A couple years ago, I was given the chance to spend a couple weeks in Istanbul, Turkey. I traveled around the area with a few of my family and friends from Syria. We enjoyed the sites, the history and the foods. Since I was the only chef in the group, the restaurant choices were left to me. We tried everything from well-accliamed restaurants to street food. I have to say that the Istanbul food scene did not disappoint. Our visit made me knowledgeable about the Turkish cuisine, until I got The Aegean Flavours cookbook.According to Google, the Aegean Region is located in the west part Turkey, bounded by Aegean Sea from the west, Marmara Region from the north, Mediterranean Region from the south, and the Central Anatolia Region from the east. This location makes the region rich with local vegetables, fruit and seafood.Chef Didem Senol Tiryakioglu covers each area in the Aegean region in the cookbook. It includes appetizers, salads, main dishes and desserts that are unique to each area. The recipes are easy to follow yet unique and inspiring. The photography is so wonderful that it makes this book compete for a spot on your coffee table.Next time I visit Turkey, Chef Didem's restaurant will be on my restaurants to sample.This is a rice pudding recipe that is based on Chef Didem's own recipe. Chef Didem uses mastic which is little hard to find, so I changed the recipe slightly.
Caramelized Rice Puddingserves 61/4 cup short grain rice2 cups water4 cups milk1/2 cup sugar2 tablespoons corn stach1/4 cup cream of rice2 tablespoons chopped candied orange1/4 cup almond slivers1/4 teaspoon rose water-Place the rice and the water in pot, bring to a boil and then cook over low heat until the rice is cooked and mushy.-Add the milk and the sugar except of two tablespoons, stir and bring to a boil.-In a small cup mix corn starch with 1 cup of cold water until the starch is dissolve. Add the cream of rice and stir together. Pour this mixture slowly to the hot milk and stir continuously until the pudding is thicken. Add the candied oranges, the slivered almonds and the rose water.-Spoon the rice pudding into serving cups, sprinkle with the rest of the sugar and broil until golden.