15 September 2016
This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be looking at lor – Turkey’s answer to ricotta cheese. Drier than its Italian cousin, lor is made from whey after it has been separated from the curd. It’s used in Turkish dishes such as börek or mixed with herbs and nigella seeds as part of a breakfast spread.
It’s peak season for aubergines at the moment and we found that this adaptable vegetable paired excellently with lor cheese. We stuffed some slices of aubergine with the cheese, adding some spinach or sorrel leaves to the parcels to give the lor a bit more oomph. The dish was finished off by submerging the aubergine wraps in a spicy, gingery tomato sauce.
For some reason, this combination of aubergine, white cheese and tomato just works so well.
If you’re having trouble sourcing the lor cheese, it’s dead easy to make yourself from milk or yogurt – here’s some easy-to-follow instructions from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
Two large aubergines cut lengthways into 0.5 cm thick slices (this should yield 8-10 slices)
250 g lor cheese (or ricotta)
Eight-ten sorrel or spinach leaves (one for each aubergine slice)
500 g tomatoes
One medium-sized onion
One or two garlic cloves
3 cm fresh ginger
One teaspoon paprika
One teaspoon chili flakes
One teaspoon turmeric
50 ml olive oil
Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle some salt and black pepper over the slices and bake for 20 minutes or until turning a golden-brown colour in an oven pre-heated to 220°C or gas mark 7.
While the slices are cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the finely chopped onion to the pan along with the minced garlic and ginger.
Cook over a medium heat for ten minutes then stir in the paprika, chili flakes and turmeric. Chop the tomatoes or grate them and pour into the mix. Cook for twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by about half.
Allow the aubergine slices to cool and then make the wraps – put a sorrel or spinach leaf, with the stem removed, and a dollop of lor in the middle of the slice and roll it up.
Pour the sauce into a baking dish and place the aubergine parcels in the spicy sauce. Bake in the oven at 220°C or gas mark 7 for twenty minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
As usual, serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.