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Looking for some good Turkish recipes.

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I love the challenge of trying to make dishes for people that are a little homesick. I was wondering if anyone could help me with either some authentic Turkish recipes or at least the names of some dishes. I have a friend who was born and raised in Turkey and I want to suprise them with some good home cooking. The 2 things that make this a little challenging is that I live in rural Wisconsin so sourcing some the more unique ingrediants may take awhile and secondly they are a good cook themselves so it raises the bar of how good my dishes need to be. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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We have a small Turkish Community in my area, and I've heard nothing but good things about Sultan's Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook. The online reviews seem to suggest that it is remarkably authentic. Unfortunately -- or fortunately if you're me -- there are so many respectable Turkish restaurants in my area that I have not yet had to try out this cookbook.

If you are worried about ingredients and sourcing, you can preview some of the recipes here for free. It's obviously not the complete book, but will give you a good idea what you are getting yourself into.

Edited by Batard (log)

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One of my favorite dishes is Turkish carrot salad. it's grated carrots cooked in Olive oil, then mixed with yoghurt & minced garlic - so good & you should be able to get all the ingredients locally. There are a bout a dozen versions available online any of which should be fine I'd think.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I lived for years with some lovely folks from Izmir. Turkey is huge, the Mediterranean people and the Southeastern region having different cooking styles, as do the north: you get the point!! So no one "Turkish" cuisine, but certainly some no-miss favorites!

They ate delightful food that was simple and could be easily cooked by you in Wisconsin. The husband ate huge bowlsful of lettuce dressed with lemon juice, with or without salt or olive oil, every night as an After Dinner snack, TRUE!!

Dinner was excellent, a simple PIAZ or PILAKI, either starting from a base of white beans, cannellini or navy beans gently cooked in a crock pot to tenderness with a bay leaf. For PIAZ, the hot beans are mixed into a "dressing" of sliced red onions, good sherry or red wine vinegar [please check if they have Islamic prohibitions, some Turks are very broad minded, beer etc.], olive oil, salt etc.

For Pilaki, you cook onions in olive oil, add good tomato sauce, add beans. Serve with PILAF: good LUNDBERG or basmati long grain rice sauteed with onions in oil, HEAVY non-stick skillet with cover, add same volume of water; simmer covered 20 min. See if too dry, sprinkle more water, steam if needed. OR, medium grain white rice or Turkish baldo rice, ditto. OR, medium bulgur, ditto.

With that, serve zucchini fritters: grate zuke, salt lightly, squeeze dry: egg, dill, bit flour, small patties, pan fry in non-stick skillet.

Halloumi cheese from Cyprus, cut in chunks, shallow fry, until brown on top ad melted inside [if available]

That salad or any fresh salad, with grape or cherry tomato.

Wisconsin : Nolechek all-beef hot dogs: ask if they have HALAL issues, but many Turks love hot dogs even fried as octopods, cut in half, then scored on ends!!

Split red lentil soup: wash and drain. Heat pure [not evoo] olive oil, add chopped onion, sscant garlic, saute, add lentil, stir until color change, add bay leaf + bit of good tomato puree or fresh tomato, maybe even a bit carrot, stir, add water cook covered until tender. Salt. Remove bay. Partially whizz with hand blender. Serve with lemons and Rice pilaf. Maybe even sliced ripe avocado, though not Turkish.

You can always find phyllo dough, frozen. If you want to make burek, then that is also very easy. Ask here, if you feel up to it. A few of the above should give you a simple Turkish dinner.

If Halal is no issue, and frequently is not, honeycomb tripe cooked in a pressure cooker or crock pot, with some chopped onion and a tiny bit of bay leaf makes a soup loved by males, during & post drinking. Served with garlic finely chopped into olive oil, maybe some hot sauce, and that ever-present lettuce & lemon juice. Never saw ladies partake. You need to fish out the tripe, chop it up and return to soup, skim off fat. Maybe offer a peppermill on the side.

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I have The Sultan's Kitchen and can attest that it has good recipes, although I wouldn't know whether they're authentic. Two of my favorites are Sultan's Delight, a lamb tomato stew, served over creamed eggplant (hunkar begendi, pardon the spelling). Lamb and eggplant are available year-round in Duluth now, so maybe they'd be available to you as well.

If you want to see what those dishes look like, go to this post from my food blog.

Edited to add: their Circassian Chicken is also quite good. Since my other Turkish cookbooks have a similar dish I think it must be considered standard fare. I do tone down the cayenne a bit, however; The Sultan's Kitchen's version is pretty hot.

Edited by Smithy (log)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I also have Sultan's Kitchen, but haven't cooked from it. However, I have made the zucchini fritters from Claudia Roden's Arabesque and they are terrific.

Here is a link to that recipe. I probably increased the garlic and dill.

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I was away from home with my laptop when this was initially posted and I did not have access to all the bookmarks on my home computer.

I have been cooking from this website of Turkish home cooking for a few years and have prepared several of the breads, especially the rustic bread and the breakfast buns.

I have tried a couple of the kebab recipes but have mostly used the vegetable and various pilaf recipes.

I have also tried a few of the dairy desserts because I am particularly fond of them.

One of my oldest friends (a southern gal) is married to a Turkish man who shuttles regularly between there and here and I was very hesitant about serving them my experiments. However, my friend encouraged me and my modest efforts were pronounced pretty good, considering that I did not have access to the truly authentic ingredients. My friend does little cooking herself, actually has a cook, so thinks I did an excellent job and says her husband is "very exacting."

Of the meat dishes, the stuffed zucchini, the lamb and vegetable casserole and the Sultan's Pleasure are my favorites. They are both relatively easy and while they do take some time, they can be prepared in stages.

If nothing else, try the Chicken Tava. It is one of the tastiest chicken dishes I have ever eaten.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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  • 4 weeks later...

For ingredients, most things are not all that exotic, but there are a few really important things; if you can't find them locally, you can order from http://www.bestturkishfood.com/. Some of the things you really should go authentic on are:

Pepper and pepper paste. Maraş pepper and isot have really unique flavors that are very different from the flake peppers typically found in the US. And pepper paste is one of those things that are indispensible, without it, it just doesn't taste Turkish. Most of the commercial ones are unfortunately tasteless, but Tukaş brand is quite decent (they carry it).

Yufka for böreks. Many cookbooks talk about "phyllo" but Turkish prepared yufka is a very different product from the Greek stuff. It's thicker and softer, almost like a very very thin bread that is undercooked. (Of course the best is to roll your own and it's not as difficult as people think but it does take some time and practice.)

Fine bulgur . If you can't find it locally, coarse is not a good substitute. It's used especially in kısır, Turkey's answer to tabbouleh (but really a very different flavor).

If I can help with any specific recipes, feel free to drop a line. Have fun!

Edited to add: Tripe is no problem as long as it doesn't come from a pig! Here tripe soup is generally made from lamb/sheep tripe. I can't get near it. :blink: Lots of Turkish people can't either so ask before you go to the trouble!

Edited by sazji (log)

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-Lea de Laria

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