Classical Turkish cooking with Fatma Barut
Turkish-born Fatma and her restaurateur son Kemal share some secrets from the Barut family kitchen in the first
Among the most valuable items Fatma Barut brought with her to Melbourne when she migrated from Beypazari in Turkey in the 1970s were her mother’s generations-old recipes. Almost 50 years later, her son Kemal continues to proudly fly the Turkish culinary flag at his highly regarded restaurants, Lezzet and Tulum.
Kemal says some of his earliest memories are of watching his mum make traditional Turkish bread and delicious white cheeses from scratch in their Richmond home. “I also vividly remember the pomegranate lollipops she used to make for us kids, having grown up with an abundance of pomegranates in Turkey herself,” he recalls. “She’d remove the seeds, add some sugar to the juice and then pour it into little
From early on, explains Kemal, Fatma used food to celebrate and teach others about Turkish-Australian culture. When major surgery forced her to have some time away from the kitchen, she encouraged the young chef-to-be to try his hand at basic dishes for the family table and sparked what would become a career passion for Anatolian cuisine.
By the time he left school to work in restaurants, Kemal had spent hundreds of hours in the kitchen quizzing Fatma about the food traditions and cooking techniques of her homeland. While Fatma was a hands-on member of the kitchen team in his first restaurant, he says she’s now more like a celebrity consultant. “Now when she comes in it is to sit, talk and have coffee with the chefs rather than cook herself; she’s basically mum to the whole team,” he explains.
Authenticity of flavour and the sensory experience associated with home cooking is now central to Kemal’s menu planning. He says: “If you make a bread that reminds people of their mother baking bread, it takes them back to a time when they had no responsibilities or cares, and those memories can be priceless.”
Though her five children no longer live at home, Fatma still makes sure to keep the fridge and pantry
When preparing these
Fatma’s dolma recipe
First, make the spicy rice filling:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice (washed and drained)
2 chopped white onions
1 tbsp mint (fresh or dried)
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the rice and coat with oil. Add the onion and cook until brown. Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients and fry gently. Add one cup of water, then cover with a lid until cooked.
Prepare and roll the leaves:
50 preserved grapevine leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Lemon slices to garnish
Wash the leaves in water and remove the stems. Place a leaf on a flat surface and place one teaspoon of rice mixture in the
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