The Turks are not internationally known for their vegetable dishes. The rotating döner and kebaps dishes generally take all the attention. However, one of vegetable stables in Turkey is mücver.
What is Mücver (Zucchini Fritters)?
Mücver are zucchini fritters prepared with eggs, flour, a variety of fresh herbs and sometimes white cheese such as feta. These are all mixed together, shaped into patties and fried in a pan.Jump to Recipe
The Turks, in their nomadic days, did not consume many vegetables simply due to the fact that they didn’t stay long enough to cultivate anything long term. (1) When they finally came to Anatolia, they welcomed the native vegetables into their cuisine. Leeks, cucumbers, zucchini, onions and many other vegetables were present in Anatolia centuries before the Turks came, and even when eggplant was introduced, it quickly took the top post as the most-consumed vegetable in Ottoman kitchens, while the zucchini earned second place. (2)
If you want to look up a recipe for mücver, you wouldn’t find it under vegetable dishes. Mücver is listed under köfte – yes, the meatballs. The reason is because mücver, unlike today’s version, was originally a way of preparing vegetables and as not only limited to zucchini. In the 19th century, these fritters were also made from carrots, eggplant and even green beans. As the most popular veggie, eggplant mücver was the most frequently prepared variety. (2)
The making of mücver was so popular that there were even special fritter pans in Ottoman palace kitchens that featured seven hollows spaces for the fritters. (3)
The word mücver comes from the Arabic root “cebr,” meaning “forced” or “smashed”, and usually referred to grating a certain vegetable. The Greeks call their variety “kolokithokeftedes,” with “kolokithi” meaning zucchini, and “keftedes” meaning köfte.
Mücver are zucchini fritters prepared with eggs, flour, a variety of fresh herbs and sometimes white cheese such as feta. These are all mixed together, shaped into patties and fried in a pan.
Mücver – fresh and light zucchini fritters
- 4 zucchini
- 4 pieces green onions
- ¼ bundle parsley
- ¼ bundle dill
- ¼ bundle fresh mint
- 3 eggs
- 5 tbsp flour
- salt and black pepper
- oil, for frying
- Grate the zucchini and knead it a bit to get rid of excess water
- Chop the parsley, dill, mint and green onions finely.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg and the flour together and add all the chopped and grated ingredients. It should form a thick pancake-like dough. If the mixture is not holding together, an additional tablespoon of flour may be added.
- Fry the fritters by scooping about one tablespoon of the mixture on a well-oiled pan and fry on both sides. Let the excess oil drip off onto paper towels and enjoy.
TipsZucchini, like their siblings the cucumber, contain lots of water. Once you have grated them, you should sprinkle some salt and let them rest a bit. The zucchini will release water, which you can toss away for a denser mücver and avoid adding too much flour.
Mücver might taste great when they are still warm, but they taste just as good cold and can be eaten with some bread.
The fritters go really well with yogurt, and, naturally, cacık!
Bibliography(1) Deniz Gürsoy, “Tarihin süzgecinde mutfak kültürümüz”, 2013
(2) Marianna Yerasimos, “500 Yıllık Osmanlı Mutfağı”, 2002
(3) Priscilla Mary Işın, “Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine”, 2018