Turkish cuisine is mainly inherited from Ottoman cuisine, which is a fusion and refinement of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Balkan cuisines. Although lamb and mutton are usually used, this cuisine includes beef, chicken, and all sorts of seafood, too. Roasting and grilling are the common methods of preparation that are practiced. This cuisine is not homogeneous, where every region of the country has its own specialties. Northern Turkey has a cuisine that mainly contains corn and anchovies, while the South East is famous for its kebabs, mezes, and desserts like baklava, kadayif, and kunefe.
Lemony sumac, cinnamon, piment spice, pepper, and paprika powder, are the most commonly used spices. Their favorite garnish is a drizzle of melted butter with a little paprika and a dash or two of cayenne pepper. Onions, garlic, tomato currants, and yogurt, play an important role in this cuisine.
A typical breakfast comprises cheese, eggs, butter, tomatoes, olives, eggs, green peppers, cucumbers, recel (a preserve of whole fruits), honey, and especially coffee. In fact, the Turkish word for breakfast (kahvaltı), means 'before coffee'. Sucuk (spicy sausage), borek, pasturma, simit, pogaca, and soups, are also common breakfast foods. A popular breakfast called menemen, is made with eggs, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and peppers.
Soups and Appetizers
The soups are served at the start of the meal and are mainly made of meat stock. Lentil soup is the most common, but there are other varieties of like tarhana, asiran, and yayla. A meze is an appetizer served during a meal, mainly accompanied by wine or raki. It includes fried eggplants with yogurt, fish croquettes, gozleme, lakerda, etc.
Lunch and Dinner
Lunch or dinner begins with a soup and a variety of vegetables, salads (like stuffed grape leaves), boreck (a kind of spinach, cheese, or other filled filo pastry), pilav (a rice dish with small pieces of fish, meat, bread cut into wedges, or cacik (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip).
Desserts and Beverages
The sweets are made mainly of milk and are popular throughout the world. Some of these famous sweets are tavuk gogsu, helva, kazandibi, sutlac, baklava, and kadayif. Common drinks include tea, coffee, salgam, boza, and ayran. The coffee is thick and dark, and is served in small cups with or without sugar. Raki, a popular alcohol in Turkey, is made using anise and is also known as a 'lion's drink', where one should be strong like a lion to drink it.
Other Turkish Dishes
Kofte: The koftes are prepared of finely minced meat mixed with onions, spices, and many other ingredients. They can be fried, boiled, grilled, and even baked. The koftes are named as per their cooking technique, shape, and ingredients. For example, Izmir kofte is first grilled and then cooked in a gravy of green peppers, tomato, and potato slices.
Pilav: Pilav is one of the main dishes that is served at a table. It is prepared mainly of rice, sometimes bulgur (cracked wheat), and sehriye (vermicelli). The pilav commonly includes chickpeas, eggplants, beans, etc. It is also used as a garnish with chicken and other meat dishes.
Borek: The different types of borek are unbeatable delicacies of the cuisine, where these can be cooked, fried, baked, or boiled. The common fillings include cheese, potatoes, minced meat, and spinach. Sigara boregi is a famous type of borek, which comes in the form of rolls filled with cheese or minced meat. It's always light and crispy, without a trace of excess oil.
Turkish cuisine has it all. Apart from its ultimate freshness and quality, this delicious and healthy cuisine is the perfect balance of ingredients combined, to please the palate.