Turkish Recipes

Purslane with rice (Pirinçli Semizotu)

Long before Dr. Mehmet Öz, also known as Dr. Oz, on the morning shows on Turkish TV networks and regularly appearing on Oprah to talk about healthy eating habits with an emphasis on purslane (surprisingly high in omega-3s), the weed was common throughout the summer on Turkish tables of dishes and salads. When Dr. Oz's advice on healthy foods piqued interest in Purslane in Turkey, it also caused Purslane prices to inflate. A few summers ago, I was almost insulted by a seller at the farmers' market in my hometown in Turkey when I questioned a sudden rise in Purslane prices, just out of curiosity and not out of reluctance to pay: "Mam, even Dr. Mehmet Öz appreciates Purslane, why don't you go? "I've always had it, and especially now here in the states where it's relatively harder to find. We're lucky enough to find Purslane available at farmers markets here in Northern California. Sometimes it is called the purslane and sometimes it is called "verdolaga" in its Spanish name. Purslane is a weed and can easily grow anywhere in all conditions. If you can get your hands on Purslane seeds, plant them and you won't regret it.

~ 1 pound of purslane (also known as verdolaga)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (
2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tbsp rice or bulgur or quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup of water

Optional

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

or 2 teaspoons of shredded spicy paprika

-Wash purslane well and chop it into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. You don't have to throw away the stems.
– Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.

-If you're spicing up your purslane with mighty jalapenos or other hot peppers, add them now and cook for 1-2 minutes.
-Add Purslane / Verdolaga. Stir a few times until wilted.
– Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and water.
-When it starts to boil add rice (or whatever you are using but make sure it doesn't take too long to cook, like brown rice) and turn the heat on low.
– Cover and simmer until the rice is cooked.
– Serve warm or cold with garlic yogurt (for garlic yogurt, mix 1 chopped garlic clove per 1 cup of yogurt with a dash of salt) on the side.

ps: Unless you are very into leafy green vegetables, there is a big chance you don't like Purslane with its crispy stems and tangy flavor.

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