Thracian Roasted Eggplant Salad (Tunçilik)




















Roasted eggplant salads are very common in Thrace, where I come from, during the summer. Thrace (Trakya in Turkish) is the northwestern corner or the European part of Turkey. Thrace is a historical and geographical region that spreads over Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The Turkish part is the Eastern Thrace. Eastern Thrace, in years, witnessed major waves of migration--like the two big ones after the Ottoman-Russian war and the Lausanne Treaty--which created the marvelous ethnic, cultural, and culinary mosaic of the region today.

My favorite jewel of this culinary mosaic, Tunçilik, is one of the many different versions of roasted eggplant salad or meze (=appetizer) that's made in the region. Tunçilik is a specialty of the southwestern part of Turkish Thrace around Tekirdağ.



















for 6 people
4 eggplants
5-6 big red peppers or banana peppers
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6-7 tbsp of vinegar
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
There's nothing written in stone. You can use more or less of everything. Whatever you do, make sure you use all the ingredients. There's no such thing as Tunçilik without parsley, peppers, or tomatoes, or vinegar. Make it less vinegary or more oily or peppery, but have all the ingredients.
















-Roast eggplants and peppers on a grill, or in oven at 450F. Roast tomatoes along with eggplants and peppers for 4-5 minutes.
-Let them cool first. Then peel eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. And seed them.
-Chopped them all finely.
-In a bowl mix crushed garlic, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and parsley.
-In a small bowl, mix vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Add this on vegetables.
-Mix well. Taste. If you think you can handle a little more garlic and vinegar, do not hesitate to add more.
-Tunçilik goes well with red meat or poultry, especially if they're grilled. And do not forget to soak the juice with fresh bread.

One of the readers of the blog, Tash, has made some wonderful suggestions to perfect this recipe (also see Tash' comment below). I'd like to share them with you:
- After removing the roasted eggplants from the hot ashes, they are cut length wise, salted and kept vertically in a colander for a few minutes to drain. This I am told drains the bitter taste out of eggplants and removes excess moisture for a more consistent texture in the mix. 
-Roasted tomatoes and peppers are not always peeled to add texture and smokier taste to the mix. Just brush off the ashes. 
-If available Tahini and little lemon juice with a little roasted garlic was sometimes added to the mix.
-I also noticed that lemon juice was omitted if the roasted tomatoes were in the mix. 
-Mixing in fresh kaymak (solidified heavy cream) to the basic mix was my favorite version.






















26 comments:

  1. Wow, what a completely fabulous recipe for this time of year. It sounds just delicious. I'm loving having eggplant in my garden this year.

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  2. dear burcu,

    i am a big fan of your blog. your recipes are quite clear and the pictures are great. please keep writing, never think of stopping!

    best wishes from a turkish friend who also lives abroad..

    mahir

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  3. Kalyn, I have so many great eggplant recipes, you wouldn't believe. And most south beach friendly :)

    Thanks, Mahir! As long as there are more Turkish recipes and almost Turkish ones, I won't stop!

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  4. Do you prefer one particular type of vinegar for this recipe? It looks and sounds perfect, and there are so many varieties of eggplant in the market right now. I'm looking forward to trying this.

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  5. Lydia, in Turkey we usually make this with red wine or apple vinegar, because there are the most common ones in stores. I made this one with rice vinegar, and it was still delicious. So I guess it doesn't matter what type of vinegar you use.

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  6. This looks fabulous!

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  7. Burcu bu ismi hic duymamistim. Demek patlican salatasina siz tuncilik diyorsunuz, yeni birsey ögrendim.
    Sevgiler

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  8. Thanks, Simona.

    Dilek, Trakya'da bir kac cesit kozlenmis patlican salatasi var (mamzana, kopoglu, tuncilik, vs). Kiminde yogurt var, kiminde domates falan. Tuncilik ise Selanik macirlarinca yapilan ve de benim simdiye kadar gordugum sadece onlar tarafindan bu adla bilenen bir salata.

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  9. Looks good! So do you just eat it plain, or is it more like a dip? i know you said to use bread to sop it up...

    Beautiful pictures too.

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  10. Anonymous10:32 PM

    That's a wonderful recipe!!!
    Just one thing that I need to verify - for how long do you roast the vegetables? You wrote for 4-5 minutes. Did you mean - 45 minutes?
    Also, do you put the tomatoes from the very beginning, with eggplants and peppers?

    Thanks!

    Ilana

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  11. What a wonderful use for all the fresh produce in the markets right now. If I ca't come to Turkey I can journey through your blog and taste the wonderful foods and culture.

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  12. Katerina: it's served as a salad or side dish. It's good with bread or red meat, but we don't eat like a dip.

    Ilana: you roast eggplants and peppers until they're soft. But you roast tomatoes only for 4-5 minutes. You roast tomatoes just because it's easier to peel them when they're roasted for a bit.

    Thanks, Valli!

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  13. Hi Burcu,

    this is a grrrrreat salad. I cant wait to try it. Roasted veggies and vinegar has always gone together very well. try roasting garlic, too.. very yummy and crispy :)

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  14. kitekato11:13 PM

    This is Yummmy!
    I tried it last week with grilled lamb chops, and then had the left overs for lunch a couple of days later with chickpeas, celery, olives and flaked, baked salmon fillet (another left over!)
    Got the tick of approval from husband also.

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  15. Patlıcan salatasına bayılırım ellerine sağlık.Hem çok sağlıklı hem çok şık görünüyor..
    sevgiler...

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  16. Melis1:57 PM

    This was a wonderful salad. I used red wine vinegar and can't wait to make it again.

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  17. Jay B.2:03 PM

    I just made this and it's delicious! I think I didn't have enough eggplant, though. Next time I will make it, it will be even tastier! Thank you for this recipe.

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  18. Merhaba , im great fan of Turkish food, turkish lokum, turish People and Turkey as whole, im very happy to find turkish recipe in english how can i thank you Allah razi-olsun, can u please tell me about a patlican recipe where it is fried then put in dish then friend tomatoes and potatoes are put over it with some dried herbs and some time yogurt, great work my prayers r with u.

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  19. Lovely salad with the following implementation and modification

    At 225C, roast eggplant with plenty of olive oil for 30+15 minutes, peppers for 20+10 minutes and tomatoes for 20 minutes on an aluminum foil tray. This helps the vegetables get crispy from the air rather than metal tray.

    Then since I ran out of vinegar, borrow 5cl of the 2000 Dassault from the decanter. Nobody noticed there was only 14cl in the glasses at the end. Some even mentioned how well it complimented the red wine ...

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  20. OMG! This looks mouth-tastic!!! I want it right now, eggplant is so delicious and I haven't had it in forever. I am totally going to go stalk the rest of your web site! :P

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  21. I love this recipe. I have traveled to Turkey quite a bit and when I crave this dish I always use this recipe. Yum.

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  22. I have just discovered your fantastic blog and I have been on it for hours enjoying every page immensely... I should really get back to work.

    I am originally from Turkey(interior Egean region) and now live in Canada. This roasted garden vegetable dish you have described has always been my favorite summer dish.

    As a child I was sent by my parents to spend my summer vacations with my grandmother in our village. My only responsibility was to pick grapes from our vineyard and send them on a bus to my family in the city a few times a week.

    Every few days my grand mother and other elder ladies of the neighbourhood had gathered under a large mulberry tree to make flat bread (yufka)and half-moon boreks stuffed with grated zucchini and green onions, spinach and cheese and even egg and spicy meat confite (bukme) on a round griddle.

    Fuel used for the fire to bake the bread of course was dried wheat straw as wood and coal was scarce and there was no electricity (yes, am old).
    At the end of each session they would bury freshly picked eggplants, peppers, tomatoes in the hot ashes of the remaining fire for roasting.
    I would be rewarded with the stem ends of the roasted egg plants with a little salt for just watching them perform this ritual.


    Warm salads made with these roasted smoky vegetables, little chopped red onions, parsley and a little lemon juice and fresh olive oil, scooped up with freshly baked flat bread rolls tested simply devine. I have been trying to duplicate it for over fourty years now.

    Some notes in variations I observed, you might like to try:

    - After removing the roasted eggplants from the hot ashes, they are cut length wise, salted and kept vertically in a colander for a few minutes to drain. This I am told drains the bitter taste out of eggplants and removes excess moisture for a more consistent texture in the mix.

    Roasted tomatoes and peppers are not always peeled to add texture and smokier taste to the mix. Just brush off the ashes.

    If available Tahini and little lemon juice with a little roasted garlic was sometimes added to the mix.

    I also noticed that lemon juice was omitted if the roasted tomatoes were in the mix.

    Mixing in fresh kaymak (solidified heavy cream) to the basic mix was my favorite version.

    Sorry for rambling on for so long... Reading your wonderful blog made me do it.

    Thank you sevgili Burcu with all my heart.

    Tash.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Tash,
      Thank you very much for your lovely words. What a great story about your childhood summers and also wonderful tips about the salad. I am already thinking about where to find kaymak to try with eggplant salad. Fantastic!

      If you don't mind I'd like to share your suggestions in the recipe.

      Delete
    2. By all means, it would be my absolute pleasure to share this in your blog..
      About the kaymak;
      I am sure whipping cream or creme-fresh gently folded in the mixture after it is cooled down a little will do just as well.

      Afiyet olsun.

      Tash.

      Delete
  23. I'm going to try it right now! Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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