When I lived in Turkey, one of my all time favorite breakfast dishes was Menemen, a stew of onions, garlic, peppers, chilies, tomatoes and eggs. If I was preparing Menemen at home, I liked to make it chunky, with large pieces of onions, tomatoes and peppers. Traditionally, the sauce ingredients are stewed together first, and when it has simmered down into a lovely rich texture, the eggs are added on top.
The Turkish family I lived with in Cappadocia would sit on the floor around an intricately designed copper tray table set on a large home-spun wool rug and take turns dipping pieces of freshly baked bread into the communal pot until it was all gone. Accompanied by tulip glasses of sweet Rize Chay and much chatter and laughter, breakfast was a daily family ritual which involved much more than the wonderful food on the table.
When I came to live in Ecuador, even though I love the local Ecuadorian foods – especially here on the north west coast – I believe that variety is also an essential part of good cuisine and healthy eating so I didn’t give up my adoration of Menemen, I just adapted it to the local produce available. Don’t get me wrong, I still make it the traditional way from time to time. But sometimes, I make what I call Ecua-Turko Menemen and I have to say that it totally rocks. The bananas give it a whole new texture and flavor that the Turks have never even imagined.
Banana Menemen Recipe:
1 red onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 hot chili peppers, crushed (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 green plantain bananas, diced
1 cup water
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
4 fresh organic eggs
Saute the onion, garlic, peppers and chili in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, bananas and water and cover the pan.
Simmer 15-20 minutes, checking the water. Add more if necessary, cooking until the sauce is thick but still of pouring consistency. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top of the sauce and mix it in.
Break the eggs over the sauce, but do not mix them in. Cover the pan and cook the eggs to your taste, runny or hard yolks. Serve with fresh bread (I use gluten-free bread) and hot tea.
Buen Provecho and Afiyet Olsun.
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