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cevez sujuk-2 copy

I haven’t been very good about posting recently but I have been trying to finish my book and I don’t seem to be able to do two things at the same time! No seriously, finishing a book is quite an obsessive occupation. Still, as I was writing about grape leather, I remembered I had taken a clip of it being prepared in South Eastern Turkey and I thought I would do a post.

Apricot leather is common both in Syria and elsewhere in the region but not grape leather. A speciality of South Eastern Turkey where it is called bastik and northern Syria where it is known as malban. You find in theย  the souks of Aleppo where it is sold folded like handkerchiefs while in the bazaars of Gaziantep, it is sold folded the same way or shaped into triangles and filled with ground pistachios. It should really be made with fresh grape juice but often, it is made with pekmez. The pekmez is mixed with water, sugar and cornstarch and boiled until thickened then spread with a wooden trowel on sheets and left to dry in the sun. Once dry, it is peeled off the sheets, cut into squares and folded. The Turks sprinkle the inside with cornstarch before folding it but the Syrians don’t and I much prefer the Syrian version which I used to watch my aunt make in Mashta el-Helou where we spent our summers. She used fresh grape juice which she boiled down, perhaps with sugar but I don’t remember, and spread it on pristine white cotton sheets unlike the Turkish guys who used lurid blue synthetic sheets.


Spreading the grape jelly onto the sheet

I also watched them make ceviz sucugu (walnut ‘sausages’), using the same grape ‘jelly’ and dipping walnut halves threaded onto cotton string into it. The walnut ‘ropes’ are tied onto a metal ring and dipped again and again into the hot grape ‘jelly’ until they are thickly coated with the ‘jelly’, then they are hung to dry.

cevez sujuk-stringin walnuts copy

He has threaded all the walnuts and he is now tying the walnut ‘ropes’ onto the metal rings


Dipping the walnut ‘ropes’ into the boiling jelly

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Hanging the walnut ‘sausages’ to dry

I don’t have a precise recipe but if you have pekmez, you can try your hand at making some ‘sausages’ or leather. Just remember that the ‘jelly’ shouldn’t be too sweet nor too thick.

There is 23 comments on this post

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    oh so cool ! i always love your films, so amazing to see up close, and get the where, how and what of these totally exotic foods. which seem less “foreign” after reading your posts. and now that i have a little jar of pekmez in my cupboard too ! perhaps not enough to make leather, but will try simit or mix with tahini. oh, i totally have almost a kilo of apricot leather here – thanks for the reminder ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    i remember seeing the walnut ropes when we were in istanbul years ago. even more so, i recall not having a clue what they were. still bought a few though – and tons and tons of dried fruit (dates of course) and nuts. thanks for another great post !

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    you are welcome kerrin. glad you enjoyed the post and the clips ๐Ÿ™‚

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    I love the walnut ropes with a cup of tea in the winter, it’s a nice treat.

    In my husband’s village Eyatt, Akkar (near Beino), they make both of these things, especially the “sausage” they call it Ju’at and they call the leather malban also. The other villages in the surrounding area also make them, but I have never seen them in the villages around Tripoli or in the Tripoli souk.

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    this is interesting heba. thanks for letting me know. akkar must be quite close to syria. i know they make a great shanklish there. must look out for the ju’at.

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    Anissa – how interesting! I love apricot sheets, but had no idea the sheets were made also of grape.. Thanks for this.

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    you’re welcome diana. and they are good too ๐Ÿ™‚

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    is your new book a cookbook? do tell

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    well, mostly with a little travel as well ๐Ÿ™‚

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    In Georgia, there is a similar sweet called churchhela. It is delicious! I have been wanting to try it this summer. Last year, I made malban, which was delicious. I used sweet muscat grapes, which have such a great flavor.

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    this is really interesting victoria. how did you make the malban exactly? did you use cornflour? or did the grape juice thicken and set by itself. and did you have to add any sugar? i have always wanted to recreate my aunt’s malban but my mother doesn’t remember how she made it and there is no chance i will be going to syria any day soon to discuss malban with my father’s first cousin who is a spitting image of him. she is v old and sadly she may die before i get there again. let me know about your malban unless you posted in which case let me have the link. i may do a search for it now on your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

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    I have this recipe, which I found in Mouneh, a book about Lebanese preserved by Barbara Abdeni Massaad. 5L grape juice, 150g slaked lime, 500g wheat flour, walnuts, pistachios
    Mix grape juice with slaked lime. Bring grape juice slowly to boil and simmer at low heat for 10min. Skim the foam. Let it rest overnight. Slaked lime is needed to clarify the juice. Next morning, filter the juice, being careful not to include any sediment on the bottom.

    Pour filtered juice into the preserving pan and add flour. Bring to boil and stir constantly. Skim all foam. Boil until the juice reduces by about 1/4 or 1/2, or till it becomes very thick. The test is to dip a string with a walnut and to see if it manages to coat the nuts and stay on them.

    Actually, the way I make malban is more like the Georgian candy. It is absolutely delicious! I simply spread the paste over the waxed paper, sprinkled it with pistachios and let it dry out (in the sun or in a low oven.) Then it can be sliced and rolled (this way you get little rolls filled with pistachios). Also, some recipes call for corn flour. I used cornstarch before, and it is not the same. Better to use wheat flour or corn flour.

    By the way, the marble flour (marlstone) is called in some recipes I have come across. Like slaked lime in the Lebanese recipe above, it is used to clarify the juice. Can be skipped. The confection will not be as transparent though.

    Here is the recipe:

    5 liters of grape juice, 500 g wheat flour 250 g sugar, 500 g peeled walnuts.
    Peeled walnuts strung large pieces (halves better) on a strong cotton thread length of 20-25 cm with a loop at one end for hanging. At the other end to nuts are not slipping, tied a piece of the match.
    From grape juice to squeeze out and cook it over low heat for 2-3 hours, gradually adding sugar. It should be kept stirring and skim. Then give the liquid to cool to about 45 ยฐ C, slowly pour the flour, stirring and kneading it with his hand formed lumps. After a smooth again to cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until there is 3/4 of the original volume and it has the consistency of jelly.
    In reduced hot grape juice 2-3 times every half-minute dip in a bunch of nuts. Once the desired thickness is obtained, churchkhela hang to dry in the sun. Drying is terminated when churchkhela longer sticks to hands, but still soft to the touch.
    Dried churchkhela wrapped in a clean cloth and leave to mature in a dry ventilated area for 2-3 months (heat and cold equally harmful to the maturation of churchkhelas). By the end of this period is covered by a very thin coating churchkhela powdered sugar, released as a result of maturation, and does not lose the softness.

    And here are some more Georgian variations. I am sorry for the awkward English. The recipe about and the ones that follows come from my Russian notes. I just put them through Google translator. But you can get a good idea.


    Churchkhelas made in Georgia since ancient times. This is evidenced, for example, found during archaeological excavations of clay pots of special form on which the inscription suggests that it is churchkhelas stored and transported in the potters of ancient times.

    The tradition of churchkhela preserved to our times. They are not only tasty, but also useful for its high content of easily digestible sugars – glucose and fructose, the presence of tartaric, malic, and other mineral acids, high-calorie, Tannins and vitamins. To prepare churchkhela used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Traditionally used by white grape varieties Rkatsiteli Chinuri, Tsolikouri, Krahuna and others in the same way as are reasonably and firmness of the skin. Production churchkhela relatively limited, since they are made semi-artisan way. Initial treatment of grapes for making juice out of it is the same as for white wines. Interestingly, in different regions of Georgia churchkhelas made differently, and technological methods of manufacture are significantly different from each other. Accordingly, the taste churchkhela be different.

    Kakheti way
    Preparations for the construction of Kakheti churchkhela begins long before the grape harvest. It begins with the harvesting of nuts. Large – and small walnut: hazelnut, almond, apricot and peach pits, which are dried in the sun and purified from the shell. In Kakheti churchkhelas mostly made from walnuts, which are divided into 4 slices and strung on a thread length of 25-35 centimeters. Almond, apricot and peach pits are kept in water until, until it becomes easy to separate the peel, and then gently boiled in sugar syrup. In addition to nuts and dried grapes used (raisins), which is strung on a thread a double length. This thread is folded in half and dried berries are strung together in a clay oven for baking bread.

    Grape juice is poured into large copper kettles over a fire and boil for half an hour, and then dismiss for 10-12 hours. Then carefully pour the wort clarified in another pot, and the residue was filtered through a cloth. Concentrated grape juice – “badagi” – again boil over low heat, removing the foam with a slotted spoon. In the case of high acidity is added to neutralize any marble flour, stirring until until it is completely mixed with the mash. Then badagi dismiss for 5-6 hours.

    In the thickened juice of the grape must is added to finely sifted wheat flour, which gradually pour in again heated in a boiler juice. The fire is gradually increased, and the juice constantly interfere with a wooden spoon. Finished weight is called the “Tatars” and is considered suitable for the manufacture of churchkhela when the control thread with walnuts, dipped in copper, demonstrates good adhesion of a thick mass of grape juice with the flour. After immersion in Tartary strung strings hung on long poles to dry, which takes 2-3 hours. Then dip again churchkhelas to uvarennogo thickness of grape juice, covering the filling, was not less than 1.5-2 cm. Ready churchkhelas dried 15-17 days, then removed and placed in chests or boxes in the layer of tissue.

    Imereti way
    To prepare the way churchkhela Imereti is usually taken to grape juice grape industry: Krahuna or Tsolikouri and poured into clay pots to brighten, often used for clarification of sulfur dioxide. After clarification of the juice is poured into a copper boiler, heated to boiling, remove the scum, cool. Then add the corn or wheat flour and cook for an hour and a half on low heat. In the thickened mass goes nuts strung on a thread (mostly – hazelnuts), dried grapes “chamichi” or dried fruit. Dipped three times and then dried in the sun, hanging by poles in 8-10 days. Nuts for churchkhela dried on clay pans, “a pan” until skin begins to crack, so it can be easily removed. Imereti churchkhelas fairly thin, less sugary, slightly sour.

    Kartalinsky way
    In Kartli grape juice is boiled for churchkhela to brownish color and density of liquid honey. When boiling add the acid to neutralize the marble powder or chalk. Uvarennaya and stand-mass becomes dark brown. It is poured into a copper pot, heat and add the finely sifted wheat flour. In the manufacture of churchkhela are mainly walnuts and dried grapes. These churchkhelas similar to Kakheti.

    Gurian way
    In the manufacture of juice used Gurian churchkhela first pressure “drift”, mostly from white grapes, but also used red grapes. As in other regions, grape juice is boiled for about 2 hours, and then add a lot of uvarennuyu finely sifted cornmeal, flour with the old crop has to be: a fresh meal for churchkhela do not use. Boiling continues until, until the whole mass will not get dark brown and not lose the taste of flour. To make churchkhela softness in the boiling juice add honey. Stuffing for churchkhela are walnuts, small nuts, dried fruits, and pumpkin seeds. Hazelnut is only an oblong shape: grades Tshenisdzudzu and Gulistvala. Gurian churchkhela length can be up to one meter.

    Racha-Lechkhumi way
    In Racha Lechkhumi churchkhelas prepared, usually with small nuts, dried fruit and pumpkin seeds. Grape juice – from grapes Aleksandrouli, Tsolikouri, Tsulukidzis tetra-, and Usakhelouri Ojaleshi. The juice is boiled and thickened with wheat flour. Boiling on the fire lasts as long as weight will not lose the taste of flour.

    In conclusion we can say that churchkhelas in all areas are very tasty! “

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    this is so interesting victoria. thank you. by wheat flour you mean regular plain flour? i can’t imagine it would be wholewheat. i should try making it one day but i would want to make the sheets which is not so obvious. next time i go to gaziantep, i will buy the trowel they are using in the short clip. and i am dying to go to georgia. i think i may do that next year. may embark on an adventure starting in China and going westward ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Oh, sounds like a great adventure! I have not been to Georgia for ages, but I am dying to go back.

    I usually make the sheets too. I just do not have enough patience or space to try the strings. I must say that I still have fond memories of eating Georgian churchkhela with hazelnuts… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, the flour is plain wheat flour, all purpose is fine. Cake flour will work well too. Definitely not whole meal, as it would be too coarse for this confection.

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    i should meet you there. and i would opt for cake flour if i were to make the malban. in turkey, they use cornstarch. i wish i were in lebanon right now. i would try making it with the small v sweet grapes we have there. in fact, we had a plot of terraced land in b’hamdoun where we had vines and every summer my mother would make sweet wine. it was the only alcohol we ever drank and we loved it. like church wine. i still love sweet wine although i now drink better stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

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    We should plan that! What a great trip would that be!

    I am making Georgian watermelon rind jam right now for the first time. It is a three day process, so I am still on day one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In Ukraine, we grew sweet muscat grapes, and my grandfather made the sweet wine which sounds similar to the one you are describing. And he also made the most delicious cherry ratafia (and also cassis ratafia, which was out of this world.)

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    let’s definitely plan it. would be totally great. i will ask my mother how she made the wine but i can still see her with the large pan. i am sure she cooked the juice. will let you know. very intrigued about the georgian watermelon rind jam. what’s different about georgian watermelons?

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    Nothing different, I suppose. It is just that the watermelon rind jam is very popular in Georgia and around the Caspian. In Ukraine, we have never made it until my Azeri stepmother started doing so. The jam is probably not the proper way to describe it. It is more like a thick syrup with transparent pieces of watermelon rind (pared of green skin and pink flesh) floating in it. Some ladies carve the rind into various pretty shapes such as flowers or geometrical figures, and then the whole thing looks particularly beautiful.

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    sounds like the candied green walnuts or pistachios that i like so much. in greece they are in syrup whereas in syria, they are dry. and they don’t do the pistachios in syria.

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    I made green walnuts a couple of years ago (my poor husband spent 2h peeling several pounds of them!) and they turned out very good in terms of sweetness, texture, etc. Except for one thing–I added too much clove. Since then, I have not repeated this project, still chafing from the spicing fiasco. ๐Ÿ™‚

    On the other hand, I have never tried candied pistachios. That sounds absolutely delicious.

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    they are and i only ever had them once when i bought a jar from a lovely shop in athens on the recommendation of my friend. like the walnuts, they were candied whole, shell and all. v interesting texture. i think i finished the jar in three days. wish i had some now ๐Ÿ™‚

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    I tried Sujuk in Yeravan, Armenia.
    Here’s a recipe trawled off facebook ๐Ÿ™‚


    1 cup flour
    4 cups water
    1 14 oz grape mollasses (doshab)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 tsp. ground cloves (or more if you like)

    First, thread your walnuts on a strong string. Make a knot on the
    bottom so they don’t escape and a loop on top so you can hang them.
    Set up your hanging equipment. I bought a shower curtain rod and
    hangers just for this purpose and use chairs to support the rod. Make
    sure to have plenty of plastic or trays on the bottom cause some of
    the liquid will drip off.

    Second, sift the dry ingredients together in a larg pot. Next add the
    molasses and mix together with a wooden spoon. Then put the pot on
    medium heat and keep mixing. Meanwhile add the water one cup at a
    time. The mixture will start to thicken and as soon as you see it
    sticking to the back of your wodden spoon it’s time to dunk the
    walnuts. I do this outside because that is where they will be drying
    under a full sun. Move it inside as soon it is getting cold out . So
    everyday, for a few days you move it in and out until it is dry. When
    dry, wrape in plastic wrape tightly and refrigrate. Slice and serve
    with tea. Enjoy.

    I hope it’s useful to you

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    That’s lovely. thank you nic. will have to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

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