Turkish cuisine is perhaps best described as a blend of several other cuisines from nearby countries mixed together with ancient traditional Ottoman foods. Ottoman cuisine was for the most part adapted from the culinary foods and methods of ancient Greece. Türk mutfağı (Turkish for Turkish cuisine) also has heavy influences of Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian cuisines. However, this mixture of Ottoman and other cuisines has taken on refinements and expansions of its own. The result is a cuisine that is richly varied, using a vast array of ingredients, spices, herbs, meats, seafoods and cooking methods.
Turkish cuisine has its influences on other cuisines as well, particularly those of Western and Central Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Levantine cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt and mantı), creating a vast array of specialties—many with strong regional associations.
Turkish cuisine does vary from region to region throughout the country. You will find less usage of strong spices in Bursa, Izmir, Istanbul and the rest of the Aegean region – largely due to the inherited influence of Ottoman “court cuisine”. Also in this region there is more usage of rice, rather than bulgar which is most often preferred outside the region.
Turkish cuisine in the Black Sea Region relies on an extensive use of fish and seafoods. There you will find many uses of Black Sea anchovies and lots of maize (corn) dishes. In Urfa, in the Southeast region, the cuisine is noted for its wonderful variety of delicious dough-based desserts, like şöbiyet, kadayıf, baklava. Also this region, which includes Gaziantep and Adana, is famous for its many kebabs.
In regions where there are an abundance of olive trees, mostly the Western regions of Turkey, olive oil is used almost exclusively. In the Mediterranean, Marmara and Aegean, regions you will find a cuisine that is rich fish, herbs and vegetables.
Turkish cuisine as a whole, with its richness of diversity, has produced many dishes that have become popular the world over. Karniyarik (stuffed eggplant), Dolmadas (stuffed grape leaves), and of course the vast array of grilled kebobs, with Doner Kebob among the most well known.
Below is a list of recipes, which are hyperlinked. Click on the dish of your choice, and you will be taken to a print friendly page with that recipe on it. So off you go now, enjoy your trip into the amazing world of …
Karnıyarık (Eggplants stuffed with lamb meat, vegetables and spices)
Köfte (Turkish Lamb Meatballs)
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