Simple Turkish-style zucchini stew

zucchini stew with rice

We have already mentioned in a few posts that you have to buy vegetables here in Turkey more or less seasonally and regionally. That's why summer is always the big canning season, when everyone prepares their tomatoes, peppers and the like for the winter. There are no imported fruit and vegetables here, with the exception of bananas (most of which are also grown locally). We think that's a good thing - it keeps the ecological footprint smaller and we appreciate the seasonal vegetables more.


I don't think we've ever looked forward to the season of fruit and vegetables as much as we do here. After all, you can get everything more or less all year round in Austria. The selection of vegetables that we get all year round in Turkey is more limited to

  • Onions and potatoes
  • Tomatoes, peppers, herbs and lettuce
  • Zucchinis and eggplants

There were even times when we searched in vain for garlic here - and we live in a busy district in Istanbul. We eventually found it, which was a good thing. It was about our first lasagne after many months in Turkey and finding lasagne sheets in the nearest supermarket. But enough talk, today it's actually about zucchinis.


In Turkey, zucchinis are available in abundance all year round. In contrast to zucchinis in Austria, they are a beautiful bright green. They are then cooked into all kinds of Turkish zucchini recipes, such as mücver (zucchini pancakes), zucchini salad or zucchini dolma. But today we have something heartier for you - a delicious and simple zucchini stew with rice.

zucchini recipe turkish

What goes into the Turkish-style zucchini stew?

This zucchini vegetable stew is really easy to prepare and perfect for a quick meal. It uses typical Turkish ingredients, which you are sure to have at home or can buy around the corner. So this Turkish zucchini recipe doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. We're talking about simple, Turkish home cooking. 


That's why the zucchini stew only contains zucchinis, onions and garlic, tomatoes and peppers, rice and dill. The dill goes perfectly with the zucchinis and spices up the zucchini stew. The rice makes the zucchini vegetables heartier. These Turkish-style zucchinis are very subtle when it comes to spices. 


It is often assumed that there is a lot of seasoning in Turkish cuisine - but this is not the case. Only certain dishes can be a little more unusual. 


The salca (tomato and/or bell pepper paste), onions and garlic are much more important. You'll have a hearty zucchini stew on your plate in no time at all. Add a little yoghurt, perhaps a piece of bread or salad and you're done.


What is this recipe with zucchinis called in Turkish?

If there are no proper names for dishes (such as "Imam Bayildi"), you usually take the main ingredient and add a grammatically adapted "yemek", i.e. "food" or "dish". We would therefore call our Turkish-style zucchini "Kabak Yemeği". Turkish-style zucchini stew is therefore very apt. But now let's get to the recipe!


PS: The Turkish-style zucchini recipe is vegetarian and vegan. 


Kabak Yemegi: Turkish-style zucchini stew recipe

Ingredients (3 portions)

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 green (pointed) bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp rice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp bell pepper paste (alternatively use tomato paste)
  • 400 ml/2 cups water 
  • a handful of dill
  • salt and pepper 
  • Pul Biber for those who like it spicier


Step 1: Chop the onions and fry them in the oil until translucent. Meanwhile, quarter the zucchinis and cut them into thicker pieces. Also chop the peppers and tomatoes.

Step 2: Add the peppers and garlic to the pan. Fry everything a little.

Step 3: Add the paprika paste and stir it in so that it also browns.

Step 4: Add the tomatoes and leave them to soak a little. Then add the zucchinis, chopped dilli and rice. Season everything and add water to the zucchini vegetables.

Step 5: Leave the zucchini stew to cook on a low heat with the lid on until the rice is soft. The zucchini stew should be ready after 15-20 minutes. Serve warm and garnish with dill.

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