My first post of the new year! Turlu is basically the Balkan version of Ratatouille. I have other versions of turlu posted on the blog, they are all different recipes, this one is vegetarian and is such a delicious and comforting dish…especially in this cold frigid weather!
This version was inspired by my mom and my friend Hatice, she made turlu for us one night, and it just tasted like my childhood if that makes any sense at all! It was just so delicious and full of flavour.
To make sure that your turlu tastes just as good, make sure to use the best tomatoes, it makes all the difference! I use my homemade crushed tomatoes, one time I used a half a can of whole tomatoes that I crushed up and it just lacked flavour, my kids even noticed!
My friend uses canned tomatoes but hers tastes amazing. The tomatoes you use makes a huge difference in how it will taste! You can use a good quality tomato paste with a combination of red pepper paste and water; I do that at times too. Red pepper paste adds a different flavour, but it’s a good one. You must know by now how much I love pepper paste!
What you will need:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 large or medium zucchini
- 2-3 cubanelle peppers
- 1 large tomato
- 1 large onion
- 3/4 cup canned whole or diced tomatoes or homemade tomato-sauce
- salt to season
- olive oil
Cut the eggplant and zucchini into cubes, and chop peppers into thick julienne cut sizes. Chop onion and dice tomato, combine all together, and season with salt. Crush the tomatoes by hand and add to the veggies. Mix all together using your hands or a big wooden spoon. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil. If you notice that there is not enough liquid, you may add a little water (1/2 cup will do). Taste and adjust with salt.
Cook on low to medium heat covered for about an hour or until veggies are cooked and tender. While it’s cooking, check on it and stir. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with linguine, rice, bread, or even on its own, great with a dollop of plain Balkan yogurt. Enjoy! Afiyet olsun!
Alternate cooking method:
Chop onions and peppers, dice tomato, and cut zucchini and eggplant into bite size cubes. Saute onion on low heat in olive oil, season with salt until tender, and add in pepper continue to cook on low heat. Add in the diced tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste, also add in 1/2 to 3/4 cups of homemade tomato sauce or canned diced tomatoes. Season with salt again, and make sure to taste as you go along. Add in zucchini and eggplant and allow to simmer on low heat for an hour or so until all veggies are tender.
I found that recently when I touch eggplant my throat gets itchy, and my hands get red so I have been avoiding eating it. I now cook the eggplant separately in a frying pan in olive oil and season it with salt. When the turlu is done cooking, I take some out for myself, and then add in the eggplant and allow to cook for few minutes.