Purslane and Ancient Grains Stew

Pırpırım aşi


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By David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu

Published 2015

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Vegetarians are always surprised by how many interesting dishes the land of lamb lovers can offer. In season, this stew appears regularly on the famous ‘Fifty Bowl’ display table at Çiya restaurant in Istanbul’s Kadıköy market, using the kind of grains humans have been boiling for millennia. While it is likely that lentils and chickpeas originated in Anatolia, black-eyed peas are recent arrivals—brought from Africa in the fifteenth century for palace chefs eager to surprise the sultan.

The sour-salty green purslane, which contains more omega-3 than any other leafy vegetable, is Turkey’s favourite weed, usually consumed fresh in summer and dried in winter. In the first great work on botany, written in the fourth century BC, the Greek philosopher Theophrastus advises sowing purslane in mid-spring so you can enjoy it in summer. If you can’t find purslane, the best substitute is baby rocket (arugula).