Spicy Ezme from Istanbul Cult Recipes

In Istanbul Cult Recipes, Pomme Larmoyer explores the iconic dishes from the legendary city that sits in a unique position between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

We’ve chosen a delightful recipe to share that will spice up your cooking.

‘Spicy paste’ – acılı ezme 

A very common version of a rather spicy meze is ezme, a very, very finely chopped salad. The smoother paste version of this dish calls for each ingredient to be cut into very small pieces. The pul biber found in this recipe, often used to season dishes in Turkey, is made from chillies that have had their stems and seeds removed, before being sun-dried, then crushed. For a variation, try piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper), which is produced in the Basque region of France, in place of the pul biber.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Resting time: 1 hour

Serves 4


1 red onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon sumac

½ teaspoon salt

2 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced

1 long green capsicum (pepper), seeded and diced

1 green chilli, seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 large handfuls fl at-leaf (Italian) parsley, very fi nely chopped

a few mint sprigs, very fi nely chopped

1 tablespoon tatlı biber salcası (mild Turkish chilli paste) (see note)

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (available from Turkish or other Middle Eastern food shops, some supermarkets and online)

pul biber (Aleppo pepper) or other chilli flakes (see note)

Juice of ½ lemon

60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

1 handful chopped walnuts, to serve


Combine the onion, sumac and salt in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, capsicum, green chilli, garlic and herbs. In another, small bowl, mix together the chilli paste, pomegranate molasses, a pinch of chilli flakes, a little freshly ground black pepper, the lemon juice and olive oil. Add to the contents of the first bowl, and stir through. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Scatter over the walnuts, and serve with slices of dry toasted bread.


Biber salcası, a thick, red paste, is widely used in Turkish cooking. Made from chillies or capsicums (peppers), or both, from which the stems and seeds have been removed, before being dried in the sun, it comes in two basic variations: (very) hot (acı biber salcası) or mild (tatlı biber salcası). You can buy it from Turkish or other Middle Eastern food shops.

Pul biber is the Turkish term for chilli flakes. Also known as Aleppo pepper, its sweetness and heat may vary. More moist than other chilli flakes, it is made from semi-dried and deseeded chillies. Look for it in Turkish or other Middle Eastern food shops, or substitute with other chilli flakes to taste.




Pomme Larmoyer cook authorPomme Larmoyer is a food writer, editor and traveler. She believes you can learn everything you need to know about a country from its kitchens and enjoys talking with other people from other cultures about their style of food.

Author: Pomme Larmoyer

Category: Lifestyle, Sport & leisure

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781922616999

RRP: $29.99

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