Because this dish takes a long time, it was traditional in the town of Gaziantep to hire a professional storyteller to keep the cooks entertained while they rolled hundreds of tiny balls of meat and rice. Yuvalama is consumed in vast quantities during the three-day eating festival called Bayram that follows Ramadan.
The word yuvalama means ‘rolled’, and it is said that it takes one person four hours to roll
Cover the chickpeas with water and soak overnight. Cover the rice with water, add half the salt, and also soak overnight.
Place the yoğurt on a sheet of muslin (cheesecloth) and tie up the corners. Hang the muslin over a pot for 3 hours to allow the yoğurt to thicken.
Strain and rinse the chickpeas, place in a saucepan with
Strain and rinse the rice, then blend in a food processor or blender. Transfer the rice to a mixing bowl and add the beef and white pepper. Knead the mixture with wet hands for at least 5 minutes, or until it becomes a thick paste—almost like a dough.
Spread the rice flour onto a baking tray. Shape the dough into chickpea-size balls, regularly dipping your hands into the rice flour on the tray to keep them dry. You can roll the balls between your palms three or four at a time. Even so, this will take a long time, so enlist other family members to help, or have a storyteller ready. When all the mixture has been made into balls, space them out on the rice flour so they don’t stick together.
Roughly chop the onions. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cubed pieces of meat and brown for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add
Toss the rice balls lightly in the flour and add them to the lamb. Simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes.
Whisk the yoğurt and egg in a bowl, then whisk in
Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. And the mint and chilli flakes and stir for 2 minutes.
Ladle the soup into four bowls, drizzle the mint and chilli butter over the top and serve.
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