Yapma (Ground Beef & Bulgur Patties)

       A tender, savory, crispy meat and bulgur pattie packed with Turkish spices!

     Yapma (pronounced “yaahp-mah”) is actually Turkish for “making.” It’s the perfect word to describe this dish because in essence it does require a lot of “making” to prepare the dish. Methodical and precise, this Turkish dish was fascinating to learn.

Yapma is essentially a beef and bulgur pattie that is spiced, seasoned and fried until crisp. In some ways, it is similar to a meatball or “kofte” but in others it is completely it’s own unique dish and worthy of it’s name.

The meat is soft and tender since it is grinder and kneaded repeatedly (see photos below of me learning how to knead the meat mixture correctly).

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Although it is an intense process to prepare Yapma, you will surely not regret the end product.

Here’s the recipe:

500 g ground beef

3 c kofte bulgur (small ground bulgur)

1 1/2 c dried bread flakes (different than bread crumbs but you can substitute bread crumbs if needed)

1 medium white onion (minced)

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 TBSP all spice

1 1/2 TBSP cumin

1 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes (non-spicy variety)

1 1/2 TBSP salt

1 TBSP black pepper

Preparation:

Measure out all of the ingredients (except the bulgur) in a large round serving dish or a big bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined and then incorporate the meat mixture with the bulgur.

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Place the entire mixture through a meat grinder (substitute a food processor if needed) and process until smooth (once or twice).

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Now, it’s time for some serious kneading action. Roll up your sleeves and imagine that you are kneading a batch of bread. It takes some practice, but essentially you want to pull the meat towards you, then push it outwards repeatedly with your wrist and then pull it back towards you. Practice makes perfect so don’t give up!

After about 10-15 minutes of kneading, it’s time to shape the meat into little patties. As explained by the chef, there are two ways of doing this. Firstly, you can do it perfectly by hand or secondly, you can take a small circle cookie cutter and use that to shape the meat. But since we are making “Yapma” and it’s all about the making, give it a try by hand. You’ll be relieved that it’s much easier than the kneading, lol!

How to Shape a Yapma

Take a golf ball size piece of meat.

Roll it into a ball with the palms of your hands.

Flatten it with your palms until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

Shape and smooth the edges by running the sides of the yapma against the palm of your hand like a little wheel.

Keep making your yapma until all of the meat is used.

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Using a deep fryer or a heavy pot filled with oil, carefully fry the yapma in small batches, being sure to shake them up a bit while they’re cooking to ensure that they don’t stick together.

Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

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Keep frying until all of the yampa are cooked.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

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