The Turks have proven that they love to cook and, even more, that they love to share meals with friends. Whether at a special welcome dinner, a casual lunch, an ESL graduation, or simply while visiting people at home for business, I’ve been offered a wide variety of tasty foods by the families with whom I work.
Here are a few of the foods I have learned about in my time with the Turkish families. The dishes reflect the geographical history of the Turks with elements of traditional Turkish, Uzbek, and Russian foods.
Ekmek (bread) – Homemade bread is a staple of Turk meals. The families make a wonderfully thick, moist round bread.
Dolma – While it refers to almost any vegetable stuffed with beef, rice, and spices, the Turks tend to focus on using sour cabbage or grape leaves for their dolma.
Hanim – A layered pastry dish of with beef or sometimes potatoes
Hinkal and manti – Two types of boiled dumplings stuffed with beef, potatoes, or even sweet pumpkin.
Pilav – A traditional Turkish spiced rice dish often served with potatoes or chicken
Chai (tea) – While there is not one special type or preparation, tea is a staple in the daily life of the Turks.
Chorba (soup) – As with most soups, there are a number of varieties of chorba. One Uzbek type contains roast beef and lentils. Another common soup is tomato based with rice and chicken.