Cagla Asi – Fresh Green Almond Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 kg mutton meat, diced
  • 1 cup cooked chick-peas
  • 750 gr. fresh green almonds, split in two and seeds removed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 big size chopped dried onion
  • 3 cups concentrate yoğurt
  • 1 table spoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • 100gr. butter
  • 1 dessert spoon hasbir

Directions

(1) Put meat in a large saucepan and add water doubling the meat. Bring to boil. Remove froth with a skimmer. Add vvater if necessary.

(2) Add chopped onion

, salt and pepper.

(3) When meat is tender, add split fresh green almonds and cooked chick peas. Cook them till fresh green almonds are tender and soft, which is 10-15 minutes further, depending upon texture of the almonds.

(4) In other saucepan combine yogurt, flour and egg. Put the mixture on reduced heat, stirring constantly while boiling, otherwise the mixture will curdle. Pour the mixture in other saucepan where meat stew is cooked. Return to heat for 2-3 seconds and remove from heat.

(5) Melt some butter in a small pan. Heat until foam subsides and hasbir. Stir and remove from heat, take aside.

(6) Transfer the meal onto a serving dish. Garnish it with stili hot butter-hasbir sauce.

(1) In original recipes, housewives used meat with bones. This comes from the fact that meat boiled with bones gives the meal a thicker and jelly-like texture.

(2) In old times fresh green almonds were boiled separately and its boiling stock was used to dilute yoghurt-flour and egg sauce. So particular sour taste of the stock was preserved.

(3) How to prepare concentrated yoghurt: Put yoghurt on a clean cloth over a strain staying on a big bowl. Leave it overnight. All the water will go through the strain and remaining is the concentrated yoghurt.

(4) Hasbir-lt is locally grown and renown spice of Gaziantep region. Itz is locally considered as fake saffron. It has the color of saffron. It gives flavor, colour and odour to the food. Since saffron is very expensive to find, hasbir replaces it in stews.

(5) One can use cooked chich-peas in cans or chick-peas can be cooked separately.

This dish can be consumed with rice or cracked wheat (bulgur pilâvı) which is very popular among people of Gaziantep.

Feyzi HALICI

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