screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-59-06Who doesn´t love a nice Mediterranean dinner? Not only are the dishes very tasty but the Mediterranean diet is also considered one of the healthiest in the world. Pretty good combination! But what is it that makes many of these dishes so good? If we look at Turkish cuisine, for example, a lot of spices, fruits and vegetables are used along with flour products.  Also, when cooking, olive oil is very important. However, these are quite universal characteristics of the Mediterranean diet, so let´s see in more detail what the most authentic ingredients are for Turkish dishes.

Bulgur

Bulgur is a cereal product consisting of different types of grains. It contains quite some carbohydrates, is high in fibre and is therefore often used as a replacement for potatoes, rice or pasta. Since the taste of bulgur is relatively neutral, it is often used in the Turkish kitchen as a base product for salads or for accompanying meat or fish dishes. It might look a bit like couscous but the latter is prepared in a different way and also has smaller grains. Examples of typical Turkish dishes that contain bulgur are:

  • Bulgur aşı (bulgur in tomato sauce)
  • Kısır(bulgur salad)
  • Bulgur pilavı (bulgur rice dish)

Dereotu (dill)

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-59-22Dill is a herb that has a pretty distinct taste and is rich in vitamin c. Dill is very frequently used in the Turkish kitchen and is often mixed with parsley and mint. Examples of typical Turkish dishes that contain dill are:

  • Cacık (Turkish tzatziki)
  • Yumurtalı patates salatası (potato salad with egg)
  • Etli biber dolması (filled mini paprikas)

Kaymak (clotted cream)

Kaymak is the Turkish variant of what we know as sour cream. The consistency of kaymak can change but if you want to buy kaymak in Turkey you will often find it piled up in thick slices in the store. A lot of Turkish breakfasts consist of sandwiches with kaymak and honey, which not only taste great but are also very nutritious. Typical Turkish dishes that are made with kaymak are:

  • Fırında kaymaklı patates (potatoes with kaymak in the oven)
  • Kaymaklı kuru kayısı tatlıs (dried apricots filled with kaymak)

Beyaz Peynir (cheese)

This white cheese is made from sheep-, goat- or cow milk and it belongs to the same family of cheeses that the Greek feta belongs to as well. You can buy beyaz peynir with different fat percentages and it can be stronger in taste dependent on the type you buy. For a Turkish breakfast, beyaz peynir is a must-have item and it is also often used as a filling for the typical Turkish dough recipes. Some examples of dishes that contain beyaz peynir are:

  • Peynirli gözleme (pancakes filled with cheese)
  • Poğaça (rolls filled with cheese)

Yenibahar (allspice)

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-21-36-38Allspice is often used with all kinds of meat dishes and in the States we often use it with fruit or pastry as well. In the Turkish kitchen, it is increasingly used as a replacement for black or red pepper in recipes. Dishes that are made with yenibahar are:

  • Fırında patlıcan kebabı (oven dish with eggplant, tomato and meat)
  • Tavuk dürüm (chicken durum)

Have you tried any of these ingredients?

 

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