Chef´s Choice – Turkish Cuisine

Rice stuffed Tomatoes (Dolmas)

turkish-flagTurkish cuisine is largely the continuation of Ottoman cuisine, which in turn borrowed many elements from Central Asian, Caucasian, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Greek and Balkan cuisines.

Turkish cuisine varies across the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region inherits many elements of Ottoman court cuisine, with a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, köftes and a wider availability of vegetable stews (Türlü), eggplant, stuffed dolmas and fish. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region uses fish extensively, especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi) and includes maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast (e.g. Urfa, Gaziantep, and Adana) is famous for its variety of kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as Baklava, Söbiyet, Kadayıf, and Künefe.


  • Tomatoes8 bigger tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 150 g white rice
  • 3oo ml water
  • 30 g pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 1 tspn ground allspice
  • 500ml vegetable stock


Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan assisted)

Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and put them aside. Scrape out seeds and some pulp of the tomatoes, using a spoon and leaving a finger-thick residue.

Finely chop the scraped-out pulp and set aside. Place tomato shells side by side into a big enough oven-proof casserole or baking dish.

turkish-recipes-dolmaHeat some olive oil in a cooking pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and pine nuts and cook until onion softens and pine nuts slightly brown. Add the rice and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the whole lot covered until rice is tender (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Stir in the cumin, allspice and tomato pulp. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste.

Fill  the tomato shells with the rice mixture and put the tomato caps on top. Pour over vegetable stock and cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.