Almost Turkish Recipes

Cretan Style Zucchini Ribbons with Rice (Girit Usulü Kabak Sıyırma)


This Cretan style zucchini dish/meze is an absolute summer favorite. Cretans create magic with zucchinis and this one is no exception. 

3 medium sized zucchinis, peeled and ribboned. Do not ribbon the soft, seedy inside, just the firm flesh. Save the seedy cores for mucver  (we don't want the skin since it might have a different cooking time compared to the flesh of the zucchini)  

1/4 cup baldo, arborio, if not jasmine rice, soaked in hot water for at least 20 minutes

3-4 green onions, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

~1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

~1/4 or less fresh mint, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil 

juice of one lemon


 -Put 1/4 cup of rice i hot water to soak.

-Peel and ribbon the zucchini. Sprinkle some salt on top and leave to rest. 

-In a pot heat the half of the olive oil, ~1/4 cup, and add the green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

-Rinse the rice after at least 20 minutes in hot water, and add to the pot. 

It is important to soak the rice in hot water, DO NOT skip this step. We need to cut the cooking time for rice so the zucchini doesn't melt away while rice is cooking. 

-Add garlic with the rice. 

-Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. 

-Add 1/2 cup of water and let cook covered on low to medium for ~10 minutes. Check every now and then for water. 

-After 10 minutes, the rice should be half way cooked. Add zucchini ribbons, lemon juice and some salt. Stir and cook for another 10 minutes covered. No extra water needed since the zucchini will release some of its own.

-After ten minutes the both the rice and zucchini will be cooked. We don't want zucchini to be too soft. 

-Turn it off, add half of dill and mint, stir and let it cool down to room temperature. 

-Serve it on a wide round or oval dish. Pour the rest of the olive oil on top and sprinkle the rest of the fresh herbes. Salt to your taste. It is good at room temperature or cold. It is a great dish for hot summer days but also an excellent meze/side. You can enjoy it with a slice o f good bread or with cold yogurt. Bon appétit! 

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