Tag Archives: turkish cuisine

Turkish Style Baked Rice Pudding-(Sutlac)


Turkish cuisine has a variety of milk-based desserts. Baked rice pudding is one of the famous one in our cuisine. It is easily found in almost all Turkish restaurants and generally preferred by Turkish women to serve to their guests. Baked rice pudding is a light, delicious, and healthy dessert that served after a meal. The traditional bowl to serve baked rice pudding is clay cup. I was planning to bring these cups from Turkey, but I was lucky that I found it in US. It is easy to make baked rice pudding. There are two steps for baked rice pudding;

The pudding is first cooked on the stove, then the clay cups are baked in the oven until the tops are very brown.


  • 1 liter whole milk
  • ½ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten


  • Wash the rice and place it in a large saucepan with enough water to cover it by about ½ inch. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat. Let the rice simmer gently until the rice is soft.
  • Using a whisk, mix together the milk, sugar, corn starch, yolk and vanilla extract. Then add this mixture to the rice. Bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it boil very gently for about ten minutes. Continue stirring the pudding until scalding.
  • When the pudding thickens, continue to stir and cook for about two minutes more. Remove from the heat and fill small, ovenproof dessert cups, clay cups or disposable aluminum pudding cups with the hot mixture.
  • Fill the tray with water about 1/2 inch then place  pudding cups. Bake them in a 360° F oven until the tops are nicely browned. Let the cups cool at room temperature then refrigerate them for several hours before serving.



Turkish Bagel-(Simit)


Because of living abroad, I’m certainly missing Turkish foods, especially street foods. I’m sure many of you also missing who are far away from homeland! Turkish bagel is the most popular snack at home, work, or school. You can have Turkish bagel for breakfast with a cup of tea, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese/cream cheese and olives.


Turkish bagel is the fast food of Turkey. There are mobile stalls everywhere in every city, especially in Istanbul. There are also many Simit Houses all around the country, where you can have simit with various fillings such as olive paste, cream cheese, kasar cheese(similar to mozzarella).

Turkish bagel (Simit) was the only food that I missed a lot when I came to U.S. I don’t remember how many times I tried simit recipes at home. But finally I made my own recipe. I hope you enjoy with this recipe as much as I did.


  • 500gr (3 1/4 cups) bread flour
  • 300ml (1 1/3cups) lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup)  molasses, like syrup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of sesame seeds

If you have a standing mixer or bread machine the dough is pretty easy to make. If you don’t, you’ll do some exercise kneading the dough, which is not a bad thing I suppose.

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Stir well so the yeast dissolves. Let it rest for 15 minutes – it will become foamy.

For making the dough, Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir. Put the dough on the counter and knead 15 minutes, until it becomes very smooth. Don’t flour the counter to knead the dough! Then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 7-8 even sized pieces. Combine the molasses with 1cup water and 1tbsp flour in a large bowl. Place the sesame seeds on a large plate.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll the dough out to make 40 cm (16″) long ropes. Fold in half so two ends align, then lift off the board and use your hands to twist each rectangle into a two stranded “rope”. Place back on the work surface and join the ends together to make a circle, pressing the ends firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough to make circles.

Preheat the oven to 460F and line a large size baking tray with baking paper. Dip each ring, first into the molasses mixture, immersing completely to coat, then drain well and toss in the sesame seeds, turning gently to coat. Transfer to the prepared tray and set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes, to puff slightly. Spray some cold water on the sesame rings and the walls of oven using a spray bottle, then place the two trays on the second rack of the oven side by side.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until deep golden and cooked through.


Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Simit are best eaten on the day of making but will keep, frozen in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 weeks.


Lentil Soup-(Mercimek Corbasi)


Soup is such an important dish in the culture that I grow up. In Turkey, especially in my family I cannot imagine a dinner without a soup 🙂 When I was a little kid lentil soup was the only dish that I was eating for every meal. Now, most of the kids have same  routine, lentil soup is a must dish for them.

This recipe is from Turkish cuisine and it is healthy, simple, yummy and absolutely hearty 🙂 In general this soup is served with a lemon.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large size onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium size potato, chopped
  • 1 cup of red split lentil, washed and drained
  • 5 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp groung cumin
  • black pepper, red pepper, oregano
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


Heat the olive oil on medium heat in the pot. Fry the onion, carrot and potato until they start to soften but are not browned. Onions should be transparent. Then add lentils, water or chicken stock, salt and spices.

Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are tender. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Blend in a food blender, or if you have hand blender blend the soup in pot. If you like hot, you can add extra paprika to the bowl.

Serve steaming hot with wedges of lemons. Squeeze liberally in to the soup to taste. You can serve the soup with a piece of crusty bread.

Click to see how to make this soup in a short video.

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant-(Karniyarik)


This is one of the best dishes in Turkish cuisine. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant is a five-star dishes and  it is served almost all restaurants in Turkey. Translation of “Karniyarik” is split belly. 🙂 The eggplant belly is split and stuffed with a mince. If you like eggplant, I strongly suggest you to try this recipe. 😉


  • 5 small eggplants
  • 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 2 green peppers, sliced, for topping
  • 1 tomato, sliced, for topping
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2tbsp olive oil for filling
  • 5tbsp olive oil for eggplant
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

To bake stuffed eggplant:

  • 1cub hot water
  • 1tbsp pepper or tomato paste


  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-7Wash and peel the eggplants lengthwise with strips. Poke holes on each eggplant to make them cook quicker.
  • Place the eggplants on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Or if you want you can fry them as a whole in a deep pot with oil until golden brown.
  • While eggplants bake, heat 2tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Break up the beef and add it to the pan, along with the salt and pepper. Cook until the meat browns, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the parsley and tomatoes.
  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-6  Once you are done with first round of baking the eggplants,stuff them with the ground beef filling. Top each one with strips of bell pepper and the sliced tomatoes.
  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-5Mix 1 tbsp pepper or tomato paste with 1 cup water andget a reddish water. Pour it directly in the oven tray.  Bake them at 400F until tomatoes and green peppers are baked (about 20 min).

Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-3  Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-2

Stuffed Zucchini – (Kabak Dolmasi)


The summer season has already begun and summer vegetables are fresh. I think it is time to try new recipe with fresh summer zucchini. In Turkish cuisine stuffing vegetables are common which is called as a “dolma”. This recipe requires a little effort but I don’t want to daunt you. Believe me you will love taste and it’s impressive!


  • 4 zucchini
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp rice, washed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

To bake stuffed zucchini:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste



Wash and lightly peal zucchini. Trim ends and cut zucchini crosswise in half depending on the length of the zucchini – 3″ pieces are good. With a melon-ball cutter, starting from the wider end, hollow out each zucchini half to form a cup, leaving about 1/2 inch intact at bottom. If you don’t have melon-ball cutter you can use small knife or small spoon.

To prepare the filling, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. And then fill zucchini with a spoon. If you have an extra filling you can fill tomato or bell pepper what you have in your fridge. 😉


Then stand all stuffed zucchini in a pot (see photo) and if you have extra tomato or bell pepper arrange them, too.

Turkish-stuffed-zucchini-4Lastly, in a small bowl mix 1 cup of boiled water and 1 tbsp tomato paste and then pour over and into tops of zucchini. If You think that amount of water is not enough, you can add hot water because there should be about 2″ of water in the pot.

Cover. Turn on high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

You should serve with plain yogurt, if you like you can add some crushed fresh garlic.

Bean Salad-Turkish Piyaz


I thought that the best side dish as an accompaniment with authentic Turkish meatball (Akcaabat kofte) is bean salad. As I mentioned previously, meatballs are served in general with chips, fries, or grilled tomato, green pepper, eggplant, and mushroom as I mentioned in meatball recipe. However, In Turkey kofte is being served with bean salad. The classic dressing for Turkish salad is olive oil and lemon. However, for this salad you should add vinegar because it gives zingy taste.


  • 1 can white beans (pre-cooked and drained)
  • 6-7 finely sliced lettuce leaves
  • 1 onion, sliced very finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp  vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp sumac
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper


In a small bowl, knead onion, salt, and sumac with your hands so that the bitter juice of onion are released, then squeeze out the remaining onion juice. It is the Turkish way of treating onion. LOL!

Stir together the treated onion with lemon juice, vinegar, and black pepper.

Arrange the finely sliced lettuce leaves on a salad plate, than add beans, and lastly garnish with treated onion. Pour the olive oil on top.


Grilled Turkish Meatball (Akcaabat Kofte)


Meatball is one of the traditional culinary culture of Turkish cuisine. Being Turkish, I cannot  deny how important grilling and meat in our culture.  This “Akcaabat” meatball is one of the famous type of meatball recipes.  These small meatballs are both healthy and delicious, because they are cooked with spices. They are cooked on the grill and served hot. I made these balls for my friends yesterday and they loved them. So, I thought that I should share the recipe. Also, I strongly recommend that you should sprinkle some oregano and chili pepper on meatballs. You can serve them with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, eggplant, and mushroom. Although they are called as a meat”ball”, Turkish meatballs’ shape are not like a ball. LOL!! Here is the simple recipe that you can easily prepare in just minutes. 😉


  • 1pound Lamb, minced, preferably with some fat
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 1-1/2 minced garlic
  • 75gr crushed rusk


In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and then form into round, slightly flat 2-inch meatballs and place onto the grill.