Turkish Cooking

Before we get onto any recipes it would first be a good idea to go over the list of the most common spices used in Turkish cookery.

Allspice - Kofte Bahari

Flavour is reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cinnamon - Tarcin

Sweet, warm, nutty, pleasantly scented; in sticks or ground.

Cumin - Kimyon

Strong aroma of the spice is a perfect for many vegetable dishes and salads. Hot, slightly bitter, ground or as whole seeds.

Fennel Seed - Anason Tohumu

Warm, sweet, liquorice-like; seeds can be used whole or ground.

Ginger - Zencefil

Spicy-sweet, hot; available fresh, ground or in crystalised chunks.

Garlic - Sarimsak

Garlic is used throughout the Middle East, and valued for its health properties as well as flavour.


Sweet, warm; whole or ground.

Paprika - Paprika

Rich, earthy flavour; ground in hot, mild and sweet varieties. Although it is often associated with Eastern Europe it’s widely used in the Middle East in soups, meat dishes, salad dressings, mezes and garnishes.

Peppercorns- Karabiber

Hot, biting; best when freshly ground.

Red Pepper Flakes - Kirmizi Pul Biber

Spicy, warm; may be mild or intense; also may be called crushed red pepper.

Saffron - Safran

This really expensive spice derived from the a type of orchid plant. It adds a nice color and flavor to the dishes.

Basil - Feslegen

Taste offers hints of mint, cloves, anise; dried is more pungent than fresh.

Bay Leaf - Defne Yapragi

Slightly bitter, aromatic; intensifies when dried.

Dill - Dereotu

Light, mild, lemony; fresh offers more punch than dried.

Mint - Nane

Cool, refreshing; significantly more flavorful fresh.


Strong, peppery; usually used in conjunction with other seasonings; stronger dried then fresh.

Parsley - Maydanoz

Grassy, aromatic; fresh available with curly or flat leaves; flat-leaf is more flavorful then curly, both more then so dried.


Smoky, woodsy, vaguely bitter; taste strengthens when dried.

Sumac - Sumak

These dried edible berries crushed to a powder and are delicious sprinkled on kebabs or fresh salad.

Thyme - Bir cesit Kekik

Sweet, lemony- minty; fresh more pungent, but dried retains flavour well.
Eating plays a very important role in Turkish peoples lives. The evening meal is especially so, its where all the family members enjoy being together and have a chat. If the meal is served on a single plate instead of individual plates, you are supposed to eat what is just in front of you.

The culinary art in Turkey is made of a great variety of delicious dishes which are a mixture of various delicacies inherited from different regions of the vast Ottoman Empire.

Among the different parts of Turkish cooking, the most notable are

Hors d oeuvres (Meze)

Pastries (Borek) pastries filled with meat, cheese or vegetables

Stuffed vegetables and vine leaves (dolma)

Broiled or roasted meat dishes (kebab or kofte)

Different kinds of rice dishes (Pilav)

and finally vegetables cooked in olive oil (Zeytinyagli)

A proper Turkish meal is always polished off with a dessert and finally Turkish coffee.

I have selected the most popular recipes and typically ones that beginners will be able to handle.
Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat - Etli Yaprak Dolmasi

1/2 kilo fresh grape leaves or alternatively you can purchase them in jars or cans,

1 cup long grain rice,

2 pinches of salt,

1-2 large onions, finely chopped,

2 cloves of garlic, crushed,

2 Tbs finely chopped parsley,

pinch of ground allspice,

pinch of ground black pepper,

3 Tbs of good quality olive oil,

250gr of ground meat (chicken, beef or lamb),

juice of 1 to 2 lemons,

2 cups chicken stock,


Trim the stems of the grape leaves. Place them in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with cold water.

Soak the rice in salted hot water for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile saute the chopped onions, garlic, herbs and seasoning in the oil.

Remove from the heat, add the drained rice and the meat, mixing everything together very well.

Place a grape leave on a work surface, shiny side down, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture near the stem end, then fold in the end and sides and roll up neatly.

Repeat this process untill all the leaves are stuffed.

Line the bottom of a large, heavy based pot with several grape leaves, then arrange the filled rolls in stacks with lemon slices between.

Pour in the stock, add small dabs of butter on the top.

Place a heat proof dish on the top layer to keep the rolls pressed down.

Cover with a lid and simmer slowly for 1 to 2 hours, or untill the leaves are tender.

Serve the "dolma" lukewarm, sprinkled with lemon juice.

Alternatively, you may prefer to serve with a garlic, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Garnish with halved lemon slices.

Note: Alternatives to this recipe are minus the meat, just a plain rice and seasoning dolma, with or without chicken stock. The plain dolma are just a nice cold.
Red Lentil Soup - Ezo Gelin Corbasi

1 cup red lentils,

1.5 cups chopped onions,

1 Tbs of tomato paste

4 tablespoons butter

6 cups chicken or meat stock,

2 Tbs flour,

1-2 egg yolks,
1 cup of milk,

salt to flavour,

Red lentils do not require soaking, they cook pretty fast.

Wash and drain the lentils and keep them on the side until the other ingredients are ready to be used all together.

Saute the onions in half of the butter until golden brown. Add the stock, tomato paste and bring to a boil, add the lentils and simmer on slow heat until they are very soft.

Put the lentils in a strainer and seperate the skin.

Melt the remaining butter in a pan, add the flour and stirring for around 3 minutes or until golden brown.

While stirring constantly pour in the soft strained lentils.

Simmer the soup on very low heat for 3 minutes while whisking the egg yolk with milk and later adding the mixture with salt to the soup.

Keep the heat going, but not boiling the soup.

The soup thickens as it stands, if you like a less thicker soup you could always add water or stock later.

Note: this soup can also be prepared with some red pepper granules to add a hotter flavour.
Bulgur Pilavi - Bulgur Rice

This has to be one of my favourites and commonly found as a small side portion with main meals.

If you have one of those steam machines, this recipe is ideal and guarantees perfect results everytime.

2 glasses bulgur (boiled and pounded wheat),

4 tablespoons margarine,

3 medium size onions,

1 large tomato (peeled and chopped),

3 glasses meat stock,

1/2 Tbs salt.

Chop the onions finely, brown them in margarine. Add the washed and drained bulgur. Brown them stirring constantly for 15 minutes.

Add the salt, chopped tomato and meat stock. Mix well. Cover with a lid and boil on medium heat for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to a minimum and cook until all the stock has been absorbed. Mix well with a wooden spoon and serve.

Note: To cook this dish in a steamer, brown the onions in margarine and when browned, add all ingredients to the steamer and steam for 35-40 mins.

This is an ideal side order recipe and will be welcomed with kofte, kebabs and steaks or chicken dishes - a good all rounder and makes a change from boiled rice!
Pilav--- Rice

I thought i would add how u make turkish rice as it is a important dish in the turkish cookery.
it can be maid in many diffirent ways but i have just put the recepie for plain rice


2 glasses of rice
3tablespoons of butter
3 glasses of water (best of its with chocken boullion)
2 traspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with hot water and a little bit of salt. Let it stand for about 25-30min till the water is cool.
Wash and drain the rice well.
Melt the butter in a pot.
Add the water, stock, salt and sugar.
When it starts to boil, put the rice down on the lowest level and let it simmer for about 15min.
When the water its gone, turn of the heat and let it stand for another 15min.
Mix well before serving
Yayla Corbasi---- Youghurt Soup

Soup is often served in the beginnin of the meal, and i thought i would write one of my favorite soups!

8 glasses of chicken or meat stock
80 gr flour
80 gr rice (dont need to put it in)
3 glasses of youghurt
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of dried mint

Boil the rice in 8 glasses of meat or chicken stock, on low heat.
Mix the youghurt with the egg yolks and flour.
Stirr constantly and add 2 glasses of boiling stock, and after mixing it well add it to the rest of the stock with rice.
Let it simmer for about 10min, and add the butter.
Add the dried mint, and let it simmer for a couple of minuts and then serve
Kadin Budu Kofte - Ladies Thigh Croquettes

1/2 kilo ground beef,

1 cup of pre-cooked white rice,

1.5 cups grated or very finely chopped onions,

1/2 bunch chopped fresh parsley,

1-2 cups flour,

4 eggs,

Salt and blackpepper,

Frying oil.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except the flour and 3 of the eggs).

Shape the mixture into equal sizes of oval meatballs.

Press them down in the middle to flatten them out.

Dip the meatballs in flour until covered well.

Mix the remaining 3 eggs seperately and dip the meatballs before frying them.

Cook them until well done or nicely browned.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot.


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:) Thanks guys, this is very handy indeed!

(I will have to buy an extra computer and stick it in the kitchen for easy access to the recipes.)
Carmella said:
:) Thanks guys, this is very handy indeed!

(I will have to buy an extra computer and stick it in the kitchen for easy access to the recipes.)
Lol Mella, but i think it would be much more easy if u printet them out.. and u will save a lot of money :p
Adana Kebab

1 kilo of ground lamb or beef,

1 large onion,

4 medium tomatoes,

1 bunch of parsley,

1 tsp red pepper flakes (cayenne),
1 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne),

1 tsp cumin,

3 or 4 green bell peppers,

Salt to taste,

Turkish or Greek style pita bread,

Metal skewers for the barb b q,

Olive oil.

Chop onions very finely.

Mix all ingredients (except tomatoes, parsley and green peppers) in a container and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Get the grill ready. Shape the meat mixture into 8-10 link sausage shaped pieces. Put the meat on the pre-greased skewers lengthwise.

Place the skewers on the grill. Chop tomatoes and green peppers in half and line them up over the grill next to the meat to grill.

Warm the pitas. Serve with parsley in the pita bread with grilled adana kebap.

The Bulgur Pilav recipe is an ideal accompliment.


Etli Biber Dolmasi----- Bell peppers stuffed with meat

12 medium size bell peppers
3 tablespoons of margarine
1/2 tablespoon salt.

for the meet filling:
500 gr minced meat
2 onions
1 cup of rice
chopped dill (not a must)
salt and pepper to add flavour
1 tomato without skin
1/2 cup of water.

Preparation of the meat filling:
chop the onoions and brown then lightly in the margarine.
Add the rice with a cup of water, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10min.
Remove from the heat and add the minced meat, peeled tomatoes, that r cut into small pieces. Also add the pepper and salt and mix well

Preparation of the dolma:
Cut around the stem of the pepper and take the lits off (do not throw them away).
Remove the seeds and wash the good.
stuff the peppers with meat fillings and put the lits back on.
But them side by side on a big saucepan, with the lits up!
Add 2 1/2 glass of water a little margarine and some salt.
Cover and cook them for around 50min until they r soft.

Serve them with some youhurt ;)
Ayran - Yoghurt drink

Not everyones cup of tea but I know that once you try this popular, cool, nutritious drink, you will get addicted to it.

250gr fresh low-fat or non-fat yogurt

1 cup cold water,

Salt to taste,

1 cup ice cubes.

Place the yoghurt with the ice and salt in an electric blender. The skill in making and authentic Ayran is to blend and a little water. Blend and add a little water. Continue until the consistency of the Ayran is thick, but pourable. Serve well chilled.
Manti - Stuffed dumplings with yoghurt

Creating this from scratch is not really for beginners however, you can buy packets of dumplings (or fresh from the market) which will make this dish much easier to prepare.

If anyone wants to prepare manti with fresh homemade dumplings I will be happy to post.

ok. Assuming we have our dumplings.

For the sauce mixture we need:

200gr butter,

5 cloves garlic,

4 tomatoes,

salt to taste,

1 teaspoon red chilli pepper flakes,

1 teaspoon mint,

For the garnish we need:

1.5kg fresh yoghurt,

3 cloves garlic

Bring a large saucepan of water and salt to the boil. Add the dumplings stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking.

Simmer for 15 minutes until they rise to the surface, remove with a strainer and place in a serving bowl.

To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan.

Skin the tomatoes, de seed and finely chop. Toss into the frying pan add a little salt and cook until softened.

Just before removing from the heat, add the chilli flakes and dried mint, stir and serve hot in a separate bowl.

Crush the garlic and beat into the yoghurt with salt to taste. Serve in a separate bowl.

Serve the manti in soup plates, spooning the tomato sauce and yoghurt over the top.


Super Moderator

18oz cooked weight chick peas
4-5 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 1/2 large lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Extra olive oil
lemon slices
Sprigs of fresh parsley

Drainthe chick peas and put on kitchen paper to dry out.

Then put them into a food processor and grind to the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Add enough water to blend to a stiff paste.

In a bowl mix together all the other ingredients and then add to the ground chick peas mixing thoroughly.

Leave to stand for at least 2 hours for the flavours to develop. Taste and add more seasoning and lemon juice if necessary.

Turn the hummus into a shallow dish. Just before serving, garnish it with a trickle of oil, lemon slices and parsley

Menemen--- Scrambled eggs with vegetables

8 eggs
2 green peppers
3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the peppers into thin rings and brown them lightly in the butter.
Add peeled tomatoes that r cut into small pieces and cook for around 5-10 min till the juice is almost gone.
Beat teh eggs and add salt and pepper.
Pure it into the pan and stirre constantly.
Take care the egg wont get to dry.
serve with bread

1 package filo sheets

1/2 kilo butter, melted,

1/2 kilo walnuts, chopped,

3 cup sugar, white granulated,

1/2 Tsp ground cloves,

1 Tsp ground cinnamon

Chop the walnuts to medium fine and mix with 1 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Melt the butter and cut the filo in half so that each sheet fits the bottom of the baking pan.

Generously butter the bottom and sides of the baking pan and place the filo, one sheet at a time, in the baking pan.

Generously spread butter on each sheet of filo as it is placed in the pan. Every 6 to 8 sheets of filo spread a layer of walnut mix.

Continue layering filo sheets and walnuts until filo is complete. Pour any remaining butter over top of the baklava.

The secret to good flaky baklava is to have each sheet of filo well buttered so that the sheets do not stick together.

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava diagonally to form diamond shaped pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the baklava for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the syrup:

Mix one cup water, two cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour the boiling syrup over the cool baklava and allow to cool completely again.

When cool serve individual pieces with strong (Turkish) sweet coffee and dried apricots for an exquisite dessert.
Damn_Fine_Black_Girl said:
8 eggs
2 green peppers
3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the peppers into thin rings and brown them lightly in the butter.
Add peeled tomatoes that r cut into small pieces and cook for around 5-10 min till the juice is almost gone.
Beat teh eggs and add salt and pepper.
Pure it into the pan and stirre constantly.
Take care the egg wont get to dry.
serve with bread

Absolutely yummy!
Spicy ground chicken kababs

1 kilo ground chicken or turkey,

2 large egg whites,

3 Tbs onion finely chopped,

3 Tbs red bell pepper finely chopped,

2 Tbs olive oil divided into two,

1/4 cup parsley finely chopped,

1/2 tsp nutmeg,

3/4 tsp coriander,

3/4 tsp salt or to taste,

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

Thinly sliced grilled onions & red bell pepper and for garnish fresh herbs & lemon wedges.

Preheat broiler. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg whites, onion, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil & seasonings. Mix gently until well blended.

Divide into even portions that are equal to double the number of servings being made. For example, if you are making this recipe to serve four, divide the seasoned meat into 8 portions. Form each portion into a 2 1/2" - 3" long sausage. To prevent the meat from sticking too much, wet hands with cold tap water when forming the patties.

Insert a flat-bladed skewer lengthwise through the meat. Gently flatten the meat & shape it into an oval (about 3" x 1 1/2") around each skewer. Repeat, placing two kababs on each skewer.

Arrange skewers on a foil-lined broiling tray. Brush lightly on both sides with remaining olive oil. Broil about 4" from source of heat until done (but not browned), about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately over rice pilaf.

Serving Ideas: Serve with cucumbers in yogurt & a rice or bulgar pilaf.