A List for Turkish Flavours: Top 10 Most Common Used Ingredients in Turkish Cuisine
It is obvious that talking about Turkish cuisine is exciting! Just like Italian, Spanish or Chinese cuisines, Turkish cuisine is also one of the richest one in the world. So, we have been introducing you to the delicious members of Turkish flavour’s family. And for this purpose, we have prepared a list for you today related to ingredients.
You will love to see how simple items you need for cooking very tasty Turkish foods. Let’s check it out and start using these ingredients to make your loved ones happy and surprise them with an authentic Turkish dinner!
Bulgur is prized for its earthy flavour and high nutritional value. It’s made from cracked durum wheat that is parboiled then dried. In Turkey, there are two types of bulgur – coarse and fine. Coarse bulgur is best for pilaf while fine bulgur is used in soups, meze, meat and vegetable dishes and even desserts. It is inexpensive and easy to find near the dry goods or in the organic section of your supermarket. You can also find bulgur at Greek and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
9. Ground Beef
You can be very creative with ground beef in a Turkish kitchen. Keep a pound or so frozen for good measure. Ground beef has a very high-fat content (20% to 30% fat) and it is better for grilling. You can and should try your hand at making fast and easy Turkish meatballs, called ‘Köfte’ (kuff-TAY’). They’re a national favourite.
For stewed vegetable dishes and meat-filled pastries, you can use beef with a 10% fat content or less.
8. White Cheese
The cheese, less salty than Feta, is a standard at breakfast. And moreover, Turkish people eat all day as a pastry and sandwich filling, salad topper or on its own. White cheese comprises of cow, sheep or goat milk.
For cooks outside Turkey, buy blocks of Feta and store them submerged in water in the fridge. This will remove the salt and keep the cheese soft and fresh. Slice or crumble it as needed.
7. Eggplant (Aubergine)
Turkey is famous for its endless variety of hot and cold eggplant dishes like Musakka, roasted eggplant salad, and even eggplant jam. Japanese or Italian eggplants work best for general cooking, grilling, and stuffing. And globe eggplants yield lots of pulp for mashes and salads.
Dried eggplants, available in Middle-Eastern markets, are presoaked before being stuffed and steamed to perfection.
6. Olive Oil
The oil has been a staple in Turkish kitchens for hundreds of years. Furthermore, Turkish people use it in classic vegetable dishes, salads, and for frying.
The best olive oils are cold-pressed and come in a wide range of virgin and extra-virgin varieties. Flavoured olive oils are the latest craze, sold in fancy bottles. On the other hand, infused with hot pepper, oregano, sage and other spices. It is perfect for dipping with chunks of crusty bread!
5. Red Lentils
You can eat creamy red lentil soup in Turkey for almost every meals, -such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What’s more, it is a good option to break the daily fast during the month of Ramadan. Red lentils are also used in many starters and salads.
Red lentils are bright orange to golden yellow in colour and they cook much quicker than green lentils. So, you can find them in the Latin or organic section of your supermarket, and in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Turkish ‘pilav,’ or rice pilaf, is a common side dish, so having rice in stock is a must. Baldo Rice with large grains is ideal for pilaf, while Calrose or other small grain rice is better for fillings. You can also use cracked rice for thickening desserts and soups.
No quick-cooking rice allowed! You must cook rice the long way, but it will always worth the wait.
3. White Flour
Good old white flour is the main ingredient in Turkish pastries, savouries, and desserts. You can also use it as a thickener for soups and puddings, and as a coating for frying.
Large, thin sheets of fresh dough called ‘Yufka’ (yoof-KAH’) are rolled-out by hand to use for layering in meat and cheese pastries called ‘Börek’ (bur-REK’). Moreover, in desserts like Baklava. (Click for The Easiest Way to Make Turkish Baklava in Your Home)
2. Tomato Paste
If you want to add colour and flavour to many recipes, you need to use tomato paste. You can both use it hot and cold. Store your paste in a glass jar in the fridge. Coat the surface with a drizzle of olive oil each time you use some. Thus, this will keep it fresher longer.
Here we are at the number one of our Turkish ingredients list. Onion is an indispensable flavour for any Turkish food that you wish to cook. Moreover, yellow onions are the flavour base of many Turkish dishes, so have plenty on hand. For garnishing, also make sure you have a few red onions and you’ll be ready for anything. Store your onions outdoors if possible. This way, both they and your kitchen will stay fresher.
In short, never forget to use one of those indispensable ingredients above to gain the best taste possible. Afterwards, all the thing you need is to enjoy your meal!