Are you just starting out in Turkish cuisine? Then I have the perfect recipe for you. "Zeytinyagli biber dolmasi" (zay-TEEN'-yah-luh bee-BEYR' dole-MAH'-suh), or peppers stuffed with rice, pine nuts and currants and cooked in olive oil, is one of the easiest Turkish recipes to start with.
All you need are a dozen fresh, young green peppers, and all the fragrant ingredients that go into classic "dolma" filling and you'll be well on your way to becoming an avid Turkish cook.
The recipe is almost foolproof because the peppers make perfect cups for stuffing. If you've made stuffed peppers before, it will be even easier.
The difference is in the filling. Turkish vegetarian stuffed peppers contain sweeter rather than savory ingredients like currants, raisins, cinnamon and allspice. This helps to counteract the bitterness of the green pepper that can be overpowering in other pepper dishes.
Make sure you choose sweet, rather than hot peppers, that are small and have very thin skin. You can also try mixing different peppers together for a colorful twist on this common Turkish side dish.
Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2013