Take a look at some of the top eats and treats that Turkey has to offer!
Kofta are the Turkish version of meatballs. Minced beef or lamb is mixed with onions and a selection of spices before being shaped as balls or patties and cooked. A 2005 study found that Turkey boasts over 291 different varieties of kofta, so there are clearly many variations on the recipe! Kofta are often served as a side dish or starter with salad or yogurt dip.
This dish is a popular Turkish pudding, despite the inclusion of a rather unusual ingredient. At one time this pudding made with milk and chicken was a delicacy served to sultans. To make it chicken breast meat is boiled until softened and fibrous (or pounded into a fine paste) and then mixed with milk, cracked rice, sugar and spices like cinnamon. The result is a thick white pudding which can be shaped.
In Turkish cuisine Börek is the generic term used to describe the nation’s many different types of layered pastries with savoury fillings. The pastry used in the making of Börek is typically the crisp and flaky yufka (like the Greek filo) and the filling can vary from vegetables to white cheese to minced meat. Börek are commonly topped with sesame seeds. Su böregi has a filling of parsley, feta cheese and oil is one the most popular kinds of Börek in Turkey.
Pilaf (Pilav in Turkish)
Pilaf is a hugely important part of Turkish food culture and is a common feature in special event meals as well as everyday cooking. Simply speaking, Pilaf is rice. Rice which is sorted, washed, soaked in salt water, drained, sautéed in butter and then cooked with stock (beef, chicken or vegetable). Once cooked the pilaf should be left for around 15 minutes to develop the right consistency. In some areas of Turkey pilaf is served with meat or vegetables stirred through it.
Asure (Noah’s Pudding)
Asure is one of Turkey’s oldest and most popular puddings but there’s no real set recipe for it as people tend to add in or take away ingredients according to taste. Preparing and eating Noah’s Pudding during ‘asure month’ is a way of commemorating the great tale of Noah’s ark. The story of Noah is important in Turkey as it is believed that when the flood waters abated the ark rested on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey. Asure pudding typically contains dried fruits, nuts, spices, barely and rice but has also been known to feature white kidney beans and chickpeas.
Çay is Turkish tea which is domestically cultivated on the coast of the Black Sea. In Turkey tea is an important part of culture and there are several ceremonial acts around tea serving. Turkish tea is always served black and is brewed in a very particular fashion. Tea is typically drunk from small tulip-shaped glasses, rather than cups, so the drinker can see the colour and strength of the beverage.