Saturday, December 10, 2011

Helîma Ardan (Kurdish Roux)

Another simple, tasty, and practical recipe for everyone, and another new ‘hello’. Before the recipe itself, I’d like to touch on a social problem that has, yes, driven me nuts my entire existence, but that really reached a new peak this week.
Last Friday, we went to watch Çağan Irmak’s ‘My Grandfather’s People (Dedemin Insanları) and then this Wednesday afternoon Yüksel Aksu’s ‘Entelköy Efeköy’eKarşı’ (roughly translated, the Fancypants Village Against the Roughneck Village’). Jeff was on my left on Friday. On his left was some guy with an iPhone which he kept jabbing his fat finger into--I’m not exaggerating--every five seconds for the first ten minutes of the movie, causing light to spill out of it that not only blinded and distracted us but succeeded in illuminating the entire theater; who, after I warned him, gawked at me with bulging eyes like some creature from Avatar come to life, his lower jaw hanging so low it nearly dragged the floor. Finally, he stopped playing with that phone.
As for Wednesday, there four young twenty somethings sitting on my right—two guys and two girls. The one right next to me, as soon as the film started, rammed his elbow into my coffee and spilled it all over me. Without so much as an excuse me, he left—to take off his sweater I suppose. Then, when he got back, the four of them started bellowing together—chit chatting in voices loud enough to echo throughout the entire theater. ‘Could you please lower your voices?’ I asked. They prattled on for about a minute more before finally shutting up. But the fun wasn’t over yet. The guy on my right, whenever there was the most basic, innocuous slightly erotic scene in the movie—would ram his face into his knees and rock back and forth so that he butted his head into the seat in front of him. The girl next to him had a plastic water bottle that she kept squeezing making all sorts of annoying popping and crackling sounds.
If I’d had a camera I could have made some kind of film out of these two little scenes no doubt.
I guess I’ve been letting all this build up!! Getting it off my chest makes me feel a lot calmer!
Enough venting. Let’s get to the recipes. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, our ingredients.

Helîma Ardan from Bingöl
(Kurdish Roux)
Ingredients, serves 6
     ·         6 ½  cups of water (1.5 litre)
     ·         4 heaping tablespoons of flour (100 g)
     ·         1/4 cups vegetable oil (50 g)
     ·         4 match-box sized chunks of kavurma * (100 g)
     ·         1 medium sized onion (between 150-200 g)
     ·         1 ½  teaspoon salt (15 g)
     ·         1 teaspoon red pepper

The Preparation:
1.   Put half the water in a deep pot and slowly sprinkle the flour over the surface, whipping lightly with a whisk. Take care not to leave any lumps. When the flour is well blended, add the rest of the water and the salt.
2. Bring this mixture to a boil over a high flame (takes about ten minutes) and then cook over a medium flame for another ten minutes. Stir constantly, making sure not to let anything settle on the bottom.
3.  When the flour-salt-water mixture starts to boil, in a separate pan, fry the onions in the oil until they are transparent.
4. Cut the kavurma into small cubes and add to the onions, cooking for about two minutes more.
5. Once the flour-salt-water mixture has finished cooking (the 20 minutes mentioned in steps 1 and 2), add the onion-meat-oil mixture and stir. Sprinkle the red pepper over the top. Cook for about another five minutes, stirring constantly. Enjoy!

We eat this like a soup, but in the West, you could also try it as a gravy.

Noşi Can Be (Bon Appetit)!

*I’ll discuss how to make kavurma in a later blog. If it proves hard to find, you can make this without kavurma, following the same procedure, but I assure you, you’ll be missing something.

*kavurma is a kind of dried lamb used by Kurds in Eastern Turkey—people in the west can substitute ground meat. Corned beef could work as well.


  1. Interesting recipe. I have never tasted kavurma but my grandmother used to make Kalya (kaliya). It is a preserved meat made by cooking in a large amount of fat until all the moisture has evaporated. Supposedly this can be kept at room temperatura for months at a time. Very happy to have found a Kurdish food blog.

  2. Hello, is the kavurma the same as the one's i've tasted in istanbul? I remember it being cold and fatty and absolutely delicious.