This traditional Turkish pastry is often stuffed with salty white cheese, minced beef or spinach.
Alternatively known as sac boregi, pastry cooked on a sac, a hot convex metal plate, gozleme are flat savory pockets usually filled with salty white cheese, spinach or minced beef.
Although often considered village food, it takes expert handling to roll out the paper-thin dough without tearing it.
The word goz means “eye”, and the name gozleme is believed to come from the dark spots that form as the pastry cooks and absorbs the oil on the sac, forming “eyes.”
A type of flatbread made from stretched out dough balls stretched and inserted with a range of fillings.
Pide are a firm favorite among Turks, with some of the tastiest originating in the Black Sea region. Here dough balls are stretched out into an elongated base and loaded with a choice of fillings.
The most popular is sucuklu yumurta, spicy Turkish sausage and egg mixed with kasar (yellow sheep cheese) but ispanakli kasar, spinach with cheese, is equally good.
It’s the crust that makes pide a winner. Cooked in a wood-fired oven, the high temperature produces a crisp crunchy base ideal for all types of ingredients.
This savory pastry is made by layering sheets of a dough named “yufka” and adding a filling of white cheese.
Borek, a savory pastry made from layering sheets of a fine filo-like dough called yufka, is a staple of the high plateaus of central Anatolia.
It was brought to Turkey by nomadic herders hundreds of years ago, and different varieties can be found all over the country and throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Su boregi, meaning “water borek” is the most commonly available, relying on white cheese, butter, olive oil and salt for flavor.
If a country can be said to run on its stomach, simit is the fuel that keeps Turkey going. They’re sold everywhere, by street vendors carrying baskets or pushing carts, in bakeries and cafes, at tram, train and metro stations and even on ferries.
It’s believed simit were created in the palace kitchens of Suleyman the Magnificent in the 1500s, but no official records exist.
In October 2019, the word simit was officially recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary and the rest, as they say, is history.
Lahmacun is commonly referred to as Turkish Pizza.
According to Ottoman explorer Evliya Celebi, who roamed far and wide in the 17th century, lahmacun takes its name from the Arabic word lahm-i acinli.
It’s a type of pastry made from lahm, meat in Arabic and ajin, paste. The paste consists of low fat mince mixed with tomato paste, garlic and spices smeared on a thin round of pita dough and can be made spicier on request.
Served with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, Turks have been eating this dish for more than 300 years.
Cig kofte — a raw meatball dish in which the meat is usually substituted with bulgur and/or ground walnuts.
Cig kofte originates from Sanliurfa, taking its name from the original recipe using raw (cig) ground beef, combined with bulgur, tomato paste, onions garlic, pepper and Turkish spices.
The mix was kneaded until it was declared ready, determined by throwing a piece up to the ceiling. When it stuck there it was done.
These days the meat has been wholly replaced by bulgur and sometimes ground walnuts, making for a healthier, but equally tasty choice.
The people of Gaziantep, also known as Antep, in Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Region, know the best baklava is made in a darkened room with a controlled temperature perfect for stacking the 40 sheets of tissue-like pastry that go into this Turkish culinary icon.
First each sheet is brushed with butter, and ground pistachios are sprinkled over every few layers. Then a honeyed syrup is poured over the contents, and the pastry is baked until golden.
Different versions have enticing names such as twisted turban, nightingale’s nest, saray or palace baklava, and are all equally irresistible. Baklava can be enjoyed plain or with a dollop of kaymak, Turkey’s answer to clotted cream.
Dondurma is made from milk and sahlep, a flour made from the tubers of orchids, and mastic.
Where can you find ice cream you can eat with a knife and fork?
In Kahramanmaras, home of traditional Turkish dondurma, of course. Traditional dondurma (which means freezing in Turkish) is made from milk and two special ingredients, sahlep and mastic.
Sahlep is a type of flour produced from orchids that provides a smooth velvety finish to the ice cream, while the mastic, a natural gum, adds a unique chewiness.
Also known as Turkish Delight, Lokum dates back centuries.
Lokum, known in English as Turkish Delight, dates back centuries. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that it became a hit with the Ottoman sultans.
That’s when corn starch was invented and Istanbul confectioner Haci Bekir added it to the list of ingredients.
This simple combination of water, starch and sugar, boiled together to produce delicate cubes flavored with rose water, pistachio and other flavors continues to delight.
This Afyonkarahisar dessert is made from a special type of dehydrated bread with a consistency similar to crumpets.
The bread is placed on a large tray and steeped in water to make it expand. Then it’s covered in a syrup made of sugar, water and lemon and simmered on the stove.
The syrup is constantly spooned back over the bread to infuse it with a sweet sticky texture. When read, it’s turned upside down onto a serving dish and eaten with kaymak, thick Turkish cream.