One of the great pleasures of visiting Istanbul is the food. At the foot of the Grand Bazaar sit a couple of bobbing boats selling fried mackerel with flatbread and pickles. Cheap and cheerful, yet so good, and a memory we will always cherish. Supermarket flatbread tends to be too thick or heavy. If possible, source an authentic brand, or make your own. This recipe is also delicious made with sardines, or barbecued fish. We bet it would be really delicious made with smoked mackerel as well.


Serves 4
white cabbage 4 heaped tbsp, shredded
caraway seeds 1 tsp, crushed
lemon juice of ˝
extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
mint or flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
strained Greek yogurt 2 tbsp, such as Total
whole milk or water 1 tbsp
garlic 1 clove, crushed to a paste with ˝ tsp salt
tahini 3 tsp
butter a small knob (25g)
fresh mackerel fillets 2
flatbreads or pitta breads 2
red chillies 1-2, deseeded and chopped
pickled chillies 4 (available online)
walnuts 1 tbsp, crushed


Dress the cabbage with the caraway, lemon juice, olive oil and mint or parsley. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Mix the yogurt, milk or water, garlic and tahini together and check the seasoning.


In a frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Salt the mackerel and place skin-side up in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, toast the bread and, when hot, cut in half to create 4 pouches.


With a fork, flake the mackerel into small chunks, skin and all, and divide between the breads. Sprinkle the cabbage salad over the fish, then spoon on the yogurt, followed by both the fresh and pickled chillies and the walnuts. Wrap the bread in a napkin and munch away.