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Mediterranean Cooking Workshop with Tasty Talks

This was the second virtual cooking workshop that we planned together with Manasi, founder of Tasty Talks. Stuffed Turkish bell peppers braised in olive oil and cacik, tzatziki was on the menu.

Dolma is a family of stuffed dishes common in Mediterranean cuisine and regions including Balkans, the South Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East. Dolma in Turkish means to be full, stuffed. It comes from the ancient Turkik word Tol. Previously in Mongolia people started to fill dolma with minced meat. Filling with rice, currants and pines came only during Ottoman Period.

Basically at that time they tried filling dolma in anything lamb, mussels, cabbage, vine leaves. They hired people only to make dolma during Ottoman period. They discovered vegetables to fill dolma, like courgette, tomatoes, peppers.

About 300 years ago, Swedish King Carl XII was defeated by the Russians and he escaped to Turkey. In Turkey, he came across stuffed vine leaves with minced meat. He liked it so much, he brought the recipe back to Sweden. Swedish chefs substituted vine leaves to cabbage leaves. Kåldolmar became a popular Swedish dish. “Kål” means cabbage in Swedish.

You can also stuff this mix into squash blossoms which are also commonly eaten in Greece and Aegean part of Turkey in summer. In South eastern part of Turkey, they also stuff dolma into dry aubergines.

Cacik is a cold appetizer and a side dish for many main courses. It is also called cold soup in Bulgaria. Cacik is famous in Turkey, Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria and many other Balkan countries. The word cacik comes from Armenia, in Greek it is tzatziki.

Cacik is a combination of yoghurt, dry herbs and cucumber. You can add dill, parsley, mint into your cacik as well with some olive oil.

I prefer cacik with dry herbs, sumac, dry mint, chili flakes, black pepper, cucumber with some water to dilute the yogurt.

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