A few years ago, I got the chance to visit Istanbul for an unforgettable week. I absolutely loved the city and am itching to go back again some day. From the breathtaking architecture, to the delicious food, to the unique activities you have to put on your “to-do” list (like visit a hammam, for example!), Istanbul is one of the best holiday destinations.
Foodie-to-foodie, there are three things I urge you to try if you ever find yourself there:
- the mastic ice-cream (proper name being “dondurma”). You can’t miss it during the summer months; street vendors bang spoons against the steel ice cream containers to catch your attention!
- get off the beaten path and head to Ortaköy, famous for baked potatoes (Kumpir) but these are nothing like the British “canteen” fare with baked beans; these potatoes are stuffed with a multitude of ingredients ranging from sausages, to pickles and sweetcorn to ketchup and mayo, and so much more.
- finally, you can’t go to Turkey and not try Turkish pizza!
As I’m yet to master bread-making, I was really excited to try this well-known twist on Turkish pizzas, made using store-bought tortillas. It kind of reminds me of Lebanese “kibbeh” served in flatbread. Super easy to make and deceptively filling! Allow one tortilla per person as a snack, cut into “slices” like a pizza, and enjoy!
You can play around with the ingredients and add some more chillies if you like (I actually used some harissa, technically making this dish a fusion of Turkish, Mexican and North African cuisine!) Use good quality mince (I prefer lamb) and don’t worry about the short cooking time; as the layer of mince is very thin, it WILL cook, provided the oven is very hot when you put it in.
(makes 8 pizzas)
500g good quality mince (such as lamb)
1 small onion, chopped very finely
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp harissa
1 tsp salt, or adjusted to taste
Black pepper to taste
Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
8 flour tortillas
First of all, mix the lamb, onion, tomato, garlic, harissa, coriander and seasonings together. Use your hands to really mix it all together well, then set aside for about half an hour.
Now, preheat your oven (preferably grill setting) at the highest temperature it can go to; you want it to get very hot while you prepare the pizzas.
Spread equal amounts of the mince on each tortilla, using the back of a spoon to carefully spread it out in a very thin layer. Cover the entire tortilla, then place onto a baking sheet greased very lightly with a bit of olive oil. You will probably only be able to fit one pizza on a baking sheet, and so you’ll have to make these one at a time. But don’t worry, each one only needs about five minutes in the oven!
After five minutes, they will be ready to eat (you can tell when the mince has browned and “shrunk”) but the tortilla will still be relatively soft. I like mine like this, but if you want them to crisp up more, leave them in for a further 1-2 minutes.