegar, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. 10 min. before serving place the julienned vegetables in a large non-reactive bowl and pour the dressing over them. Toss gently but thoroughly to evenly coat all of the pieces. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
To plate, evenly divide the shrimp up onto the center of 4 large salad plates; toss the vegetable salad one more time and gently place a mound of the salad on top of the shrimp. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the portions and serve.
Serves 4 as a first course or 10 as a hors d'oeuvre.