Next stop on our Mediterranean trip: Turkey! The country has a lot to offer in culinary terms. Turkish cuisine is clear proof that a wide variety of national cuisines can be harmoniously combined. It contains influences from the nomadic Turkic peoples, the Indian, Islamic, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. The most well-known essential recipes are the appetizers known as meze, bread that is served with every meal, the various kebab dishes, kofte, and of course lahmacun, the Turkish pizza. Strong black tea and coffee are drunk. The most important ingredients of Turkish cuisine.
If you feel like swinging the cooking spoon yourself and cooking in a typically Turkish way, then get started with our top 12 ingredients of Turkish cuisine!
The golden grain “with a migration background” should not be missing as a side dish or filling in Turkish recipes. Bulgur is easy to prepare and, like pasta and rice, versatile – but keeps you full longer and is a lot healthier. By the way: Bulgur is not to be confused with couscous. Native to North Africa, the grain consists of moistened durum wheat semolina ground into small balls, while Asian bulgur consists of pre-cooked durum wheat or spelled. A particularly popular Turkish dish with bulgur: kisir, or bulgur salad.
Legumes are simply essential in Turkish cuisine. In addition to white beans, the most important representatives are chickpeas and red lentils! Large white beans, with plenty of olive oil, are an integral part of many meze dishes, and one of Turkey’s national dishes, kuru fasulye (white bean stew), is a must-have.
A good salça belongs in every good Turkish kitchen. The tomato or paprika paste should not be confused with normal, pure tomato paste, because it is elaborately cooked and refined with many spices. It is sometimes spicy, sometimes mild, and sometimes strongly or less strongly seasoned. So every salça is a bit different and provides the typical Mediterranean touch in Turkish recipes.
Just as in Italian cuisine, olive oil also plays an important role in Turkish dishes. But above all the pickled olives, in all their green and black color nuances, have an unmistakable taste in Turkey. And they belong on every dining table, especially for breakfast!
Baklava, Börek, Gözleme – all these delicious dough specialties are made from the so-called Yufka dough. Yufka is similar to traditional puff pastry but much thinner and less greasy. It is either freshly prepared and rolled out, which is relatively laborious or bought ready-made and then processed with ingredients such as feta cheese or spinach.
Yogurt and pide, Turkish flatbread, are the basics of any Turkish meal. It is even said that the term “yogurt” derives its name from the Turkish “yoğurt”, which means “curdled milk”. In any case, in Turkey, it is used in a wide variety of dishes and is also part of the national drink, the Ayran. The refreshing summer drink consists only of water, yogurt and a little salt and can be prepared at home in no time at all.
My mom always says Turkish tomatoes just taste different. And it’s true – if you walk across a Turkish bazaar, the sliced tomatoes simply have a more intense color, a more aromatic scent, a more intense taste! Accordingly, Turkish cuisine is not complete without tomatoes. There are a few recipes that don’t have a place for them.
Anyone who has ever ordered “spicy kebabs” will surely have developed a taste for Pul Biber. The Turkish chili flakes can be found in every Turkish spice rack and should be a strong dark orange to red, smell of paprika, and turn your fingers red when rubbed. Only with aromatic Pul Biber does the right seasoning come into play!
It is safe to say that Turkish culture brought sheep’s cheese to Germany. Luckily, because it is now also welcome in many German and international dishes! The Turkish feta cheese belongs in dumplings, Börek, and appetizers, but above all on the breakfast plate.
Turkish mint, nane , denotes a spice made from dried mint leaves. Just like Pul Biber, you can get it in the spice shelves of all Turkish supermarkets. Nane has less menthol than the peppermint that is common in Germany and refines various salads or the popular cacik (tzatziki) in Turkish cuisine with a gentle mint aroma.
Karnıyarık consists of eggplant stuffed with ground beef and is one of the most popular dishes in Turkey. But even in addition to this classic, the aubergine can be found again and again in Turkish cuisine: pureed as aubergine cream or with delicious appetizers, combined with yoghurt.
Last but not least: the onion. It is one of the most important ingredients in most Turkish dishes and can be found in all shapes and colors in Turkish markets. You’ll find them in the meze dishes, in the menemen that’s a classic breakfast dish, along with tomatoes, peppers and eggs, and in the many delicious soups, stews and salads. The onion simply cannot be missing in Turkish cuisine!