A Turkish Family Breakfast: Menemen

I have promised a Turkish 101 on this blog and I have been delayed with our food challenges so at last, here is a classical Turkish dish: Menemen!

I have actually seen the same dish or very similar ones in other countries’ family cuisine. Huevos rancheros, for instance, is the Mexican farm tradition. Melemeni, or strapatsada is the Greek version, although I should say we share a lot of or food culture with the Greeks so it is quite normal. Shakshouka is the version you can find in middle eastern countries, however I should precise here that in Turkey we have another dish called şakşuka, which is eggplant based and without eggs so let’s not confuse them.

In Turkey, meneman is usually a breakfast dish. However, as it is low cost and very easy to prepare it is also great as a warm meal any time of the day.

Some claim that there is a debate whether you can put onions in menemen or not. I do not even accept the existence of such a debate. Menemen needs onions. Period.

In fact, you can find lots of menemen styles: chunky ones (just like I love), scrambled ones, juicy ones, sucuk (spicy sausage a bit like chorizo) added ones, kaşar (Turkish cheese a bit between commercial low quality mozzarella and a less sweet emmentale) added ones… Also you can choose the eggs to be mixed (like Alp does, see the left side of the picture), or leave the egg whole and the yolk runny (like I love, see the right side of the picture. As we both love the same things but never agree on how we want them to be, we usually make one pan two styles, and it works well for us!

Alright here is the recipe!

Dice an onion (or use frozen like I do a lot of time). Use 5-6 green peppers (Turkish peppers if you can find) the green pepper should be a bit chilly. If not, use bell peppers and add dried red chilly pepper flakes. If in season, dice 3 large tomatoes. If not in season, use canned diced tomatoes. Here I used my aunt’s conserved tomato purée, but as I like my menemen chunky, I added a few cherry tomatoes.
Choose a good olive oil and heat it in your pan.
Put the onions and green peppers in the pan.
Cover and let cook on low heat. This way the menemen will be more juicy.
They are done when the onions are transparent and all is a bit softened, but not too much.
Add your tomatoes and cover to cook. If you want it to be less juicy, do not cover here. Season with salt, pepper and chilli according to your taste.
Tomatoes need to soften a bit, but they should not melt completely.
Add your eggs. If you want runny yolks leave them whole and cover the pan. Cook on low heat. If you want a scrambled egg, you can either cover or leave it uncovered. Left eggs are mixed with the others while right eggs are whole. Season the eggs with salt, pepper and chilly, to your taste.
And this is how it should look like!

Gross PS: If you need to pretend vomit for a joke, you can use a well scrambled menemen.

2 Replies to "A Turkish Family Breakfast: Menemen"

  • comment-avatar
    Melis Kızıltan Şubat 8, 2019 (17:38)

    I’m going to be very controversial and declare I despise onions in Menemen. There I said it.

    • comment-avatar
      Ürün Şubat 26, 2019 (07:27)

      And I will probably delete your comment, ha ha!

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