We both really like middle eastern food, and one of our favorite cookbooks is from the restaurant Moro in London, which melds together Middle Eastern, Spanish and Moroccan food wonderfully. As we’ve been trying to eat more vegetables lately, I searched through it for some good, moreish veggie recipes, and found one for Turlu Turlu, a Turkish dish the book says is similar to ratatouille. I’d agree that it’s like ratatouille, but a bit more exciting and flavorful. I like the French version well enough, but too often it becomes this mush of mostly indistinguishable flavors. This one managed to come together a lot more nicely, and the allspice and coriander make it a lot more interesting. This recipe for Turlu Turlu makes enough for 6 portions at $1.42 per serving.
Turlu Turlu, adapted from Moro: The Cookbook
2 zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1 inch disks
1 eggplant, halved lengthways and each half cut into 4 wedges lengthways
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 green peppers, halved, deseeded and thickly sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and each half cut into 3 lengthways
1 medium turnip, cut into 1 inch wedges
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 can chickpeas
2 14-ounce cans of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 small bunch each of fresh Italian parsley and cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. While the oven is heating up, sprinkle a teaspoon of fine sea salt on the zucchini and eggplant slices, and let them stand for 20 minutes before rinsing under cold water. The salt helps get rid of the excess water in the vegetables so they can roast up nicely.
In a large bowl, toss the eggplant, onion, 2 garlic cloves, peppers, carrots, turnips, and potatoes with the olive oil, allspice, coriander seeds, and a little salt and pepper. Spread the veggie mixture on a large roasting tray in a single layer, so the veggies can roast rather than steam.
Cook the vegetables for 45 minutes in the oven, and gently turn the veggies over every 15 minutes or so to prevent them from burning. After 45 minutes of roasting, add the zucchini disks to the tray and cook for another 15 minutes.
While the veggies are in the oven, make a sweet tomato sauce that will bind the dish together. In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil over a medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the 6 finely sliced garlic cloves and fry until the garlic begins to color. Add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt to balance their acidity. Cook the sauce over a medium heat until most of the liquid that the tomatoes give out has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the rinsed chickpeas to heat them up.
To serve the Turlu Turlu, add the roasted vegetables to the tomato-chickpea sauce and then stir everything together with the fresh herbs. Taste, and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.