Cuisine – Turkey

Turkish food and drink are one of the many pleasures of visiting Turkey. Find out below the ingredients that make up Turkish cuisine and learn about some of the typical dishes.

A distinctive feature of Turkey’s home cooking is that you start with cooking the meat, gradually adding all other ingredients. At the end of the cooking process, you will have completely finished the course in one saucepan. This method saves time, especially if you work from scratch.

Typical Turkish cuisine consists of plenty of fresh vegetables, eaten raw, roasted or stewed with meat in terracotta pots with lots of garlic, onions, oil and spices. The basic ingredients are:

  • Meats - pork, beef, lamb, chicken and fish.
  • Dairy products – the main dairy product used is plain yogurt. In general it is prepared from cows milk, but it can be made from sheep milk or buffalo-cow milk, which are thought of as being much more tasty than cow milk.
  • Cheese – there are two main kinds: Feta (white cheese) which is in two types, cow feta and sheep feta. In Turkey it is most common to use cow feta in cooking and sheep feta to eat uncooked. Yellow cheese is also eaten according to western style.
  • Cereals - rice, corn, beans, lentils.
  • Vegetables - potatoes, cabbage(green and red), carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, egg plants, cucumbers, garlic, zucchini, pumpkin, onions (yellow and green, peas, celery, spinach, cauliflower, lima beans, lettuce, radishes, turnip, gumbo, mushrooms, olives.
  • Fruits - cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, watermelons, melons, grapes, and quinces
  • Nuts - peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chestnuts.
  • Spices - parsley, mint, paprika.
  • Herbs - many different, from thyme to milfoil. They are also used in cooking and for herb teas.

Little by little European foods like pasta and mayonnaise and other products not produced in Turkey are being used. Turkish cuisine is slowly changing to a mixture of typical Turkish food blended with food common to the rest of the world.

In the restaurants you may eat steaks, chops, hamburgers, usually roasted, broiled or barbequed and garnished with potatoes, beans, salad and a Turkish sauce called luttennitza. In the larger cities there are special restaurants offering fried chicken, fish, pizza and spaghetti. In the capital Sofia you can also taste German, Russian, Italian, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese food.

Travelling in the countryside you can find 'kebbabchetta' and 'kyuftetta' which are Turkish barbequed hamburgers shaped into rectangular or round portions.

Alcohol – There is no restriction on the sale and use of alcohol in Turkey. The famous local anis drink is Raki and is widely drunk in Turkey.

Typical Turkish Dishes

  • Shopska salata - chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers sprinkled with sirene (Turkish white cheese)+
  • Snezhanka –thick, creamy yoghurt with chopped cucumber or gherkins, walnuts and garlic
  • Kyopulo - roasted aubergines, peppers, loads of garlic and parsley
  • Soups are also a very important element in the Turkish menu:
  • Bob Chorba - traditional bean soup with plenty of herbs
  • Shkembe Chorba - tripe soup with garlic, vinegar and chili
  • Tarator - cold yoghurt and cucumber soup. Turkey2s like their meat - mainly pork (svinsko), Veal (teleshko) and chicken (pile)- grilled, fried or as a stew
  • Kavarma - meat and vegetable stew, usually served in individual pots
  • Gyuvech - stewed chunks of vegetables and lamb
  • Kyufteta - spicy meat balls/ hamburgers
  • Kebapcheta - spicy mince meat, sausage shaped, grilled
  • Chushki byurek - fried peppers stuffed with egg and cheese
  • Sirene po shopski - white cheese, egg, tomatoes and peppers baked in a pot.
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