Kadin gobegi (ladies' navels)

Yield: 20 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 cups Granulated sugar
1½ cup Water
1 cup Plain flour
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Water
Oil; for shaping and frying
Whipped cream or kaymak (kaymak is clotted cream)
½ Lemon; strained juice only
¼ cup Butter
2 larges Eggs; lightly beaten
⅛ teaspoon Almond essence
¼ cup Blanched pistachio nuts (finely chopped)




The name and finished dish are colourfully Turkish, while the basic dough is very definitely French. Though the ingredient proportions differ from the traditional formula, it is choux pastry nonetheless, prepared in the Turkish manner. In a heavy pan dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil, add lemon juice and boil rapidly, without stirring, for 15 minutes. Leave syrup in pan to cool.

Sift flour and salt onto a square of stiff paper.

In another heavy pan heat water and butter until boiling. Pour in flour all at once, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or balloon whisk. Keep stirring until mixture leaves sides of pan, then cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for further 5 minutes. Remove roux from heat and turn into a bowl. Cool for 2 minutes then gradually beat in eggs. Add almond essence and beat until smooth and satiny.

A balloon whisk will break up lumps, a wooden spoon is better for beating to a smooth finish, so utilize the two for the process.

Oil hands and take pieces of dough the size of a walnut. Roll into smooth balls and place on an oiled tray. Flatten into rounds about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and press oiled forefinger into centre of each to make a hole. Keep hands oiled during shaping so that dough will not stick.

Place enough oil in a large electric frypan to come to a depth of 1 cm (½ inch). Heat until just warm and place half of the prepared gobegi into oil. Increase heat to 200øC (400øF) as soon as they are added. When gobegi rise to the surface and are puffed, turn them over. Fry them for 15 minutes in all, timed from when the gobegi are first placed into pan. Turn frequently during last half of cooking time so that they brown evenly. When cooked, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Put into syrup, turn them and leave for 5 minutes before removing to a plate.

Turn off frypan and allow oil to cool before adding second lot.

To serve, arrange gobegi on a flat platter and place a dollop of whipped cream or kaymak in the center. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts.

NOTE: If you have no electric frypan, use a large frying pan set on a thermostatically controlled hot plate or burner. Otherwise use an ordinary burner, start at low and increase heat to midway between medium and high settings.

Variation: Dilber Dudagi (Lips of the Beauty) Follow above directions, but flatten the balls of dough in your hand to a 6 cm (2-½ inch) round and fold dough over so that pastry resembles lips on curved edge. Place on an oiled tray until all are shaped. Fry and finish as for Kadin Gobegi. Serve plain or with whipped cream or kaymak.

Source: The Complete Middle East Cookbook - by Tess Mallos ISBN: 1 86302 069 1

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