Mothers and Daughters

I didn’t have to work on Monday because of how much the hurricane loomed on Friday. It loomed so much that my work’s building was closed on Monday and all meetings were postponed a day (including school’s first day being postponed until Wednesday). Since I had a day off I let Kevin select the menu for game night. He selected Mothers and Daughters a dish from The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories by Nur Ilkin and Heilah Kaufman thinking that it was going to be this Bulgar wheat football thing that we ate in Turkey:

Turkish football

This was not the recipe for the football thing, but it was delicious. Mothers and Daughters is a southern Turkish dish that is named for two reasons. The first reason is because of the way it was you learn to make it. It is kind of tricky so the story says that mothers often teach their daughters to roll the meatballs while making the tricky ones the daughters roll the simple dough/meat/balls. The second reason is that there are tricky dough/meat/balls that mothers make that are bigger (like the mothers) and the simple dough/meat/balls that the supposed daughters make that are smaller (like the daughters) in this recipe. The story also says that it is a lot of work but it was worth it, and it was. I agree that the work was worth it and I already want to eat more Mothers and Daughters because it was delicious and it reminded me of Turkey.

A photo recipe:


3 teaspoons vegatable oil
1/2 lbs 93% fat free ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon red pepper paste
salt and pepper

I didn’t have red pepper paste so I had to make some from canned red peppers. The internet recipe (that I could not find once I left the grocery store) claimed that you could boil canned red peppers for about 15 mins and then add some oil and chop it up in the blender. I did that.

red pepper paste

Heat the oil and add the beef. Stir constantly (that was very helpful). Once the beef starts to change colors add the onions.


Keep stirring for another 5-6 minutes and then at the end add the red pepper paste.


The recipe said you could make this up to a day ahead and just keep the mixture in the fridge.


2 cups Bulgar wheat
1 cup water
10 ounces 93% fat free ground beef (apparently this fat level is very important – I don’t know)
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon red pepper paste
4 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon semolina (I used flour – this was not at my grocery store, but it is a wheat flour)
1 egg
salt and pepper

This is called dough, but don’t be mistaken it is made from meat, too. It is a meat dough. I made half a recipe of this simply because I did not have enough Bulgar wheat, but it would be better to make a full (even though it would take longer) so I will include the full recipe.

Start by soaking the Bulgar wheat in the water for 10 minutes.

bulgar wheat

Add the rest of the ingredients and knead (I used my hands).


mixing it up

mixing it up

In batches (I did two) put the “dough” through a food processor until it starts to form a ball. You can tell when it is done, but the book says about 2-3 minutes.


I put the dough on a plate and got the filler back out because you are ready to make the mothers and the daughters. Wet hands were really helpful. I would occasionally stop and re-wet my hands to make the dough not stick. For the mothers, you take about a heaping tablespoon (small palm-full) and flatten it.



Then you put about a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle.


Then you close the sides in and roll in a ball. The book added that there should not be any filling showing and no holes. I found myself adding a small piece of dough to make sure I could do that.


Then I put those on a baking sheet covered by wax paper. The mothers are a little tricky and at the end I found myself re-rolling some to make sure there were no holes. The daughters were super easy. All you do is roll the “dough” into small balls about 1/2 inch in diameter.


3 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
2 heaping tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste
8 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic
1 can drained chick peas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Start a really big pot with oil and add the onions. Saute  the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and pastes and keep stirring, but be careful not to burn this here so be ready with the stock.


Bring this to a boil. Once this is boiling add the mothers (the big dough/meat/balls). Cover, reduce heat, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the chick peas, garlic, and the daughters (small dough/meat/balls). Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the lemon. I squeezed the lemon right in. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes. While this is happening make the garnish.


Garnish (so good)

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons (or many many dashes) dried mint
1 teaspoon ((or a dash) Aleppo pepper (this was googled during cooking and red pepper flakes were substituted – it worked out)

Melt the butter. Once it is melted add the mint and the pepper. Remove the garnish from the heat and let sit for about 8 minutes.

butter garnish

Add this to everything else and let the whole thing sit for about 10 minutes (off the heat) before serving. The butter really melted on the top and flavored it up.

Mothers and Daughters

I served with asparagus and a salad, but while I was eating I was thinking that you could serve this with just some crusty bread.

whole meal

This was delicious and well worth the effort on this lovely day off. I’m not sure I would have felt that way if I worked all day though. Nonetheless, it is a good dish as Fall is a approaching and warmth is considered more and more delicious.


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2 Responses to Mothers and Daughters

  1. Colleen says:

    This was delicious! I was completely confused by the meat dough and didn’t really get it until I saw the pictures….but every bite was awesome. Definitely worth the time.

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