Those who follow me know that, as a rule of thumb, I eat as little as possible. I hate to put on weight and, as a result, am practically constantly on a diet. I believe that my stomach has already shrunk, so dieting is no hardship, it comes naturally. But, no rule without exceptions and in Turkey it’s particularly tempting to throw caution to the wind. Which I do, now and again, and with a vengeance! I have been know, on occasions, to polish off other people’s dishes in addition to my own leaving everybody who knows about my ‘no food rule ‘ open mouthed. Great fun! What would life be like without surprises.
Here is a list of my favorite Turkish dishes and meals. Does your mouth start watering?
The ingredients and number of dishes consumed for breakfast in Turkey vary from region to region. Van, in the east is famous for its breakfast which consist of hot and cold dishes. If you eat them all, it’ll last you all day. But, the basics are always the same: bread, butter, home made thick marmalades, honey, yoghurt, boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, slices tomatoes and a variety of olives. Accompanied by gallons of Turkish teas fresh from the urn.
I love pide, the Turkish pizza. Only, the dough is paper thin and crusty and the toppings are minced meat and vegetables with melted cheese. There is also a vegetarian variety and very rarely – shrimps.
The most succulent of kebabs was invented by the Bursa cook Iskender, who, one day, had the bright idea to put his spit vertically instead of horizontally to enable him to cut off thinner slices of meat. Sprinkled with butter and yoghurt on a bed of Turikish bread and accompanied with salad, the Iskender kebab is a hit ever since.
Often translated as ‘meatballs’ Turkish köfte are anything but bland. Spices are added to the minced meat which charcoal grilled is juicy and tasty. I like to eat my köfte with yoghurt and salad.
Stews are popular in Turkey and the lamb stew is the best. It comes in a sauce of onions, tomatoes and the ever popular aubergines. Simmered for hiurs, the meat melts in your mouth.
This snack is a specialty of Istanbul. Filets of fish are grilled at colorful stalls under the Galata bridge in Istanbul, then slapped into a cut open bun and ‘adorned’ with a variety of pickles. Eaten on the steps of the bridge or sitting on some rickety chairswhich stand around, they are a healthy, tasty and filling snack. Not to mention cheap!
I have a sweet tooth and like all kinds of Turkish sweets, from fruit flavored Turksih delight to walnut stuffed dates, but Künefe is my absolute favorite when home made. Think sweet, melted cheese with a topping made like the threads of baklava, honey drizzled over it and you get the idea. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it has about 1000 calories per spoonful, but who is counting?
I love the Turkish ‘fast food’ restaurants, where all the dishes are prepared and presented on hot buffets. You look, point, get served, add your drink and enjoy.