Now, our Chickpea Pilaf is just about ready. What we need to do now is take a paper towel and place it under the lid. This allows the paper towel to absorb all the water and get that rice really nice and steamed. So we’re going to let this steam for about 15 minutes while I get my non stick pan ready to cook our Kofte.
Now that we’ve waited for our non-stick skillet to get really nice and hot, we’re going to place the Koftes and start cooking them. Now, I don’t use any oil because the kofte has fat in it. It has its own oils. But if you want to fry this, you could use one cup of sunflower oil. And remember as I said before, pat them in flour but I’m just grilling them because it’s much healthier. And actually, traditionally, this has been made on top of an open fire. So doing it in a skillet is the closest way to getting it the traditional style. Don’t be afraid to get in there, move them around. After awhile, your fingertips become immune to the heat anyway. You cooks out there, you know what I’m talking about.
This actually reminds me of a time when I was with my sister. We want to Turkey on vacation with my cousins. We went to Sultan Ahmed which is basically the old historical Istanbul. If you ever go to Turkey and you want to start your vacation, this is a great place to start your sightseeing. And across the street, we went to the Sunken Palace which is Yerebatan Saynici. It’s actually a cistern, one of the oldest and largest in Istanbul. It could carry 21 million gallons of water and it has over 300 gorgeous marble columns. Actually, if you remember the move “From Russia with Love”, the James Bond movie, there is a scene where James Bond is rowing a boat through a forest of beautiful marble columns. That scene was actually filmed there. So anyway, so we went. And after all this sightseeing, we were starving and we left. My cousins of course, they want to take us to a café because there are so many great café’s and restaurants over there. My sister and I, we were just so hungry that we couldn’t wait. So we went to one of those street vendors and my cousins got Kokarech which is famous in Turkey on the street. Everybody eats kokarech but my sister and I really wanted the Kofte.
And the gentleman over there, he put the kofte in like a pita pocket, he would put some raw onions like seasoned onions and a little bit of a tomato and even in that summer heat, it’s like you felt the coolness of the tomato, the crispiness of the onion and the juiciness of the kofte and it was really mouthwatering. It was to die for. So even if you go to Sultan Ahmed and you don’t have time to go to the cafes, know that you can go to the street vendors. It’s great and it’s inexpensive and it’s very healthy and clean.
Now, it looks like our Koftes are just about ready. You want to wait until they get nice golden brown on both sides. Make sure that they are cooked well. And we’re going to shut this off and bring it over with our Chickpea Pilav and put it on our serving platters. So let’s get ready to do that.
Now, we’re getting ready for the best part, eating. But before we eat, we have to place them gently on the pretty serving platters. So as you could see here, I’ve taken my serving platter and I’ve garnished it with some curly lettuce, but you could use anything. You can use tomatoes, you can use regular lettuce or romaine lettuce, but I had the curly at home so I’d like to utilize what I have in my kitchen.
So now, we’re going to start placing our chickpea pilaf on our serving platter that I have that matches the one for the koftes. Place it here. Now to garnish this, a great way to garnish is radishes. What you can do is cut the radishes, slice them open and soak them in water for about 15 minutes. That way, the radish is open and they look like little roses, like a flower. So it’s really pretty when you put it on the middle. It smells great. So you have this just so flaky and the chickpeas really standout. And then you could see how that story I was telling about Mahmud Basah, how he would put the gold pieces in because it would match the chickpeas. I would like to go to that dinner.
Now that our Chickpea Pilaf is on the platter, we’re going to garnish with a little bit of parsley. We’ll stick that in right there. And don’t go away because the best part is coming up. We’re going to make some Sumac and Ayran to wash this all down. Ayran is the most famous drink from Turkey and you’re going to be really excited to try it so don’t go away.