October 15, 2011

Bring A Top Istanbul Restaurant Chef Into Your Own Kitchen

One of the joys in living in Turkey is the wonderful food available. I often try to decide what it is that makes Turkish cuisine so special.

Is it the amount of love poured into their dishes by Turkish mothers? Is it the way the ingredients are mixed and dishes are cooked? Or is it the fact that there is an amazing natural abundance of varied and fresh ingredients here.

Turkey is certainly blessed with agricultural resources. Just a short stroll through your local market is enough to demonstrate that. Whatever the season, there is a wealth of fruit and vegetables that are affordable, colorful and, what is most important, have a rich taste that comes from their having been picked within the last 24 hours.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to grains, too. Wheat, barley and rice are plentiful, meaning that bread, pasta, bulgur or rice accompanies every meal. The art of Turkish patisserie also developed with baklava and all related forms of sweet pastry and cake, since honey and nuts are in abundance here.

Surrounded by three seas, Turkey has many different fish to choose from as an alternative to meat and game.

I have yet to host a visitor to Turkey who didn’t rave about the wonderful food: the freshness of the salads, the wide variety of meze, the richness of the spices used in the kebabs and the gooey delight of the desserts. Even vegetarians, who are often nervous about what options they will have abroad, have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the range and quality of dishes far exceeds their normal choice. Chickpeas and lentils can be found everywhere, and it seems the Turks can make a delicious dish out of almost any vegetable and olive oil.

Eating out has always been part of the Turkish tradition. Meals prepared in the home for guests are very important, but Turks also like to sit in restaurants with family and friends and enjoy the ambience when eating. Traditionally, many of these restaurants have just one or two dishes. The mantı evi will serve small Turkish ravioli in a delicious yogurt sauce. The sulu yemekçi will offer you a range of casseroled meat with vegetables, the balık evi is a fish restaurant and the kuru fasulyeci will serve meat and beans and rice. A köfteci is a meatball specialist, and usually they specialize in one type of meatball from a particular region in Turkey.


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