You can’t go wrong with Turkish food! This Mediterranean cuisine has something for everyone – from spicy meat-based dishes to sinfully sweet delicacies like baklava. Foods are often combined with Turkish yogurt or ayran, a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt, while Turkish coffee is an absolute must any time of the day!
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Though it was hard to select, here are the 10 Turkish foods you will absolutely adore.
Just when you thought that you’ve tried all possible ways to prepare eggs, you discover this Turkish food. Menemen is an unexpected combo of scrambled eggs and a veggie stew. To compose it, start by cooking tomatoes, peppers, and onions to a broth, then quickly whisk in the eggs, which are basically broiled by the heat of the veggie mixture. Optionally, you can add sausages or cheese. Serve menemen hot with bread on the side.
This traditional savory Turkish flatbread and pastry dish is made of hand-rolled leaves of simple, unleavened dough brushed with butter and eggs and then filled with various ingredients. The most common fillings include meats (minced beef, lamb, seafood, or sucuk sausage), veggies (spinach, potatoes, yams, eggplant, radish, zucchini, mushrooms, leek, onions, peppers, garlic), cheese, eggs, herbs, and spices. The dough pieces are sealed and cooked over a griddle, then served as a breakfast or snack.
Also known as Turkish meat pie or Turkish pizza, lahmacun is basically a crispy flatbread topped with minced meat (usually beef or lamb), combined with a salad (onions and cilantro are a must), lemon juice, and heavily seasoned. It can be wrapped, folded, or simply eaten by pulling it apart.
This Turkish food is not only delicious but also very easy to make! It is a puree made of red lentils and various spices, garnished with cilantro and complemented with lemon juice on the side. This fulfilling meal is rounded with slices of hot pita bread.
Dolma refers to all stuffed foods in Turkish cuisine. It uses a rice-based mixture with spices, nuts, and sometimes dried fruits to stuff vegetables like courgettes, bell peppers, cabbage leaves, or grape leaves. Istanbul and the bigger coastal towns offer more modern takes on this Turkish food, such as stuffed mussels, which are a street food staple in the country and favored by night owls.
This Turkish food is known as Şiş köfte or kebab. It is made of minced meat, usually lamb, mutton, beef, or veal combined with herbs, often mint and parsley, grilled on a skewer (şiş) Köfte dishes are usually served with ayran, salad, and/or pilav (read below).
Yogurt is one of the most beloved Turkish foods. Turks have been consuming it in large amounts (over 2 million tons a year) for over a millenum. It can be eaten plain, used to accompany many dishes like meats, salads, and soups, but also serve as a base for ayran.
Pilav is the Turkish version of roasted rice. If you are a fan of simple things, smother the buttery rice in yogurt or use it as a side dish for meaty dishes such as kofte. Probably the most popular pilav variety is Nohutlu Pilav, which means “rice with chickpeas”. This Turkish street food is composed of layers of rice and chickpeas topped with roasted chicken.
This dessert can be found in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is believed that it originated in Central Asia and spread throughout all Ottoman countries, all the way to Europe. The most delicious variety of this sweet Turkish food is made of fine filo pastry, soaked in honey, and covered in pistachio.
Turkish coffee and Turkish delight
The beautiful sweet cubes we know as Turkish delight are called ‘lokum’ in Turkey. They can be found in many flavors, shapes, sizes, and colors but probably the most authentic variety is the one flavored with rosewater, once a very popular ingredient in Ottoman desserts. Lokum is dusted with coconut flakes or icing sugar and sold in beautiful boxes to take home as a souvenir.
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Turkish delight is often served alongside Turkish coffee at the end of a meal. Kahve, as the Turks call it, first appeared in Istanbul in the 16th century, and ‘conquered’ many of the Balkan countries where it is still served on a daily basis.
I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!