I’ve never been to Turkey, barring a brief stopover at Istanbul airport when I was on my way to Paris last year, but I can’t get enough of this Turkish street food snack called ‘Gozleme’. Think of it as a ‘roomali roti’ wrap that’s stuffed with a filling of sautéed greens and cheese of your choice. A mincemeat version would taste great too and you can easily substitute the cheese and the greens with it. I first caught a glimpse of gozleme on MasterChef Australia and have been experimenting with different kinds of dough – all-purpose flour + water / yogurt / yeast. It’s probably the same sort of differences you’ll find when making dough for ‘naan’, but unlike naan, the dough is rolled out much thinner, which is why I’ve compared it to a ‘roomali roti’. If you’ve never used yogurt to make a dough, then you’re in for a surprise, mixing the two feels like playing with clouds and makes for an amazingly pliable dough that’s best eaten when the gozleme are fresh off the ‘tava’, but re-heat well too.
I haven’t found Gozleme anywhere in Mumbai, and won’t go as far to say that it isn’t available in India at all, but going by how close it is to our cooking and ingredients, I’m really surprised it hasn’t caught on here. Usually, spinach and feta or halloumi are paired together for the vegetarian filling, but I happened to stumble upon some colourful Swiss chard (stunning colours, right?) in the market and decided to use that instead. For the cheese, I opted for my homemade ricotta and added just half a teaspoon of za’atar (a Middle-Eastern spice and herb blend) to the milk along with the salt before bringing it to a boil. Nature’s Basket and Foodhall are always reliable places to find Swiss Chard and za’atar, but feel free to look up Pali Naka Market if you are in Mumbai (you can contact Manohar at Pali Naka for Swiss chard – 022-26400268). This recipe uses both, the leaves and the colourful stems (I hate throwing them away), that are generously peppered and compliment the slight zestiness of the za’atar perfectly!
Agreed that this is technically snack food in Turkey, but we’ve been pairing it with soups like this Zucchini Soup and Fennel Soup to make a meal of it. It’s our new favourite meal that feels new and familiar at the same time. The yeasted dough makes for a slightly ‘bready’ gozleme, one that in my opinion, works better with the meat version, so I’m going to wait to share that with you. Until then, enjoy this one and feel free to use spinach if you can’t find Swiss chard!