Tavuk Kapama Recipe
Tavuk kapama (which means covered/covering chicken), or rather, our way of tavuk kapama, is a recipe that I have been talking about but couldn't be able to share for years. Tavuk kapama is a dish belonging to the cuisine of Thrace and Balkan immigrants, and it is made without tomato paste, unlike what you see in the pics, in its widely known version. My family is Thracian and my ancestors from a few generations ago were Bulgarian immigrants, but we cook tavuk kapama with tomato paste.
You know, sometimes some dishes are made in two different cities with slight differences, and the members of the two cities hold a meaningless stubbornness that what they do is the best. Here we are, we belong to the geography that this dish belongs to, and yet we cook this dish in a different way. But there is a difference. We do not claim that we do the best ourselves. Let's say I've been in this business for years, I learned that more or less the same dish can be made in different ways in different geographies and normalized it.
Not so long ago, my mother accepted a neighbor's dinner party invitation and they served tavuk kapama without tomato paste as I mentioned above. My 65-year-old primary school graduate mother told me "Ayşe invited me to dinner. She made a tavuk kapama. They made it without tomato paste. It was also good.". With such an example in front of me, I find it difficult to make sense of the discussions I come across on the internet, where educated young people, who are considered more open to innovations, insult each other for a sprig of parsley to be put in a meal or not.
Sometimes they ask me for a recipe "Oregano is added in other recipes. You didn't add it. Which one do you think would be better?". I already share my recipes in a way that I think is the most delicious. If I thought oregano suits that recipe, I would have added it. But this is entirely my personal preference. It doesn't mean that the soup is better without oregano. It would be nice with the oregano for the people who like oregano. There is no single nice thing in life. There are many nice things. The best thing is to accept this diversity and give each of them a chance whenever possible. If you've ever made tavuk kapama without tomato paste, I'd say give it a try with tomato paste.
- 500 g bone-in chicken meat,
- 1 onion,
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste,
- 1 cup of rice,
- 5-6 tablespoons of vegetable oil,
- 2.5 cups of boiling water,
- 1 teaspoon of thyme.
- Heat the oil in a large pan, arrange the chickens and fry them on both sides until they are well browned (you can close the lid during the frying process so that the oil does not splash),
- Take the chickens aside, add the chopped onion in the middle and stir fry until soft,
- Add the tomato paste and stir fry until it smells good and mix it with the chickens,
- Add the washed and drained rice and mix,
- Add water, salt and thyme and mix,
- Close the lid and cook on low heat until the water is absorbed.