Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat – Recipe

Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat
Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat

I’m obsessed with baharat lately. Baharat is a spice mixture that is popular throughout North Africa, the Levant and the Middle East. Most versions include black pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. The Turkish variety usually adds dried mint and savory. Like anything else in food, every village and maybe every cook has their own version. I’ve been buying this Turkish baharat from World Spice and am very happy with the flavor and freshness – they grind it when you order it.

Like Indian garam masala, baharat can be added at the beginning or end of a dish to produce different flavors. This recipe is cooked low and slow to allow the baharat to deeply permeate the chickpeas and potatoes.

This dish will work with canned chickpeas, but is much better if you have time to cook them at home. A pressure cooker is ideal for cooking beans because you don’t need to pre-soak them, and they come out positively creamy.  

I served this on Persian rice pilaf with its characteristic crispy crust (chelo with tahdig), which I don’t think is too big of a stretch, but it will also eat well on plain basmati rice, or with couscous.

Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat
Gluten-free / Vegan option / Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil for vegan)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Turkish baharat
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 fifteen-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1/2 pound dried chickpeas, cooked as usual until tender) – reserve 1 cup cooking liquid if cooking from dry
  • Minced fresh mint or cilantro for garnish
  1. Melt the butter In a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until it starts to brown, about 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the Turkish baharat and cayenne and cook for just 10 seconds to release the flavor, then add the crushed tomatoes, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid if available, otherwise add 1 cup of water. Stir through, cover, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain that simmer. Cook until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the chickpeas and simmer for at least 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. It may need more salt, baharat, or cayenne. The spice flavors should be intense, not subtle – though it doesn’t need to have a lot of heat if that isn’t your preference.
  4. Garnish with the fresh mint or cilantro and serve hot.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, June 27th, 2011 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

16 Responses to “Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    June 27, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I’ve been to many parts of Turkey and have a number of Turkish cookbooks, so your recipe using baharat took me by surprise. I’d never encountered it before. I asked my DH, who speaks Turkish, if he knew anything about it. He said it’s an Arabic loan word which simply means ‘spice.’ Looking at the spice profile, I’m guessing that this mix is really only used in the Turkish SE near Syria, where Arab influence is strong and tastes run to the richly spicy.

    Nevertheless, your recipe looks fabulous and I’ve gotta try it. Thanks for the post!

  2. Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for pointing us to World Spice as a source for the Baharat – I wouldn’t have known where to look! I also see that they have two kinds of Za’tar, Harissa in dried form, Tunisian Tabil, Ras al-Hanut, and more!

  3. Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    oh, YUM. must make, must make …..

  4. Reply
    June 30, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Just found your blog, and your recipes look right up my alley! Can’t wait to start trying them!

  5. Reply
    July 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I just went to a vegetarian potluck where the hosts cooked this dish and it was super! Glad to know about your blog.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  6. Reply
    July 7, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    This looks really yummy, especially since it’s winter here in Bolivia. I can get all the ingredients except the turkish baharat. But I can get the spices you said were in it, so maybe I’ll try making my own. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    July 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Hey Summer – here's a link with a specific recipe for mixing up your own Turkish-style baharat: link to theepicentre.com

  8. Reply
    Daniel Bush
    July 10, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I made this dish last night and it was just wonderful — thank you so much for the recipe. Coincidentally, the recipe I have for baharat is the one from Epicentre and I made the Turkish version using savory rather than mint.

  9. Reply
    December 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    How does baharat compare with the more north-African ras al hanout?

    • Reply
      December 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      I would say they are moderately similar. Ras el hanout especially can vary quite a bit depending on who makes it. Tasting the pair that I have in my spice drawer right now, I’d say the ras el hanout is hotter and has more unusual flavors like rose etc. They both certainly share a lot of the more common flavors like coriander, cumin, and black pepper.

  10. Reply
    Sarah (Leah's Momma)
    March 12, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I made this last night and my 18 ate so much of it I thought she was going to turn into a chickpea! My husband usually depends on leftovers for lunch the following day and he had to pack a peanut butter sandwich today, since there was only a little left. This was delicious. I added chopped spinich to make it have something green in it and we are definitely making it again.

    • Reply
      March 12, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      No higher compliment than when the teenagers devour it! The spinach sounds like a nice addition.

  11. Reply
    Sarah (Leah's Momma)
    April 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    She’s actually 18 months old. Thanks so much for all of the fun recipes.

    • Reply
      April 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      Haha! Well that’s quite a different story 🙂

  12. Reply
    October 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    So aromatic and delicious. The Yukon Golds at my local market looked a bit worn and torn, so I used sweet potatoes, which to me were lots of fun.

    I have a question. I made chickpeas from scratch for the first time as a part of this dish, and wow, they are like a totally different bean from the canned. My question is that the flavor of the fresh chickpeas was quite naked and assertive – the chickpeas sort of felt too independent from the rest of the flavors. I am wondering if there is a way to get them to feel a little more nuanced and infused with the surrounding spices. Maybe I didn’t simmer them long enough? Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      October 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      Great question! I’d say (1) make sure the chickpeas are cooked until they are quite tender, but not falling apart, and then (2) if they don’t feel “assimilated” enough to you, simmer them longer at step 3.

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