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DJ Yoda's Turkish Pizza is So Not Kosher for Passover

Cooking with the DJ is back with the UK mixtape master. Let my people eat!
April 15, 2014, 12:00am

In this space, THUMP brings you recipes and food stories from the globe's most cookin-est DJs, paired with carefully selected music for culinary enhancement.

You may know DJ Yoda from his canonical How To Cut And Paste mixtape series, or from FabricLive.39, or maybe from his cuts with UK rapper Roots Manuva. Today, Yoda and I buck Passover tradition by preparing Turkish pizza, which, after sundown today, will be off limits for any of the Jews who are passing up leavened bread for the holiday. After our non-kosher cooking sesh, I sat down with the UK turntablist to talk about the London bagel scene, the cuisines of the English colonies, and the use of the shofar in club music. Dig in.

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THUMP: Hey there Yoda. Welcome to Cooking with the DJ! It's Passover time. Any Seders you're hitting up this year?
DJ Yoda: Actually, and kind of sadly, I won't be hitting up any Seders this year. I haven't for the last few years, as DJ gigs tend to ruin Rosh Hashanahs, Yom Kippurs, Friday night dinners and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

You and I always end up joking around on twitter about the Jewish holidays. You've told me that the shofar [the ram's horn instrument played during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur] would be a pretty good basis for a Baltimore club tune. 
[Laughs] My "tekiyah/samir" tweet, despite being about as niche a joke as humanly possible (you have to be a B-more club-obsessed Jewish DJ to understand it), is in fact one of my favorite jokes of all time. One of those "favorite-your-own-tweet" moments.

Is Jewish food in the UK different than the Eastern European type stuff you'd see in the States?
I think it's more or less the same—if anything, a little more authentic, as we're closer to East Europe. We have some slightly different names for things. You would never see it called "brisket" in the UK—just "salt beef." And never "lox," just "smoked salmon." Also our bagels here are much, much better. If anyone who reads this is ever in London and needs good Jewish food, tweet me for recommendations.

For readers who don't know, Passover commemorates the end of Hebrew slavery in biblical Egypt. The British spent like 500 years colonizing people for their spices. Moral bankruptcy of that strategy aside, did that work out for the UK, food-wise?
[Laughs] First and foremost, I'm not sure that as an American, you particularly have the right to speak to ANY foreigner about moral bankruptcy! Leaving that aside British food is actually mostly unfairly maligned by Americans. There's been huge revolution in eating in the UK over the last 20 years, and a lot more attention is given to locally sourced, seasonal, organic and creative cooking—if you look in the right places.

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And in terms of the British colonial influences, Indian food is so integral to British food that most people consider Chicken Tikka Masala to be a British national dish. So put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

Smoking away.  OK, so what are we cooking right now? What's so great about it?
This is my own special Turkish pizza that I've been developing for a while now. It's a staple for me when I get back from a few days travelling and want something easy, delicious, nutritious, spicy and filling.

How did you discover this recipe?
My local Turkish store (you get a lot of these in London) stocks this awesome flat Turkish bread, and I wanted to come up with a cool way of using it. It doesn't make for a traditional pizza base, but sometimes normal pizzas can be a bit too carb-y anyway.

Do I have to be a genius to make this? What's the trick to making the dish work?
No, it's really simple. I think the main trick is locating the flat Turkish bread—it's not gonna be as good on a normal pizza base. Then the other trick is to get the timing right of throwing each ingredient in, as consistency is key. You want the parsley and pomegranates to be crunchy and your vegetables not too sloppy.

What should we be listening to while we cook this? Why?

Something old: MC Breeze's  "DiscombobulatorBubalator"

Something new: Jus Now feat. Bunji Carlin & Stylo G's "Tun Up"

Something borrowed: Omar Souleyman "Warni Warni" (to fit the Turkish vibe)

Something blue: Compton's Most Wanted - "U's A Bitch"

Mazel tov. Let's eat.

Ingredients:

1 pack of minced organic lamb
2 red onions
1 red chilli
2 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon
1 courgette (zucchini in American) or aubergine (eggplant)
4 small khobez (flat Turkish breads)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 lemon
1 bunch of parsley
1 pomegranate
2 teaspoons of natural plain yogurt

Directions:
1. Pour oil into a pan. In the following order, throw in the chopped red onions, vegetables, the lamb, chili, cinnamon, garlic and finally tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Leave that shit on a low heat for the length of one album.
2. When the album's finished, a splash of water on the turkish bread, and then warm them up in the oven (on very low heat). Meanwhile chop up the parsley, get your pomegranate seeds ready.
3. Bread comes out the oven, spread the meat and veggies over the bread thinly, then top with the parsley, pomegranate, squeezed lemon and drizzle with yogurt.
4. You can eat like a pizza, or even roll it up like a burrito. The choice, quite literally, is yours.

DJ Yoda's most recent album, Chop Suey features guest vocals from both Action Bronson and Boy George @DJYodaUK

Michael Fichman throws a dope-ass Seder. Follow him on twitter at @djaptone