Turkish kitchen culture dictates that you will always find the cupboards stocked with the main ingredients used in most Turkish sweet and savoury dishes. Here are the staples of any Turkish Kitchen.
Salca is a dried tomato or red pepper paste found in almost every Turkish kitchen. Some households will make it themselves by leaving tomatoes or peppers out in the sun, otherwise every good supermarket will be brimming with branded choices. Used in many savoury dishes as a base flavour, any Turkish cook worth their weight believes in the power of salca! Coat the surface with a drizzle olive oil each time you use some. This will keep it fresher for longer.
Including beetroot, gherkins, pepper and onions, Turks will pickle just about anything! Small green peppers, eaten with salads, soup or main meals kick the roof of your mouth and will almost certainly be on the table for most meals. Pancar Tursusu, the Turkish version of pickled beetroot, is boiled fresh with herbs and garlic is added to the final pickling.
Pekmez (grape molasses)
Pekmez have been a focal point of Turkish kitchen culture for centuries. Widely used as a natural sweetener, antidote for illness, Turkish cooking uses it as a key ingredient for Turkish desserts.
Olive Oil and Lemons
Every salad gets a sprinkling of olive oil and lemon juice over the top! Olive oil is also a primary ingredient in the preparation of most mezes and main dishes.
Cooked in the traditional way with butter and stock, rice will appear on the table for most meals. The flavour is entirely different from Western versions. Bulgar is another alternative, served with chopped onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley.
A Middle Eastern spice made from berries and has a slightly lemony taste. Its versatility is amazing but is mainly used as a salad garnish, sprinkled over chopped onions with parsley or added to kebabs and pide.
Used in a variety of ways, chillies are often added to homemade soups to give them a bit of a kick. In most Turkish Lokantas, you will find a jar of chilli flakes sitting on the table.
A standard at breakfast and eaten all day as a pastry and sandwich filling, salad topper or on its own. White cheese is made from cow, sheep or goat milk. For cooks outside Turkey, Feta can be stored submerged in water in the fridge. This will remove the salt and keep the cheese soft and fresh.
Famous for its endless variety of hot and cold dishes like moussaka, roasted aubergine salad, and even jam! Used for general cooking, grilling and stuffing, Aubergine pulp is also used for mashes and salads.