Soups are a must for winter meals. While many different ingredients can be
used, the favourite ones are lentils, tomatoes and rice. One of the traditional
soups is tarhana which is composed of many vegetables
(onion, pepper, tomatoes etc.), flour, yeast, yogurt etc. Traditionally, it is
prepared in bulk and then dehydrated and stored for a year or more. The exact
composition of tarhana differs from region to region in Turkey.
Appetizers are not a normal part of Turkish cuisine, but if Turks are
drinking raki, they will eat meze, served in small dishes. These are similar
to tapas and can be all kinds of preserved fish, seafood and vegetables.
Cold mezes are served at the begining and followed by the hot ones such
as small boreks or fried seafood.
Meat dishes are usually cooked in the pot with different vegetables. Grilling is also a
very common way of preparing meat. In the past lamb was the main meat favoured by
Turks. Today, with a healthy diet in fashion, veal is more commonly served. Chicken and
turkey products are also an important part of the daily diet.
Fish is not as abundant as it used to be, but still it’s possible to find fresh and
delicious fish in major cities and in seaside towns. In Turkish cuisine, fish is usually
grilled or fried, and served with lemon juice rather than more elaborate sauces.
Desserts are very important to Turks, many of whom feel a meal is incomplete
without them. While not unique to Turkey, baklava is the country's best known
dessert; Gaziantep baklava is particularly prized. Turkish cuisine offers a number of
other pastries, most of which feature walnuts or pistachios. Milk desserts are also
very famous in Turkish culture, as are fruit-based desserts (quince and fig are common
incredients). Yogurt, bulgur, tarhana (spiced and dried yogurt) and yufka (filo pastry)
are very important ingredients of Turkish cuisine.
In Turkish cuisine, manti is a very
traditional meal. Although there are many
different variations of manti -in terms of
shape and way of serving- the most praised
type of manti is known as Kayseri Mantisi
(a special kind of manti belongs to Kayseri
which is a city of Turkey). The
characteristics of Kayseri Manti are that it is
very tiny and it is served with yoghurt, oil
(caramelized with tomato paste) and
seasonings. Manti is made from shredded
meat of quail or chicken in some regions of
Alcoholic raki comes close to being the national drink. Similar to Greek ouzo, it has a less
syrupy taste, so it is not only good as an aperitif, but it accompanies the mezzes and fish
perfectly as well. A good meal is usually sealed with Turkish coffee, often accompanied
with Turkish Delight, known to Turks as lokum. Tea is also served after meals.
Two different types of kettles are used to
make the Turkish black tea. They are a big
one and a small one. The big kettle must
be made out of metal and the small one
should be made out of metal or ceramic.
First fill the big kettle with water and
place it on the stove. Then put the black
tea into the small kettle and place the
small kettle on top of the big kettle. Light
the stove. While the water is boiling in
the big kettle, the small kettle will be
warmed as well.
After the water boiled, you should put
this water in the small kettle where there
you have the black tea. The tea will be
ready and cooked in 15 minutes. You will
observe this when the tea stays at the
bottom of the kettle and this means that
the tea can be served. In Turkey black tea
is generally drank in special glass cups as
a Turkish tradition rather than mugs.
Making Turkish black
tea like the Turks
Turkish coffee is a traditional
drink made from Arabian
Mocha beans in a brass or
copper pot called cezve. The
added sugar during brewing
results in a sweet, syrupy
drink. Turkish coffee is
brought to a boil three
Place 2 teaspoons of coffee and 1
teaspoon of sugar in the cezve. Add
1/4 cup water for each demitasse (
the small cups used for traditional
Turkish coffee as shown in the
picture across). Stir to dissolve
sugar. As the coffee boils, foam will
rise to the rim of the cezve. Then
pour the coffee into demitasse
In Turkey we would say:
"Good Appetite" or "Enjoy Your Meal’’