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Shel_B

Turkish Spices – Istanbul Spice Market

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A couple of friends will be at the Istanbul Spice Market next week, and they have offered to pick up a few things for me.  I know next to nothing about Turkish spices, or the spices used in that general area of the world, so with experimentation and education in mind, what might be some spices that deserve attention?

 

I've already got my order in for sumac, Aleppo and Urfa peppers, and black cumin seeds.

 

Thanks!


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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I want to know too.  I will be there in June.  Also, does anyone know if it is legal to bring spices back?

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Yes, it is legal.  However, if you bring back large quantities (I don't know what defines "large") you may have to pay import duties.  My friends wrote : "Our guide buys a lot of spices when he returns to S.F., to the point he has to pay custom tax."


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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yeah you want pul biber and also isot, which is a deep roasted version that's much harder to find here.

 

Also ask them to get some really knockout biber salçası - which is sundried pepper paste. The stuff sold in jars here is so-so at best.  You might also ask for "7 türlü baharat" a mix of spices used commonly. Otherwise, spices used in Turkish food aren't that hard to obtain in the US

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For something that is not available in the US, maybe salep.

 

True salep in Turkey is not allowed to be exported - so make sure what you're getting is the real thing, if it's of interest

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What about zaatar? Can you find that easily where you are? If not, that's another to consider.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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What about zaatar? Can you find that easily where you are? If not, that's another to consider.

 

I'll look into that.  Not sure what zaatar is, so my education starts .... thanks!


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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Interesting. Is salep used in Turkey as a spice/condiment? In Israel it's basically a hot drink, it's called sahlav but I'm pretty sure it's the same thing. (I wonder if Israel gets theirs from Turkey.)

 

True salep in Turkey is not allowed to be exported - so make sure what you're getting is the real thing, if it's of interest

 

Edited to add this very nice link I just found: http://www.anissas.com/salep-or-sahlab-in-arabic-a-rare-ingredient/


Edited by cakewalk (log)

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Za'tar is not really used in Turkish cooking at all - it is much more Leb/Jordanian/etc

 

Sahlab/salep is not used as a spice, though it is used to thicken up ice cream and make it stretchy (mmmmm). That's the only other use of it I know besides the hot drink.

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Have your friends ask whichever merchant they deal with if they can buy the spices from the merchant's non-displayed stock.  While what is on display is very photogenic, it is also going to be exposed for some unknown time to air and whatever else might be circulating around a very crowded place.

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Just to add, regarding bringing spices back into the US from Istanbul, I visited there a short time ago and brought back quite a few spices, which received no special interest whatsoever from the US customs officials.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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By the way, if your friends can find real Iranian saffron, they should bring you that. Beware though that much of what's sold is really safflower, which looks notably different to the trained eye

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By the way, if your friends can find real Iranian saffron, they should bring you that. Beware though that much of what's sold is really safflower, which looks notably different to the trained eye

...or marigold petals, which also look different and which have no discernible flavor.

 

Is Iranian saffron better than Spanish saffron?  I always thought that Spain set the gold (heh) standard.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Nope. Iranian is pretty much the best. The highest grade is referred to as sargol, or "top of the flower", or as might be rendered in Turkish, sergül - and it's the best saffron I've ever used and now the only stuff I use (thank you trips to Lebanon and Dubai!)

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Didn't realise this; sorry for the suggestion everyone.

 

Eh... Plantes Vertes, wasn't meant as a slap (my apologies, if it came off that way), that was meant as a heads-up. It's something uknown to most people outside of Turkey.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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So, Shel_B, I see from your sumac topic that your friends have arrived back home. What did they bring in addition to the sumac? Tell us about your haul! :-)


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Apart from the sumac I received a good amount of Aleppo pepper.  It is now my favorite red pepper.  Much more flavorful than cayenne and the typical red pepper flakes that one often uses, and while packing some heat, it's not at all sharp or bitter.  I love the stuff and have promised myself to never be without it in my pantry.  I now have to start looking for a good supplier here in the States, although it will be a while before I need any.

 

I also received some Urfa peppers, and black cumin seeds.  I've not tried them as yet, but soon.

 

I don't consider this to be a "haul," just a nice amount of some new spices to play around with.

 

So, Shel_B, I see from your sumac topic that your friends have arrived back home. What did they bring in addition to the sumac? Tell us about your haul! :-)

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 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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Actually, what we call Aleppo pepper is typically known as Urfa biberi in Turkish - the more bright red stuff. When you say Urfa pepper, do you mean the really dark, almost black stuff? That's called İsot in Turkish.

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Actually, what we call Aleppo pepper is typically known as Urfa biberi in Turkish - the more bright red stuff. When you say Urfa pepper, do you mean the really dark, almost black stuff? That's called İsot in Turkish.

 

The really dark, almost black stuff.


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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