Discover the delicious world of Turkish cuisine, filled with plates of flavor. Whether sweet or savory, Turkish cuisine is one of the richest cuisines in the world. In this article, explore traditional Turkish flavors and some of the most beloved dishes. Plus, find recipes to make popular Turkish dishes at home, like mantı, baklava, döner, and kebab. Don’t miss out on the flavors of Turkish cuisine!
Turkish cuisine is based on fresh, seasonal ingredients and has a strong emphasis on grilled meats, vegetables, and seafood. The use of spices and herbs is also a prominent feature of Turkish cooking, and the result is a range of dishes that are bursting with flavor.
If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons and try out some delicious Turkish recipes at home, then read on. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Turkish dishes, along with tips for cooking them successfully.
Popular Turkish dishes and ingredients
Before we get into the recipes themselves, let’s take a quick look at some popular Turkish dishes and ingredients.
One of the most well-known Turkish dishes is kebab, which is typically made with grilled meat (such as lamb or beef) and served with vegetables, rice, and pita bread. Another popular dish is borek, which is a savory pastry made with phyllo dough and filled with cheese, spinach, or meat.
Other common ingredients in Turkish cuisine include eggplant, chickpeas, lentils, and bulgur (a type of cracked wheat). Yogurt is also a staple in Turkish cooking, and is often used as a dip or sauce.
Now that we have a basic understanding of Turkish cuisine, let’s dive into some delicious recipes.
Meze recipes – a selection of appetizers
Meze are small dishes that are typically served as appetizers in Turkish cuisine. They’re perfect for sharing with friends and family, and can be a great way to start off a meal.
Ingredients: – 1 can of chickpeas – 3 cloves of garlic – 1/4 cup of tahini – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice – Salt and pepper to taste – Olive oil for drizzling
Instructions: 1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. 2. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 3. Blend until smooth and creamy. 4. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Sigara Borek
Ingredients: – 1 pack of phyllo dough – 1/2 cup of feta cheese – 1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped – 1 egg, beaten – Salt and pepper to taste – Olive oil for brushing
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 2. In a bowl, mix together the feta cheese, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper. 3. Cut the phyllo dough into strips, approximately 2 inches wide. 4. Place a spoonful of the feta mixture at one end of each strip. 5. Roll up the strips tightly, folding in the edges as you go. 6. Brush the rolls with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. 7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Patlican Ezmesi (Eggplant Dip)
Ingredients: – 2 eggplants – 2 cloves of garlic – 1/4 cup of tahini – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice – Salt and pepper to taste – Olive oil for drizzling
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 2. Pierce the eggplants with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. 3. Roast the eggplants in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the skins are charred and the flesh is soft. 4. Remove the eggplants from the oven and let them cool. 5. Peel off the skin and discard it. 6. In a food processor, combine the eggplant flesh, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 7. Blend until smooth and creamy. 8. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
Main course recipes – including meat, vegetarian, and seafood options
Now that we’ve got our appetizers sorted, let’s move on to some main course recipes. Whether you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, or seafood fan, there’s something for everyone in Turkish cuisine.
1. Adana Kebab (Spicy Lamb Kebab)
Ingredients: – 1 lb of ground lamb – 1 onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, minced – 2 tablespoons of tomato paste – 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes – Salt and pepper to taste – Skewers for grilling
Instructions: 1. In a bowl, mix together the ground lamb, onion, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. 2. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. 3. Wet your hands and shape each portion into a long, thin sausage shape around a skewer. 4. Grill the kebabs over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.
2. Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplant)
Ingredients: – 4 eggplants – 1 onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, minced – 1 can of diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped – 1/4 cup of olive oil – Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 2. Cut off the tops of the eggplants and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. 3. Chop the eggplant flesh into small pieces. 4. In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 5. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. 6. Add the chopped eggplant, diced tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. 7. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. 8. Stuff the eggplant shells with the mixture and place them in a baking dish. 9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.
3. Balik Izgara (Grilled Fish)
Ingredients: – 4 fish fillets (such as sea bass or trout) – 1 lemon, sliced – 1/4 cup of olive oil – Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. 2. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. 3. Brush the fillets with olive oil. 4. Place the fish on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. 5. Serve with lemon slices.
Side dish recipes – to complement your main course
No meal is complete without some delicious side dishes to complement your main course. Here are some Turkish side dish recipes that are sure to impress.
1. Patates Salatasi (Potato Salad)
Ingredients: – 4 potatoes, boiled and diced – 1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped – 1/4 cup of olive oil – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice – Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. In a bowl, mix together the diced potatoes, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 2. Serve chilled.
2. Coban Salatasi (Shepherd’s Salad)
Ingredients: – 2 tomatoes, diced – 1 cucumber, diced – 1 onion, finely chopped – 1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped – 1/4 cup of olive oil – 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar – Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. In a bowl, mix together the diced tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. 2. Serve chilled.
3. Bulgur Pilavi (Bulgur Pilaf)
Ingredients: – 1 cup of bulgur – 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth – 1 onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, minced – 1/4 cup of olive oil – Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. 3. Add the bulgur and stir to combine. 4. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. 5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender. 6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dessert recipes – sweet treats to indulge in
No meal is complete without a sweet treat to finish things off. Turkish desserts are known for their use of nuts, honey, and spices, and are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Ingredients: – 1 lb of phyllo dough – 1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup of sugar – 1 tablespoon of cinnamon – 1/2 cup of butter, melted – 1/2 cup of honey
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. In a bowl, mix together the chopped walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. 3. Brush a 9×13 inch baking dish with melted butter. 4. Lay a sheet of phyllo dough in the dish and brush it with butter. 5. Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo. 6. Sprinkle a layer of the walnut mixture over the phyllo. 7. Repeat the layers of phyllo and walnut mixture until all the ingredients are used up. 8. Brush the top layer of phyllo with butter. 9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. 10. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. 11. Let cool before serving.
2. Tulumba (Fried Doughnuts)
Ingredients: – 1 cup of flour – 1/2 cup of water – 1/4 cup of butter – 1 tablespoon of sugar – 1/2 teaspoon of salt – Oil for frying – Honey for drizzling
Instructions: 1. In a pan, heat the water, butter, sugar, and salt over medium heat. 2. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and add the flour. 3. Stir until a smooth dough forms. 4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pan. 5. Using a pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner cut off, pipe the dough into long strips. 6. Fry the strips in the hot oil until golden brown. 7. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain. 8. Drizzle with honey before serving.
3. Sutlac (Rice Pudding)
Ingredients: – 1 cup of rice – 4 cups of milk – 1/2 cup of sugar – 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract – Cinnamon for garnish
Instructions: 1. In a pan, combine the rice, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. 2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened. 4. Pour the mixture into serving dishes and let cool. 5. Garnish with cinnamon before serving.
Turkish drinks to pair with your meal
To complete your Turkish dining experience, be sure to pair your meal with some traditional Turkish drinks.
1. Ayran (Yogurt Drink)
Ingredients: – 1 cup of plain yogurt – 1 cup of water – Salt to taste
Instructions: 1. In a blender, combine the yogurt, water, and salt. 2. Blend until smooth and frothy. 3. Serve chilled.
2. Turkish Tea
Ingredients: – 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves – 1 cup of boiling water – Sugar to taste
Instructions: 1. Place the tea leaves in a teapot. 2. Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves. 3. Let steep for 3-5 minutes. 4. Serve with sugar on the side.
Tips for cooking Turkish recipes at home
Now that we’ve covered some delicious Turkish recipes, here are some tips to help you cook them successfully at home:
- Invest in a good set of spices and herbs, such as cumin, coriander, and mint.
- Use fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations.
- Practice your grilling skills for perfectly cooked meats and vegetables.
- Don’t skimp on the olive oil – it’s a staple in Turkish cooking.
Where to find ingredients for Turkish recipes
If you’re having trouble finding some of the ingredients for your Turkish recipes, don’t worry – there are plenty of online retailers that specialize in Turkish and Middle Eastern ingredients. Some popular options include The Turkish Shop, Tulumba, and Best Turkish Food.
Conclusion and final thoughts
Turkish cuisine is a true delight for the taste buds, with its unique blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Whether you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, or seafood fan, there’s something for everyone in Turkish cooking.
From delicious meze appetizers to sweet treats like baklava and rice pudding, Turkish cuisine is sure to impress. Be sure to pair your meal with some traditional Turkish drinks, such as ayran and Turkish tea, for the complete dining experience.
With these tips and recipes, you’ll be able to cook delicious Turkish meals at home in no time. So why not give it a try and expand your culinary horizons?