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An olive oil dressed salad of tomato, pepper, onion and parsley with 'kesik' or 'lor' cheese curd. A speciality of Aegean cuisine and feature heavily on Aydın's breakfast and picnic tables.

Çingene pılavı, pronounced 'ChinGeneh' or 'jingen' if your Aydunlı, translates literally as Gypsy pilaf/rice but contains no grains at all!

Confounding not just when you first come across it but every time you have it, which if you live in Aydın is almost every week of the summer month.

Two bowls of vibrant red and green salad with cottage cheese mixed in. Basket of bread to the side and red gypsy scarf to left.

I've asked several people, 1. why gipsy and 2. why pilaf?! and to date not one person has been able to give an explanation, or I should ask care much about it. It's just a salad that's been on their table every year since day dot.

Probably because it's so darn easy to pull together and possibly because it's a fabulous way to use up the by-products of butter, yoghurt or cheese making.

 

 

The feature ingredient of Aydın's Gypsy salad is (usually) kesik but can be made from lor or çökolek.

Kesik, which means cut is yoghurt cheese. The yoghurt is literally cut into small curds by using an acid such as lemon or vinegar and then placed in cheesecloth to sperate it.

It's a light almost fluffy cheese with a sour taste.

Some people use çökelek a curd made from either buttermilk, ayran or the whey of yoghurt in their salad and some a whole milk/whey version.

I personally don't like kesik cheese and we always make two with mine made from either from homemade lor (Homemade Lor Peyniri / Turkish Cheese Curd recipe) or çökelek from my favourite peynirci.

Birds eye view of two bowls of vibrant red and green salad with cottage cheese mixed in. Basket of bread to the side and red gypsy scarf to left.

Pulling together the salad is ridiculously easy and has little ingredients, in-season tomato and green peppers are a must for the best flavour and onion, which can be spring or white and plenty of flat-leaf parsley.

They're simply chopped up and mixed together with the cheese and plenty of good quality olive oil.

If your using shop-bought cheese, check out if it's salted or not, it likely won't be if it's kesik from the market, or if it's 'tatlı' (sweet) lor.

If it is salted you won't need to add any extra

 

If you don't have access to those cheeses, I'm sure a cottage cheese, ricotta or even a crumbling of feta would work just as great.

Need more Lor ideas? Check out 5 Ways With Lor.

 

 

'Gypsy' Turkish Cheese Salad Çingene pilavı

An olive oil dressed salad of tomato, pepper, onion and parsley with 'kesik' or 'lor' cheese curd. A speciality of Aegean cuisine and feature heavily on Aydın's breakfast and picnic tables.

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Category: Mezes & Appetizers Breakfast Dishes Salads & Light Bites
Seasons
Cuisine Type Turkish

Ingredients

Aydın Cheese Salad

4 Large Long green peppers 'Sivri biber'
2 Small Tomatoes
1 White onion
50 Millimeter Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Handful Fresh flat leaf parsley
150 Grams Turkish cheese curd 'Kesik' / 'Çökolek' /'Lor'
1/4 Teaspoon Salt*

'Gypsy' Turkish Cheese Salad Çingene pilavı Directions

  1. Peel and chop the tomatoes and onion into small cubes.
  2. Cut the peppers into bite-size rounds and finely chop the parsley.
  3. Mİx the ingredients together with the salt if using and add in the cheese.
  4. Drizzle on the olive oil and use a wooden spoon to tease the ingredients together with the salt with pull out the juices from the vegetables.
  5. Serve as part of a breakfast spread or alongside other dishes.

Recipe notes

  • Traditional keşik is the usual cheese found in this Aydun speciality salad, but Çökelek and lor is also used.

 

  • Keşik is a cheese curd made from yoghurt, usually, it's made at home but can be bought in the local market from some of the 'aunts'

 

  • Çökelek is made from either buttermilk, ayran (Turkish yoghurt drink), or yoghurt whey.

 

 

  • The names are also interchangeable but have distinct tastes.

 

  • Salt should only be used if using an unsalted version cheese.

 

  • Alternatively, cottage cheese or ricotta could be used.

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