Exploring The Turkish Kitchen Blog

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Crate of Turkish Cuisine Cookbooks and The Turkish Cookbook Open pages


When I was getting ready to make the move over to Turkey I somewhat reluctantly whittled down my collection of cookbooks and in my first year here I found myself regretting it.

Thanks to lots of gifts and space lent in suitcases I've managed to recollect a few of them plus acquire some new much-loved ones.

For me cookbook is much more than the sum of recipes, it's the photography, the introductions and backgrounds for each dish as well as the mood the author portrays. Usually, every book I purchase or borrow gets read from cover to cover before  I even contemplate following the steps to the recipes given. I like to imagine the author sampling the dish for the first time, repeatedly creating it to perfection and then the bite - the one they finally take and think 'Yes - this is it!; This is the recipe and outcoming that should be presented in the book with my name on'

So as it stands at the moment & in no particular order, these are the (English language) cookbooks that sit on my bookshelf that help me make the best of my Turkish Kitchen; plus a few I can't wait to get my hands on!




  1. Rick Stein From Venice to Istanbul


This book was a gift from my mum, I tried so many times to catch the program and it seems it’s not meant to be so I was so pleased to be able to at least read about Rick’s adventures around Turkey and close by counties.

I adore this book, the recipes are so authentic – I’ve made several and have been back so many times but I also like the non-Turkish recipes; I love seeing how Turkey's neighbours have similar takes and twists, I find those recipes give me inspiration for my own Turkish cooking.


What the internet says:

From the mythical heart of Greece to the fruits of the Black Sea coast; from Croatian and Albanian flavours to the spices and aromas of Turkey and beyond – the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean is a vibrant melting pot brimming with character.

Accompanying the major BBC Two series, Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul includes over 100 spectacular recipes discovered by Rick during his travels in the region. The ultimate mezze spread of baba ghanoush, pide bread and keftedes. Mouthwatering garlic shrimps with soft polenta. Heavenly Dalmatian fresh fig tart.

Packed with stunning photography of the food and locations, and filled with Rick's passion for fresh produce and authentic cooking, this is a stunning collection of inspiring recipes to evoke the magic of the Eastern Mediterranean at home.


My Favorite Recipe:

Ricks take on Fırın kebabı – Oven-roasted chicken with sumac, pomegranate molasses, chilli & sesame seeds.


My 'Can't-Wait To Try': 

Semolina crusted fried halloumi or Helim cheese.


Blog posts around this book:

Rick Stein's Baked Pumpkin - Sinkonta



  1. The Turkish Kitchen by Ghillie Başan

The first English language cookbook I ever purchased. It is full of great information alongside the recipes, including ingredients and eating for certain festivals & times.

I hadn’t picked up the book for quite some time but this blog has got me revisiting and I’m reaşşy enjoying going through it and I was so pleased to discover Ghillie Ladies fingers – read my post here.


What the web says:

Features more than 75 delicious step-by-step recipes Beautifully illustrated with more than 450 stunning images, including a photograph of each finished dish Provides an exciting guide to Turkish cuisine, including Vegetable Dishes, Beans, Peas, Lentils and Pilaffs, Fish and Shellfish, Meat and Poultry and Desserts CookÆs tips, variations and complete nutritional information are provided throughout Includes a comprehensive visual guide to Turkish ingredients, and detailed instructions for essential preparation and cooking techniques Everything from world-famous dishes such as Peppers Stuffed with Aromatic Rice, Lamb Sis Kebab or Festive Semolina Helva with Pine Nuts, to more unusual treats like Veiled Pilaff, Spicy Rabbit Stew with Shallots and Figs or Ottoman Milk Pudding Opening with a fascinating introduction to the rich culinary history, culture and traditions of the Turkish people, Ghillie Basan describes how years of war and migration have helped to shape the modern cuisine, from early nomadic Anatolian tribal practices through the dazzling Ottoman period to the modern table. Then follows a comprehensive guide to the equipment, ingredients and techniques used in the Turkish kitchen, including step-by-step sequences to explain the processes clearly. Beautifully illustrated with more than 450 photographs, and complete the nutritional notes, cook's tips and variations, this stunning book provides a tantalizing insight to an ancient and diverse cuisine.


My Favorite Recipe:

It’s a tie between Sweet & Sour Okra & Perde pilavı (Crust encases rice)


My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Chicken with greengage plums


Blog posts around this book:

I Ate My Fingers 


3. Street Foods of Turkey by Hande Bozdogan


I actually have the original printing of this book which was titled Flavours of the street: Turkey. If I recall correctly I was watching a documentary during the time this book came out and the author was talking food and making some dishes and I immediately jumped onto Amazon to buy it. 

It a delightful read, more of a sit-down and enjoy it than a cookbook but there are some lovely recipes in there too.

I like the presentation of seasonal foods and the photography is brilliant, it makes me want to jump on a plane and walk around Istanbul finding all the food vendors.


What the web says:


One of the most fascinating and unique aspects of urban life in Turkey is the variety, richness and quality of food one can purchase in the streets from itinerant vendors. Street Foods of Turkey documents a wide variety of these street foods, from fresh produce to prepared meals sold on hand-pushed carts, in glass display cases mounted on wheels or simply in baskets and trays. Made up of a rich palette of colours, tastes and smells unique to the urban culinary culture of Turkey, Street Foods of Turkey also demonstrates the culinary possibilities inspired by these popular street foods. The colourful varieties of street food is documented in this book by season Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, with an extra section, All Year Round together with recipes, historical background and cultural notes. Illustrated with beautifully taken photographs, this book will inspire all who are interested in the vibrant street food scene in Turkey.


My Favorite Recipe:

Taş Kadayıf - Walnut stuffed mini pancakes


My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Arnavut ciğeri - Albanian liver, I don't like liver but I heard cooking the liver in this technique makes it especially delicious.



4. The Dervish Table / Dervis Sofralari By Sahrap Soysal

I find the whole premise of this book fascinating, it’s brimming with so much research as well as massive of recipes and wonderful tidbits of information including quotes, poetry and artefacts. This book and the recipes in it influence my own ideas a great deal.

Finding individual recipes should you know them by their original Turkish name can be a little troublesome but it’s well worth the effort.


What the web says: 

Sufi Culinary Culture And Table Manners
Mevlevi Cuisine
Alevi-Bektasi Cuisine
Akhi Cuisine
"Eat bread and be thankful; eat halva and be sweat."


My Favorite Recipe:

Su böreği,  or Mutton with quince


My Can't-Wait To Try:

101 things - It would be impossible to choose.






5. 500 Years of Ottoman Cuisine by Marianna Yerasimos


Recommended by another friendly Turkophile this is another fascinating historical book this book advertises it contains 99 recipes but that seems to undervalue its work. It contains information on thousands of dishes of that period when certain types of dishes were likely to be eaten as well as the culture surrounding the ottoman kitchen.

Again the research that must've gone into a book that spans such a length and prominent period of time is overwhelming.

Set out in a very easy to read layout with beautiful historical artwork this book is a must for any other fan of foods predating and heavily influence the so young Turkish republic. 


What the web says: 

500 years of Ottoman Cuisine Marianna Yerasimos - 99 Ottoman recipes

"Ottoman cuisine was a culinary culture which grew from the 15th century onwards and was shaped by an élite group, who lived in and around Istanbul's Palace, an élite who took pleasure in good food. This culture included everything from the ingredients used to the methods of cooking and from the kinds of food eaten to the eating habits, table manners, and the type of kitchens where the food was prepared. The first part of the book looks at the elements which comprise Ottoman cuisine, and in the second part you will find a selection of recipes.

The book deals with the cuisine of the Ottoman palace and élite society, and not the modest fare of the ordinary people. As in all societies, there was a considerable difference between the food culture of the Ottoman palace and that of the ordinary people, and there were also differences between the cuisine of Istanbul and the cuisines of other regions. The rather humble fare of the lower strata of society and recipes for it is a subject for another book, and one which I fear will present quite a challenge to its author, since it is unlikely that anyone would have taken the time to write down the plain combinations of foods eaten by the common people. 

Another point worth noting is the period covered by the book. Since the geographical area in question and its social limits are clearly defined, so too is the time frame: Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from May 29th, 1453 to September 13th, 1923, and it is the development of Ottoman cuisine within this time frame that I aim to introduce to you’’


My Favorite Recipe:

So I didn’t love it but the minute I read the recipe for rosewater & saffron soup I ran to the kitchen.


My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Soganlı yumurta – Eggs with onion


  1. Sherbet and Spice: The Complete Story of Turkish Sweets and Desserts By Mary Işın

If I had a lira for every time I came across someone that thinks Turkish sweets consist of simply Baklava, kunefe and more baklava I’d probably have enough money to set up my own little baklava shop.

Having an undeniably sweet (and savoury, ok food-loving ) tooth I’ve always been able to roll off a fair few sweets but the author of this book took me on such an unexpected and surprising journey I felt like I ……

What surprised me most is the sheer number of dishes (Rice pudding, nougat, blancmange just to name a few) that I’d pinned as other more famous cuisines actually dated back to ottoman and Anatolian origins.

It’s probably worth noting the recipes contained in this book are all originals translated so your probably not going to be making many of them but the sheer volume of morsels of information on cooking techniques and equipment really are useful. My Turkish delight is now mmm mmm mmm and I’ve attempted ekmek kadaıf and kunefe will brilliant background that has brought my cooking altogether. In fact, I dip into this book every time some sweet idea comes into my head.

I’ve read reviews commenting on the writing style, too academic, dull without an enthusiasm. I’ve you're not a major sweet fan may this may be true and as much as I can’t deny it’s not a light read I can’t see how the book could be what it is. I mean it’s a treasure trove!


What the web says:

One hundred sculpted sugar lions, baklava the size of cartwheels a thousand layers thick, helva made in memory of the dead, rose jam in a hundred pots of Dresden china, violet sherbet for the sultan, and parrots addicted to sugar . . . the stories behind Turkey's huge variety of sweets and puddings, valued not only for their taste but as symbols of happiness, good fortune, and goodwill, are as fascinating as their flavor. This riveting exploration of their history and role in Turkish culture is a voyage of adventure, taking us from the sultan's palace to the homes of ordinary people in Turkey's villages and towns, and beyond to Central Asia, Persia, Arabia, and Egypt.


7. Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond By Sabrina Ghayour


OK so this may not be shelved as a Turkish cuisine cookbook but it is so is. It just also has the benefit of having many other delightful recipes surrounding the Turkish recipes within it!

This book is probably the one that influences my own cooking the most. The flavour combinations, pictures, descriptions oh it’s a dream!

I originally bought it as a Kindle ebook but I knew I wanted the hardback and told my mum to keep a lookout for it. Well, I sang it’s praised so much the minute she saw it she bought a copy for herself too!

I probably don’t cook the Turkish dishes anywhere as much as the others that are mostly because I have my own versions of them, I’ve combined them with my own to suit us perfectly or because I adore the middle eastern dishes in it so much.


What the web says:

A celebration of the food and flavours from the regions near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with over 100 recipes for modern and accessible Middle Eastern dishes, including Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs; Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine; Blood Orange & Radicchio Salad; Persian Flatbread; and Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream.


My Favorite Recipe:

Chicken preserved lemon and olive tagine 


My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Broad beans with garlic, dill and eggs (Baghala ghatogh)




8. Özlems Turkish Table By Özlem Warren

Özlem's Turkish Table is one of those books you'll want to turn to when you need a full-on hit of the Turkish kitchen. From essential ingredients and condiments to enrich your Turkish cooking, breakfast & pastries for a fulfilling leisurely breakfast to full-on banquet menus, the author has covered a whole variety of dishes and options for all dietary requirements.

The pictures are set up to make you want to lean in and take a bite. Torn bread perched above walnut and red pepper dips, spoons filled with just the right amount of pul biber to garnish dinner and just cracked cheesy-vegetable topped flatbreads waiting for you to reach, pick up and pop it in your mouth.

Covers everything from ingredients, recipes & suggested menus all intertwined with culture and history which is what makes this book a great buy for all skill levels and fans of Turkish cooking 


What the web says:

An unmissable addition to any kitchen, this stunning cookbook is a passionate gastronomic journey by chef Özlem Warren, unveiling Turkey’s rich culinary heritage with fascinating personal history, eye-catching photographs and mouth-watering meals.

Paying tribute to the vibrant and diverse cuisine of her homeland, Özlem divulges her own favourite and treasured family recipes and shares the secrets of signature Turkish dishes. Her regional specialities from the southeast and hometown of Antakya invite the reader to try, test and enjoy the many tastes of Turkey.

This exploration of Turkey’s melting-pot reflects the warmth of spirit and generosity of the country and author, as Özlem’s love for her native land and its food shine through on every page.


My Favorite Recipe:

Biberli Ekemk – Flatbreads with cheese and red pepper paste


My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Muska Boregi – Spinach and cheese filo triangles

 Blog posts around this book:

Cooking From Özlem's Turkish Table




9. The Treasury of Turkish Cheeses

Split into the cheeses of western Turkey and the Aegean and of Anatolia and Eastern areas the author details the cheeses she has discovered, where she tried them and which drinks or accompanying foods to pair them with.

Being such a big fan of Turkish cheeses I have either tried or heard or most of the cheeses in the book, had I discovered the book earlier in my journey exploring the Turkish Kitchen I think I would've found the book an interesting read.

I've made notes of the cheeses I've yet to try and aim to find them and I also I think ill make a conscious effort to make notes myself of the many kinds of Turkish cheese I love and will compare with the author's notes. In that way I found the book inspiring for this blog. 

If you're new to discovering Turkish cheeses or don't know where to look or what to ask for when visiting the peynirci cheese stall at your weekly market this book would be a great place to start.





<>10. Oklava by Selin Kiazim 

I love this book because it is essentially everything that Turkish food is not – yet it’s so wonderfully Turkish! – Ok I know that doesn’t make sense, I should try to explain.

This book is from a Turkish –Cypriot chef/restauranteur, so of course, you can expect it to be full of the flavours of the med but somehow the author manages to make elate the dishes into something quite special.

I’ve not yet cooked from the book but I have definitely been inspired by it.

I’ll follow some recipes soon and report back Inshallah / God willing.


What the web says:

With influences from the Mediterranean, Southern Europe and the Middle East, Turkish-Cypriot food offers incredible flavour combinations unique to its region. Oklava: The Cookbook celebrates the culinary delights of this area in a way no cookbook has done before.

Oklava translates simply as 'rolling pin'. For Selin Kiazim, this word conjures up memories of her Turkish-Cypriot grandmother: a rolling pin was never far from her hands, which meant a delicious treat was imminent. The same can be said for this book. These sensational recipes will take you on a journey from home-cooked meals and summers spent in North Cyprus to an exciting interpretation of modern Turkish-Cypriot cooking in London.

Bring the Oklava experience into your home with Turkish delights such as Pistachio-crusted Banana & Tahini French Toast with Orange Blossom Syrup & Smoked Streaky Bacon; Grilled Quails with Palm Sugar, Sumac & Oregano Glaze; Courgette, Feta & Mint Fritters; Crispy Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Breast with Yoghurt; Chilli-Roast Cauliflower; and Chocolate, Prune & Cardamom Delice.



10 Plus 1 of my favourite Turkish cookbooks

because I couldn't exclude The Turkish Cookbook after I got my hands on it...


11. The Turkish Cookbook By Musa Dagdeviren 

Absolutely fantastic! A trove - if anything it's too big, my spine has already cracked and there are several food splatted pages but what a resource. My delivery of the book went AWOL somewhere between the UK and Turkey (Yep I had to order it from abroad) but it was worth it and The Book Depository were amazing. They sorted out my issue and got the book to me. ı've cooked several dishes from it, I've had a couple of mishaps and some amazing treats. I'll get onto a full review once I have the chance to cook some more. I’ve had the pleasure of eating in Çiya Lokanta in Istanbul – My first true lokanta (Restaurants that offer homemade style food for workers and like with daily rotating menus) and so I knew I had to get this book the minute it came available and I'm so so glad I did>


What the web says:

Vibrant, bold, and aromatic, Turkish food - from grilled meats, salads, and gloriously sweet pastries to home-cooking family staples such as dips, pilafs, and stews - is beloved around the world.

Wrapped in a handsome linen case with gold stamping, this is the first book to so thoroughly showcase the diversity of Turkish food, with 550 recipes for the home cook that celebrate Turkey's remarkable European and Asian culinary heritage - from little-known regional dishes to those that are globally recognized and stand the test of time, be they lamb kofte, chicken kebabs, tahini halva, or pistachio baklava.

This volume also includes an introduction showcasing the culinary cultural history of the country, insightful headnotes, stunning photography of finished dishes and atmospheric images evoking the beauty and diversity of the Turkish landscape, environment, markets, and people.

Icon are used to note vegetarian, gluten and dairy-free options, and recipes with five ingredients or fewer.


My Favorite Recipe:

Lahana Turşusu – Fermented cabbage

My 'Can't-Wait To Try':

Koliva – Seed and nut memorial pudding



Turkish Cookbooks On My Wishlist:

Istanbul and beyond By Robyn Eckhardt


I’ve followed the Instagrams of Robyn and husband David for a long time, ah the photos are just so divine and what travelling around Turkey they’ve done. I look forward to this making its way to Turkish book stores but until then it sits on my wish list. Ps if you love all things Italian like I do – make sure you follow them on IG they’re living over it is just so lovely.


Standing at the crossroads between the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia, Turkey boasts astonishingly rich and diverse culinary traditions. Journalist Robyn Eckhardt and her husband, photographer David Hagerman, have spent almost twenty years discovering the country’s very best dishes. Now they take readers on an unforgettable epicurean adventure, beginning in Istanbul, home to one of the world’s great fusion cuisines. From there, they journey to the lesser-known provinces, opening a vivid world of flavors influenced by neighboring Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, and Georgia.
From village home cooks, community bakers, café chefs, farmers, and fishermen, they have assembled a broad, one-of-a-kind collection of authentic, easy-to-follow recipes: “The Imam Fainted” Stuffed Eggplant; Pillowy Fingerprint Flatbread; Pot-Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Onions; Stovetop Lamb Meatballs with Spice Butter; Artichoke Ragout with Peas and Favas; Green Olive Salad with Pomegranate Molasses; Apple and Raisin Hand Pies. Many of these have never before been published in English.



Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine

I’m looking out for this book not so much for the recipes but the travel writing. After seeing that it had been translated into so many languages it got me very curious.


In this breathtaking new book, intrepid food and travel writer Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus reveal the wonderful tastes and exotic allure of Istanbul, one of the world's most fascinating cities. Part cookbook, part travelogue, they meet the characters behind the intriguing food of the city — artisan bakers, traditional chefs, fishermen and street food vendors, to name a few.

Over 90 delicious recipes reveal the heart and soul of Turkish cuisine and range from breakfasts through to salads, soups, easy lunches and fast suppers to celebratory dishes for special occasions. Enticing dishes include roast chicken and pilaf, imam bayildi, cheese and spinach pide and fried mussel rolls or Turkish po-boys along with classic mezze plates, kofte and delicate honey-soaked pastries. Simple substitutions are also given for those ingredients that are less widely available.





Turkish Delights: Stunning regional recipes from the Bosphorus to the Black Sea By John Gregory Smith


Recommended by the delightful lady behind Working Mum’s Kitchen, this book has been popping up in my Amazon & Book depository recommends for a lifetime. The lovely Nervhis has me itching for it the next time I go to the Uk.


In Turkish Delights John Gregory-Smith brings his passion for Turkey and its food to your kitchen. He celebrates the best of the country's traditional food with 100 regional dishes, giving each one his simple, modern spin. Forget greasy late-night doner kebabs, John offers the Iskender kebab from the city of Bursa in Northwest Turkey, filled with finely sliced tender lamb, hot tomato and garlic sauce and yogurt. Other tempting dishes include the Ilgin Beef Kofta (pepper and parsley spiked beef from the Central Anatolian region) or his Ottoman-inspired Stuffed Pepper Dolma. With chapters on Breakfast, Meze, Pide and Kofta, Kebabs, Salads, Meat, Seafood, Vegetables and Desserts and Drinks, it is crammed full of exciting flavours and inspiring ideas.


Update: October 2020 - Spotted the kindle version of this book for 99p from Amazon.co.uk so excitedly purchased it and can't wait to go through it and start cooking. 



Istanbul Cult Recipes By Pomme Larmoyer

Another one of Working Mum’s Kitchen’s recommendations – I can’t wait to dig into this one, a cookbook, travel book – where to eat book I mean could anything be missing?

I look forward to visiting Istanbul again in the future no armed with my knowledge of all things sofra! I find the idea of Istanbul cooking pot quite fascinating – with it’s a plethora of inhabitants who’ve come from all corners of Turkey and further. There’s an interesting book I recently read about the vast culture of the Istanbul kitchen (‘İstanbul Mutfağı: Çokkültürlü’) 


Istanbul Cult Recipes invites you to explore an ancient and captivating city through its cuisine - a vast gastronomic culture spanning centuries and influences, from Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Mediterranean.

Istanbul's long-standing love affair with food is reflected in the delicacies on offer at all hours of the day and night. The streets of the city pulse with restaurants, cafes and street vendors - each selling their version of dishes beloved throughout Turkey: addictive street food; elegant and contemporary restaurant cuisine; and the fresh, healthy dishes cooked in homes across the country.

The recipes mirror this diversity. Take your pick of lively Turkish breakfasts; linger over delectable little plates of meze; try your hand at making bread and kebabs sold from the city's food carts, and master the art of making sweets such as baklava, helva and, of course, the unctuous Turkish delight.

With maps highlighting some of the author's favourite food destinations, and profiles on some of the city's proprietors and chefs, let Istanbul Cult Recipes envelop you in its passion for Turkish food.



A Taste of Sun & Fire

I have a strong urge to own this book, mostly because someone from an online cooking group was looking to buy it, I fell upon it, loved the sound of it and immediately bought it. The order was cancelled. I stumbled on it again, purchased once more and the second seller cancelled the order. This of course just adds to my need to read it. Should you have a copy of it sitting on a shelf someone pretty please name your price!

" Gaziantep cuisine, both delicate and famously hot and spicy, is the richest and most varied in Turkey, combining as it does the rustic foods of the Anatolian heartland, dishes developed in the Ottoman courts in Istanbul, and legacies from the Arab and Mediterranean worlds. It really is extraordinary and needs to be discovered. You will be amazed, inspired and delighted by the dishes." 










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