Recipes Appetizers Cold Appetizers Smoky Red Peppers with Garlic (Kozlenmis Kirmizi Biber)

Smoky Red Peppers with Garlic (Közlenmiş Kirmizi Biber)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

These formed part of a long lazy lunch one hot June afternoon in Istanbul, watching kittens chase each other across the restaurant’s terrace, recalled cookbook author Rebecca Seal. You can roast or broil the peppers for this dish, but the smokiest flavor comes from charring them directly over a gas ring.


  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Generous 3/4 cup (7 fl. oz./200 ml) olive oil, or enough to cover


Line the area around the gas ring with foil. Turn on the flame and put the peppers directly over the heat. When the bottom of each pepper begins to blacken and blister, turn, using tongs. Once the peppers have charred, remove from the gas ring. Place in a plastic bag or plastic box with a lid and let cool; this makes them easier to peel.

Once cool, gently rub and peel off the skins. (If possible, resist the urge to rinse them as this will wash off some of the flavor.) Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and stalks. Cut into strips 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and place in a small serving bowl.

Slice the garlic as finely as possible and add to the bowl. Cover with olive oil and let stand until ready to serve—the longer they’re left, the more garlicky they’ll be. Serve at room temperature. Serves 2 to 4.

Adapted from Istanbul, by Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant Books, 2013).