Sunchokes with Orange Juice (Portakal Sulu Zeytinyağlı Yerelması)


This weird looking vegetable is north American; it’s in the sunflower family. It was called “sun roots” by Native Americans, but for some unknown reason was named “Jerusalem artichoke” by a French man sometime around 1600s. It’s nothing like an artichoke and it is not from or related to Jerusalem. In Turkish, we call it yerelması, which literally means “earth apple”; the same term that French use for potato, pomme de terre. In Italian, I learned, it is called girasole articiocco, sunflower artichoke, which through mispronunciation ended up as “sunchoke” in English.

As I said before, it tastes nothing like artichokes. I might say something between apples and potatoes with a slight touch of celery root; its taste is as complicated as its etymological history. Sunchoke cooked with olive oil and served cold is a specialty of the cuisine of the Turkish Aegean coast. I don’t want to start listing all the health benefits of sunchoke; just know that it’s really good for you in many ways.


Although this is a traditional Turkish recipe, I twisted it a little by adding orange juice. To make it “really Turkish” instead of “almost Turkish” just replace orange juice with water.

1 lb sunchokes, peeled and cut into strips
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cut into strips
2 medium carrots, cut into jullien strips
2 tbsp rice
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup juice of an orange
1 tsp sugar
1/4 bunch dill, chopped

-Fill a bowl with water and squeeze half of a lemon. Put sunchokes and potatoes in water after chopping. Lemon juice will prevent darkening.
-In a broad pot, heat the oil. Stir onion and garlic until cooked.
-Add in first carrots, then potatoes, and last sunchokes. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring gently.
-Pour in orange juice, sugar, and salt.
-When it starts boiling, add rice.
-Cover and cook on low-medium until rice and vegetables are cooked–approximately 30 minutes.
-Let it cool down with the lid on.
-Sprinkle dill on top before you serve. You can also sprinkle orange zest.

This is a Turkish olive oil recipe which means it should be served cold. Try and you’ll see; it’s tastier when it’s cold.

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