Turkish Eggs Menemen
2 recipes, 3 results, from cook to chef
tools, tips, and how to cook by eye !
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Each time I made this it became my new favourite , so it´s a winner every time and I´m going to keep making more. The first recipe came straight from a Turkish friend ( you know who you are 😉 The second from a great chef who also got a recipe directly from a Turkish man !
There´s so different and both delicious. I´m glad I tried the Diana Henry one first as otherwise I may not have dared, and it´s worth it. It makes a great filling lunch too. I made the family recipe second and was so thrilled with it because it felt like a ´new ´taste I´d discovered. The secret to that I think is the slow cooking, the mashing of the veg, and the melted feta mixed in.
Do let me know which one you prefer in the comments, or if you have your own preferred recipe too.
recipe 1. eggs menemen Family RECIPE
I can´t explain how different this was to the first recipe I tried. Everything worked so well together, it tasted nore Turkish somehow, and I had never thought to have Feta melted into the dish. I´m used to crumbling it on top. This was a new experience and I´m converted !
I will try it without the feta too to see what it´s like. I´ve seen other versions of Turkish eggs so this may just the beginning. However, I could also say that this family recipe that was kindly shared with me is totally the beginning and the end !
I loved it.
For 1 very hungry athlete !
Or, perhaps 2 people with toast or pitta bread
– 4 tomatoes
Parsley ( to garnish; optional)
Salt, pepper and red pepper to taste
(So funny, I knew eggs menemen had a little heat so I though the chili was omitted in error as it´s something they add with the salt and pepper anyway. So I had to ask, ¨what are the spices referred to in the method below¨. and ´red pepper´ was the answer. So it´s hot red pepper, aka chili.
I added 3-4 dashes cayenne powder when it came to the part – add spices.
Peel the tomatoes and chop them finely.
Finely chop the pepper.
In a pan/ pot you can cover, drizzle some olive oil and roast the pepper on medium heat.
As the pepper starts changing colour, add the tomatoes.
Lower the heat, add the spices and put lid on top. Let it cook for about 5-10mins. Here I use a potato masher to help the pepper and tomatoes release all their juices and flavours.
Here I finely chop the feta and add it to the pot. It goes really well with all the ingredients and I put less salt into it.
After you mix everything well and the juice of the tomatoes start to reduce, crack the eggs straight into the pot. Mix everything well, keep stirring and let it cook slowly for a few minutes until it´s ready.
You can garnish with some fresh parsley. Enjoy 🙂
directly from grandma
¨ Make sure the ingredients are finely chopped and slow cook everything.¨
¨Give all the ingredients time to release their flavours on low heat.¨
By the way, did you know that ´Anne ´ means mother in Turkish, and ´Baba´ means father. So the two grandmothers are called Anneanne and Babaanne. So cute ! I love learning little trinkets from the language where the dish is made.
Do listen to Grandma, I´ve tried it both ways and of course she is right. I´d say the pepper needs to be soft also before adding the tomatoes, then cook down for a while.
And don´t forget to mush them a bit to mix the pepper and tomato taste – I´ve had this both ways and mushing definitely makes all the difference here.
You don´t need much for this. A chopping board and big chopping knife, a frying pan with a lid, a spatula for stirring, and perhaps a potato masher. But I don´t have one in my new simple life – that´s a big tool to carry around in a suitcase for just for one job, and the Spanish obviously don´t use them much as my landlady is obviously a keen cook and has left us almost every other tool known to man ! So I use the Bamix hand blender with the flat whisk disk with holes in it to do the bashing mashing, or in this case, I only needed the spatula to mash a bit.
I adore chopping, if I have time. I find it so therapeutic and I love using a very large chef´s knife. In fact I only ever need 2 knives. You can see them here in this list of what we love to use.
However, don´t forget that the biggest and best tools are … your senses. Particularly your eyes.
2. Cooking by eye
My Turkish friend just sent me this picture below, of the one he made for himself today, so the bar is set high ! In Turkey they cook by eye. ( In Ireland, we used to say ´make sure your eye isn´t bigger than your tummy´ which is easy to do if you´re feeling too hungry when you cook. So when you´re cooking by eye, be careful not to over-estimated the quantities;)
Apparently, using measures in oz / grams etc is not traditional at all in Turkey . We found the same, in our hotel cooking school in Morocco. Chef would just say a spoon full or a glass of. And the spoon or the glass could vary, you just knew by eye what would work, what was needed, or what was preferred by the chef.
You´ll have noticed in the first menemen recipe that some ingredients were not detailed in quantity – that´s because you´re just meant to add by eye ! I love it, as that´s the way I like to cook too when I can ( see my prep pic below). But you do need a certain confidence about the style of cooking in the first place… people cooking their local cuisine tend to cook more by eye than from a recipe. With practice, you get used to the quantities of each ingredient that just looks or feels right for a recipe.
I used half a left over red pepper chopped finely. I tend to do prep like this in little bowls for everything. It shows me what we are going to be eating, and if it looks about right for however many people I´m cooking for. I like to also make sure we´re getting a good balance of foods. By the way, in my haste to avoid a mosquito infestation here on the island this week, I dashed out to the garden and grabbed a handful of what I thought was parsley. It was coriander. I love both , or even as a mix as we used to do in Moroccan cooking. So the cilantro was delicious.
This is also perhaps why recipes in cookbooks often have errors. Chef´s know what they´re doing, so it´s a real pain for a chef to have to detail everything in a recipe, after the event. The Chef I´m going to introduce you to in section 3 here ( Diana Henry) does the opposite in my view. She provides such comprehensive detail about every aspect of cooking her recipe that it makes it such a pleasurable breeze cooking with her guiding you all the way.
variations and substitutes
I used coriander leaf / cilantro in mine instead of parsley, and cayenne pepper instead of Aleppo or something more appropriate.
My friend´s has extra feta on top as he just felt it needed it today in order to add more saltiness, and chives on top as that´s what he had. So be inspired and create these and your own too.
Do you cook by eye, or do you always measure out ? I´d love to know so do add some comments at the bottom.
Sous vide and cooking by eye are at the opposite ends of the spectrum and I love both. Contrasts make me tick !
3. eggs menemeN by chef Diana Henry
I have to say I adored this when I made it too. It has many more veggies in it and so it makes a more substantial meal. It´s from her book Simple. I got it when on sale on Amazon. ( Click here to see my post on how I do that ! ) I also think I remember Diana Henry saying this was her second recipe too, that she had on a Turkish holiday. Until the, like me, she had only heard of eggs menemen with baked eggs.
For 3-4 people
1 big leek, sliced
1 red & 1 green pepper deseeded & finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
5 big eggs, beaten
salt, pepper, pinch chili flakes or 0.5 teaspoon cayenne powder
Prepare all the ingredients… follow the pictures !
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan and add the leek & peppers.
Reduce the heat as they start to colour and soften, add the garlic, chili & cook for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook till they´re soft and moisture mostly evaporated ( that´s key!!!)
Season the eggs and add and cook, stirring all the while.
chopped dill, coriander, parsley
Which recipe would you choose to cook first.
If you´re also hooked on eggs this winter, check out some of my other egg based recipes below. Now you know the secret of the Salmorejo soup !
Click over for the recipe.
Perfect Spanish Tortilla
Click over for the recipe.
Mango Salmorejo soup
Not overly fruity at all, and no wonder it´s so filling !
Click over for the recipe.