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What is Turkish Classic Menemen?

As a word, nobody knows what menemen (pronounced man-a-man) really means. Although there is a town named Menemen in Turkey, there is no proof that the two are related. But all we know is that it is liked by almost everybody in Turkey, and it is one of the most consumed breakfast dishes in the country.  

How to Make Menemen?

IngredientsMakes 2-3 portions

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, or canola oil)
  • 3 green peppers (stems cut, seeded, and finely chopped)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (diced or grated)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • Black pepper, red pepper, oregano, chili powder to taste
  • Hard cheese, grated (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add the peppers and fry until they change color. 
  2. Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat and cover the pan. Let tomatoes cook thoroughly. 
  3. If tomatoes are not juicy, you can add some boiled water so that they do not stick. 
  4. When tomatoes are cooked, break full eggs into the pan. You can either mix the eggs with the tomato mixture or put the lid and let them cook wholly. 
  5. Before turning off the burner, add grated cheese and keep the lid closed until it melts. 
  6. Add black pepper and other spices to taste. Serve it hot. 

If you are making menemen with onion, cook onion with oil before all the ingredients and follow the same instructions above. 

Turkish people generally eat menemen spread on bread slices or with forks, but feel free to dip your bread in the pan! To be more practical, you can make a menemen wrap using a tortilla like a vegetarian burrito. 

Additional Ingredients to Menemen

Other than the above ingredients, Turkish people keep it creative when it comes to making menemen. Among the most common extra ingredients of menemen is sujuk or fermented Turkish pepperoni. Sucuk must be added after the green peppers are cooked. Another additional food is pastrami, or Turkish pastrami. Add pastrami with the eggs. The most common type of cheese for menemen is kasar cheese, a medium-hard pale yellow cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk. Kaşar is somewhat similar to cheddar cheese, so if you do not have access to kasar, cheddar will do perfectly fine. As a garnish, chopped fresh parsley or scallions will enrich the menemen’s flavor. Although not common, some people enjoy their menemen with mushrooms or minced meat, but it is hardly menemen.