Kapadokya Lezzeti (Cappadocia Flavor), a book by Sula Bozis, originally published in Greek and recently in Turkish, brings back the gastronomical culture and the recipes of the Turkish-speaking native Greeks of Anatolia, especially of the Cappadocia and Karaman regions. The majority of the Anatolian Greeks were forced to migrate to Greece during the 1924 population exchange between Turkey and Greece that followed the Turkish-Greek War of 1919-1922. They took with them, to eventual oblivion, their centuries old culture and traditions and the unique script, Karamanlica, that they used to write Turkish.
What was lost then, now lives in books, photographs and recipes. So here is how the Anatolian Greeks cooked their snails, in translation from Kapadokya Lezzeti. Sula Bozis traces the recipe to Uluağaç, a village of Niğde in central Turkey.
1.5 kg large snails
3 chopped onions
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2-3 bay leaves
1 tea glass2 oil
vinegar, salt, pepper
Place the snails in a large shallow pot filled with water and vinegar, close the lid and secure it with a rock on it so the snails won't escape. Replace the water once every 2 hours3. Transfer the snails to another large pot with boiling salted water; boil for 15 min. Drain the snails, let them cool and then remove them from their shells using a sewing pin.
Sauté the onions lightly in oil. Then add the tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, add the snails, simmer until most of the water evaporates. Serve hot.
1Yahni, originally from Persian, in the Anatolian lexicon means a dish made with sautéed onions, tomate sauce and meat.
2A traditional Turkish tea glass with a narrow waist. There are a couple of them in the photo of Peter Throckmorton in this post.
3The recipe doesn't specify how long the snails are kept in vinegar-water.