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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Turkish Festive Dishes

Healthy, Delicious and Easy Turkish Menu Ideas for Every Taste

I have been asked by a few readers to give some Turkish menu ideas to enjoy with family and friends. Most Turkish food is easy to prepare and can also be prepared ahead of time. I hope the below ideas may inspire you to have a go at delicious, wholesome and easy to prepare Turkish food. Using seasonal produce, healthy grains and naturally flavoring with spices, olive oil and sauces like pomegranate molasses, you can create delicious, wholesome and balanced Turkish meals for family and friend easily.

A Classic Turkish Menu; from Soup to Dessert

Ezo Gelin Corba, Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup, flavored with dried mint and red pepper flakes.

Ezo Gelin Corba, Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup, flavored with dried mint and red pepper flakes.

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with them. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. In my parents’ home, no matter how extensive dinner menu we is, soup like this Ezo Gelin Corba would always be the one to welcome everyone, along with Pide Bread. There would be a type of borek, savory pastry with fillings, a Zeytinyagli, vegetables cooked in olive oil, made with seasonal vegetables and a mezze, appetizer. Then the main course could be either a casserole, stew or a home style tray bake kebab. Most Turks these days may skip the dessert, unless it is a special family gathering or have a light one like this stuffed baked apricot or sliced seasonal fruits, as in our house.

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes in ground meat and aromatic rice; Dolma

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes in ground meat and aromatic rice; Dolma

Turkish Spicy Bulgur and Lentil Soup – Ezo Gelin Corba
Spinach and feta filo tray bake – Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek
Warm Hummus in red pepper flakes infused olive oil
Green Beans with onions, garlic and tomatoes, cooked in olive oil – Zeytinyagli Taze Fasulye
Stuffed tomatoes and peppers with ground meat, onions and aromatic rice – Dolma
Baked stuffed dried apricots with walnuts – Cevizli Kuru Kayisi Tatlisi

Vegetarian Turkish meal menu

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and there are many delicious vegetarian courses on offer. From stuffed pides to vegetables cooked in olive oil, yoghurt based dips to pilafs with vegetables and more, there are plenty, delicious choices. Here’s my selection; the list includes a family favorite from Antakya, Eggplants cooked with lentils, onions and peppers – Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla; a heavenly, delicious meal that melts in the mouth.

Eggplants, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil; Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla

Eggplants, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil; Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla

Turkish oval flat breads with spinach, peppers and feta cheese topping, Peynirli Pide
Eggplants cooked with lentils, onions and peppers in olive oil – Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla
Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint
Bulgur Pilaf with vegetables – Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi
Semolina Sponge Cake in syrup – Revani

Semolina sponge cake in syrup, Revani

Semolina sponge cake in syrup, Revani

Festive Turkish Meal Menu

Walnut and red pepper paste dip; Muhammara or Cevizli Biber

Walnut and red pepper paste dip; Muhammara or Cevizli Biber

This is a festive menu that appears at my mother’s table at every special occasion and gatherings. With our roots going back to Antakya, southern part of Turkey, the menu is naturally inspired by our home town. The walnuts and red pepper paste dip, Muhammara is a special favorite and makes a great appetizer, served with homemade pide bread. Upside down rice with layers of sautéed meat, eggplants and potatoes, Mevlubi, is my mother’s signature dish; a special, impressive dish that is perfect for entertaining. Having rice, meat and vegetables in it makes Mevlubi a complete course too. Kunefe, pastry strands soaked in syrup with melted cheese would be the ultimate dessert for this festive meal.

Red pepper paste and walnut dip – Cevizli Biber or Muhammara
Homemade Turkish flat pide bread, Pide Ekmek
Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir
Stuffed grape vine leaves with aromatic rice and herbs – Sarma
Upside down rice with layers of meat, eggplant and potatoes – Mevlubi
Pastry Strands in syrup with melted cheese – Kunefe

Kunefe, Kadayifi - a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Kunefe, Kadayifi; pastry strands in syrup with melted cheese – a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Mezze based Turkish Meal Menu

Baked prawns with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and cheese - Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and cheese – Karides Guvec

I love the small plates of mezzes in Turkish cuisine, probably my favorite style of enjoying Turkish food. Dips, salads, borek pastries, vegetables cooked in olive oil, mini meatballs, and oven baked shrimp casserole all adore the tables as “starters” and shared amongst the guests. I love them so much that I tend to have a variety of them as my main course. Here is a delicious selection for you to create at your home. Turkish coffee accompanied by Turkish delight would be the ultimate end to this Turkish meal, shared in good company of friends and family:

Filo rolls with feta and parsley, Sigara boregi
Borlotti beans cooked in olive oil – Barbunya Pilaki
Shepherd’s Salad with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions with olive oil and sumac – Coban Salatasi
Baked shrimp casserole with peppers, mushroom and cheese – Karides Guvec
Baked Mini meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce – Domates ve biber soslu mini kofte
Potato, red onion and olive bake with cumin and chili flakes
Turkish Coffee
Homemade Turkish Delight

Baked mini Turkish meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce

Baked mini Turkish meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce

I do hope these delicious varieties of Turkish menus inspire you; you can pick and choose the dishes that suit your taste and needs, I hope you enjoy them.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; more than a drink

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; more than a drink

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Sutlu Nuriye; Lighter Baklava with Hazelnuts in Milky Syrup

Sutlu Nuriye; lighter baklava with hazelnuts in milky syrup

Sutlu Nuriye; lighter baklava with hazelnuts in milky syrup

Sutlu Nuriye is a delicious Turkish dessert; similar to baklava but lighter with its milk based syrup. Crushed hazelnuts are used in the filling here and works wonderfully with the milky syrup, which gives Sutlu Nuriye a whitish look. Sutlu Nuriye is lighter, creamer than baklava and really easy to make at home, using filo pastry sheets. They have been a huge hit with the children, as well as adults in our home, great for entertaining.

Pour in the luke warm milky syrup over cooled cooked filo pastry and let the pastry to soak the milky syrup for 35- 40 minutes.

Pour in the luke warm milky syrup over cooled cooked filo pastry and let the pastry to soak the milky syrup for 35- 40 minutes.

Sutlu Nuriye believed to be created due to the supply shortage in 1980s. Rather than the expensive pistachios, a baklava producer used hazelnuts and flavored with milk for lighter syrup. The result has been today’s popular Sutlu Nuriye, a delicious, lighter version of the regular baklava.

Light, melt-in-the mouth Sutlu Nuriye, a variation of baklava in milky syrup.

Light, melt-in-the mouth Sutlu Nuriye, a variation of baklava in milky syrup.

You can prepare Sutlu Nuriye a day ahead of time and keep it in a cool place; always serve at room temperature. I hope you enjoy this soft, light, melt-in-the mouth Sutlu Nuriye, a variation of baklava in milky syrup. Turkish coffee or Turkish tea, cay aside complements Sutlu Nuriye very well.

My very best wishes to you all for the festive season. Many thanks for your company, recreating my Turkish recipes at your homes, your kind share and comments, I greatly appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure enjoying Turkish cuisine with you all and I look forward to sharing many more recipes in the New Year. I wish you all a happy, healthy new year in good company and delicious food.

Ozlem1

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sutlu Nuriye; Lighter Baklava with Hazelnuts in Milky Syrup
 
Sutlu Nuriye is a delicious Turkish dessert; similar to baklava but lighter with its milk based syrup. Crushed hazelnuts are used in the filling here and works wonderfully with the milky syrup, which gives Sutlu Nuriye a whitish look. Sutlu Nuriye is lighter, creamer than baklava and really easy to make at home, using filo pastry sheets. Hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Desserts
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 30 pieces
Ingredients
  • 270 gr x 2 packs of filo pastry sheets (12 filo sheets in total; each sheet 480 mm x 255 mm each)
  • 200 gr/4 oz. /a little less than 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 340 gr/ 12 oz. chopped/crushed hazelnuts
  • For the syrup:
  • 16 fl. oz. / 2 cups water
  • 12 fl oz. / 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 270 gr/ 1⅓ cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. Take out the fresh filo pastry sheets from the fridge and bring to room temperature 20 minutes prior using. To thaw frozen filo sheets, it is best to place them in the fridge the night before or bring it to room temperature 2 hours before using.
  3. Grease the baking dish with the melted butter.
  4. Place two filo pastry sheets to the baking dish (trim the sheets at the edges if necessary to fit into your baking dish) and brush with the melted butter.
  5. Place 2 more filo pastry sheets and brush with the melted butter. Place another two sheets over them and brush with melted butter.
  6. Crush the hazelnuts in a food processor, carefully pulsing a just few times or chop by hand (take care for the hazelnuts not go too small pieces or fine).
  7. Spread the chopped hazelnuts evenly on the 6th sheet of buttered filo pastry.
  8. Lay two more sheets of filo pastry and brush with melted butter. Repeat this 2 more times, buttering every two sheets, until you reach 12th sheet.
  9. Brush the 12th sheet of filo pastry with butter and ease the sheets into the corners and trim the edges if necessary.
  10. Then using a sharp knife, cut right through all the layers to form small square pieces. It should make about 30 pieces in total.
  11. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven (180 C/ 350 F) for 25 minutes, until golden at top.
  12. While the pastry is baking, prepare your syrup.
  13. Put the sugar into a heavy pan, pour in water and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Once the sugar is dissolved, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  14. Pour in the milk to the pan, give a good stir to the syrup and turn the heat off. Leave the pan aside to cool down; the syrup needs to be luke warm to pour over cooked filo pastry.
  15. Once the filo pastry is cooked and golden at top, take out of the oven and leave it aside to cool down for 15 minutes.
  16. Slowly pour in the luke warm milky syrup over cooled cooked filo pastry and let the pastry to soak the milky syrup for 35- 40 minutes.
  17. Once milky syrup is absorbed by the pastry, take out the Sutlu Nuriye squares and serve at room temperature.
  18. You can prepare Sutlu Nuriye a day ahead of time and keep in a cool place, covered.
 

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Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; Mantarli Gul Manti

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; mushrooms make a delicious filling.

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; mushrooms make a delicious filling.

The traditional manti, Turkish dumplings or ravioli, was a central dish in the 15th century Ottoman cuisine. A very popular dish, it was cooked in imperial kitchens and was eaten by Sultan Mehmet II almost daily. This version of manti, traditionally made with “yufka”, the fresh pastry sheets, is a popular one at home and was a big hit at our Turkish cookery class last Saturday. These mantis are also named as “Sosyete Mantisi” or Gul Manti / Gul Boregi, as they look like the shape of rose.

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with filo pastry and mushroom filling; Mantarli Gul Manti or Gul Boregi

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with filo pastry and mushroom filling; Mantarli Gul Manti or Gul Boregi

Gul Manti is traditionally made with ground meat and onion filling. We made a vegetarian version during our class, using chestnut mushrooms, onions, garlic and tomato; it proved to be a delicious vegetarian filling and we all enjoyed it.

Spread 1 ½  tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle of the filo pastry.

Spread 1 ½ tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle of the filo pastry.

Roll the pastry like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.

Roll the pastry like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.

Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape.

Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape.

Seal the ends of the pastry well with a little water.

Seal the ends of the pastry well with a little water.

Rose ravioli, gul manti, may seem a little awkward to make but they look so attractive that the extra effort is worthwhile. Please bear in mind that filo pastry dries out quickly and may become difficult to work with. To prevent this, keep the pastry sheets under a damp dish towel and only take out one at a time. Above is a step by step photo of how to fold and bend the filo pastry into the rose shape. If the pastry breaks as you fold/bend, please don’t worry. Keep a bowl of water by your side and seal all the broken parts with water and patch with a little pastry. It will all work just fine at the end.

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with mushrooms, gul manti; we served bulgur and potato patties aside at our Turkish cookery class

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with mushrooms, gul manti; we served bulgur and potato patties aside at our Turkish cookery class

With the garlicky yoghurt and red pepper flakes infused olive oil drizzled over, these rose raviolis with mushroom filling make an impressive, delicious course. We served them with bulgur and potato patties, bulgurlu, patatesli kofte with pomegranate molasses aside, they complemented each other well.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; Mantarli Gul Manti
 
With the garlicky yoghurt and red pepper flakes infused olive oil drizzled over, these vegetarian Turkish rose raviolis (or Gul Manti / Gul Boregi) with mushroom filling make an impressive, delicious course. Filo pastry is used here, please follow the instructions so that they won't get dried. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Savory Pastries
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 260 gr / 9 oz. filo pastry sheets, thawed
  • 225 gr / 8 oz. chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 small to medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 bunch or ½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly grounded black pepper
  • 4 fl oz. / ½ cup vegetable stock
  • For garlic yoghurt:
  • 260 gr / 9 oz. natural plain yoghurt, brought to room temp.
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
  • For red pepper infused sauce:
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 5-10 ml/ 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dried mint to sprinkle over to finish the rose ravioli
  • Small bowl of cold water aside to shape and seal the rose ravioli
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
  2. For best results, thaw the frozen filo pastry in the fridge overnight and bring it to the room temperature30 minutes before using. That enables the filo thaw completely. If it is fresh as in the UK, you only need to bring the filo to the room temperature 30 minutes before using.
  3. Bring the yoghurt to room temperature by taking out the fridge and set aside in a warm spot in the kitchen.
  4. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and chop finely.
  5. Sauté the chopped onions with some olive oil for a couple of minutes, until soft.
  6. Add the mushrooms and the garlic, cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and gently cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, until most of the juice is evaporated.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and mix well. Set aside to cool.
  8. Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  9. On a dry surface, place the filo pastry sheets on top of one another and cut in half horizontally to form rectangles. Place damp paper towel over them to keep moist. Have a bowl of water near you.
  10. Take out two rectangular filo pastry sheets on a dry surface (cover the rest of the filo pastry with damp towel).
  11. Spread 1 ½ tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle and roll like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.
  12. Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape sealing the end again with a little water. Make sure you seal all the openings/cracks with a little water. If any bigger cracks appear, you can patch it with a little pastry, sealing with water again, it works.
  13. Brush the gul manti with a little olive oil and place them on a greased tray. Repeat this with all rectangles.
  14. Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
  15. Take the gul manti out of the oven once they are golden brown. Then place a dessert spoonful of stock on each hot manti and put in the oven for another 5 minutes to soak up the stock. The finished rose mantis should be nice and crispy outside and moist inside.
  16. For the garlic yoghurt; whisk together the yoghurt and the crushed garlic in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  17. For the red pepper infused sauce; melt the butter (or gently heat the olive oil) in a small pan. Add the red pepper flakes and mix well.
  18. Place the hot rose ravioli (gul manti) on a serving dish. Pour the garlic yoghurt over it first then dribble the peppery sauce over the garlic yoghurt.
  19. Finish the dish by sprinkling dried mint over it and serve immediately.
Notes
1) Filo pastry dries out very quickly and becomes unworkable. To prevent this, keep the pastry sheets under a damp dish towel or paper tpwel and only take out one at a time. Any leftover pastry can be rolled up, sealed in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer.
2) You can freeze the baked gul mantis, rose ravioli. They can be successfully reheated on a greased tray (at 350 F /180C for about 15 minutes)

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