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Delicious Turkish Festive Meals To Share; Mutlu Bayramlar!

Turkish Delights, Lokum galore! An integral part of the festivities in Turkey

Turkish Delights, Lokum galore! An integral part of the festivities in Turkey

Muslims around the world will be celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice, Kurban Bayrami or Eid al-Adha as of 21st of August in 2018. I have many happy memories celebrating this special event with the family back in Turkey. This is the time family and friends get together to share their food and charity is at the top of the list. Food is shared with friends, family and contribution to charity and sharing the food with the poor and needy is what makes Kurban Bayrami special. Visiting family and friends is another highlight; we children  would wear our best frocks and visit the elderly to pay our respects (and spoilt with delicious sweets).

As always, food takes the center stage and here are some ideas for you to prepare your festive Kurban Bayrami or Eid al-Adha table. Most of the dishes here can be prepared ahead of time and makes it easy for entertaining for any festivity or gathering.

All these lovely, authentic Turkish recipes, along with personal stories included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can order Signed copies at this link to treat yourself or gift to a foodie.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

Soup of the Mountain Pastures with Yoghurt, Whole Grain Rice, Dried Mint and Paprika Flakes -Yayla Corbasi 

Delicious, wholesome yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi

Delicious, wholesome yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi

Soups, “Corba” in Turkish, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with a soup in Turkish households and Bayram table is no exception. This simple but delicious yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi, originates back to Anatolia’s earliest settlers and nomadic herdsman. It is one of the most popular soups in Turkey, flavored with dried mint and paprika flakes and would make a perfect start to any festive meal.

Baked Icli Kofte – Oruk, Cevizli Biber- Walnut dip, red pepper paste dip, Patlicanli Eksileme- Roasted Eggplant Salad

Baked Kibbeh – Oruk, from Ozlem’s Turkish Cookery book

My mother would start preparing for the Bayram feast from weeks well ahead of time. She would make the Oruk ,baked bulgur shells with walnuts & ground meat, even a month or so ago, as it can keep freezer very well. Cevizli Biber, the Walnut & red pepper paste dip  is one of my favorite mezes of all time; it is very easy to make and very, very more-ish, you just can’t stop eating it.. You can keep the dip covered in the fridge for 3-4 days and it gets better the next day! How about this Roasted Eggplant salad, Patlicanli Eksileme? This is a wonderful, refreshing salad can be served as part of a “mezze” – appetizer- or can accompany grilled meats and vegetables.

Spinach and Cheese Pie- Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek, a winner for all 

Spinach and Cheese Pie, Ispanakli, peynirli borek; a winner for all

Spinach and Cheese Pie, Ispanakli, peynirli borek; a winner for all

Boreks, Stuffed savory pastries has a special place in Turkish cuisine; they are an essential part of the festivities or gatherings. This wonderful spinach and cheese pie has to be one of the most deliciously pleasing and easy borek around. I use the filo pastry sheets for this recipe and it works well. If frozen, you need to defrost them overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I combine the feta cheese with mozzarella in this recipe to make it moister. You can serve this pie as an appetizer; they are also delicious at afternoon tea time with cay, tea aside.

Imam Bayildi; Eggplants Cooked in Olive Oil with Onion, Garlic and Tomato

Imam Bayildi; Stuffed eggplants with onions, garlic and tomatoes; simply delicious

Imam Bayildi; Stuffed eggplants with onions, garlic and tomatoes; simply delicious

Imam Bayildi, Eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables, would also make a delicious, refreshing vegetarian course at the festive tables. The aubergines are gently poached in this dish with a generous mixture of onions, tomatoes and garlic. This dish is in the category of Vegetables cooked in olive oil, Zeytinyaglis in Turkish cuisine, where the vegetables are poached in olive oil and little water and served either cold or room temperature with a slice of lemon aside.

 A Festive DishMevlubi; Layers of Eggplants, Potatoes, Meat and Rice

A very festive dish, Mevlubi; layers of eggplant, potato and meat cooked with rice

A very festive dish, Mevlubi; layers of eggplant, potato and meat cooked with rice

Another signature dish from my mother’s table, Mevlubi; this special dish makes an appearance in every special occasion on my parent’s table and it is fit for festivities. I love that succulent meat, eggplant, potato all cooked together and their flavor enhance one another. As you can cook ahead of time, this wonderful all in one dish makes an impressive main course and you get to spend more time with your company. For maximum results, please cook on low heat, and let Mevlubi rest for minimum 30 minutes prior serving.

 Pistachio Lamb Kebabs on Flat Breads & Sauteed Carrots in Garlic Yoghurt 

Pistachio lamb kebabs  are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special.

Yoghurt has a special place in Turkish cuisine; some of the finest yoghurt in the world is made in Turkey and is included in some way at most family meal times. This simple but very delicious Turkish mezze, Sauteed carrots in garlic yoghut is a favorite with us and complements these pistachio kebabs very well.

Festive Desserts

Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios; Cevizli, Fistikli Baklava

 Homemade Baklava with walnuts and pistachios

Homemade Baklava with walnuts and pistachios

An Ottoman legacy, baklava is one of the greatest creations from the pastry chefs at the Topkapi Palace. Generally, baklava is enjoyed as a mid-morning sweet snack with a cup of Turkish coffee, or as a mid-afternoon treat with a glass of tea or after lunch or dinner and it is fit for festivities! The real thing shouldn’t be very sweet and heavy; on the contrary it should be light enough to tempt you to eat a small plateful. Hope you enjoy my version of  baklava which is a little less sweet and more fragrant. Using filo pastry sheets, making baklava is much easier than you think.

Kunefe – Kadayifi

Antakya's kunefe; kadayifi

Antakya’s kunefe; kadayifi, a very festive dessert

 This glorious syrup soaked, cheese filled pastry strands, Kunefe, is one of the signature dishes of my hometown, Antakya and a very festive dessert. Tel kadayif is a dough, pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, which looks like vermicelli and when soaked in butter and baked, resembles golden shredded wheat. It is the basis for many desserts but this is the most impressive. The hot cheese should ooze out giving an interesting contrast to the syrup soaked, crunchy casing. Any unsalted cheese which melts easily can be used – fresh mozzarella works well. I also like to add a little clotted cream; my mother would add the wonderfully thick cream we get in Turkey, called Kaymak.  Kunefe can be baked in one big pan or smaller ones as individual portions.

Milk Pudding with Mastic Gum; Sakizli Muhallebi

Milk pudding with mastic gum; Sakizli Muhallebi, a light, fragrant pudding

Milk pudding with mastic gum; Sakizli Muhallebi, a light, fragrant pudding

How about this delicious, light and fragrant milk pudding with mastic gum for a sweet treat? In Turkey, mastic gum is used in milky desserts, ice cream (a very delicious experience). Originally liquid, mastic gum is sold as hard small translucent lumps and melted in hot milk while making dessert. Any berry or plum compote would also go well with this pudding. 

Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight; they go well together

Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight; they go so well together

As always, Turkish coffee and Turkish delight would be the perfect end for the festive gathering.

Mutlu Bayramlar to all celebrating. I hope these delicious food may inspire and be enjoyed during any festivities, gatherings with family and friends.

Afiyet Olsun,



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14 Responses to Delicious Turkish Festive Meals To Share; Mutlu Bayramlar!

  1. senior dogs abroad October 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem, Well, everything looks so wonderful that I just know the recipes will be winners. We love Kurban bayramı because of its emphasis on human solidarity and sharing. Thanks for all the delicious recipes you’ve given us to help celebrate the holidays with. We especially want to wish you and your family a wonderful bayram.

    • Ozlem Warren October 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      Merhaba Mark and Jolee, a very Mutlu Bayramlar to you both too! Very kind of you, I’d be delighted if any of these recipes may help with the festivities 🙂 I am with you; for me Bayram stands for remembering family and friends, getting together and charity. My best wishes, cok selamlar, Ozlem

  2. Peri October 15, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    A delicious array of servings, Ozlem, with baklava being one of my favorites:) Mutlu Bayramlar to you and the family. XxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Thank you dear Peri, Mutlu Bayramlar to you too, glad you enjoyed the post : ) xx Ozlem

  3. April Ozbilgin October 15, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    Miss Kurban Bayram and the Lokum. My favorite is with pistachio! Kurban Bayraminiz Kutlu Olsun Ozlem Sevgiler!

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      Mutlu Bayramlar sevgili April, I greatly miss gathering with family and friends, and especially remembering the elderly, precious times. Cok sevgiler, Ozlem

  4. Joanne T Ferguson October 15, 2013 at 5:00 am #

    G’day Ozlem! What wonderful recipes and photos celebrating your festival, true!
    Thank you today for allowing me to learn something new!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Good day to you too Joanne and many thanks for stopping by, they’re a pleasure to share and I’d be delighted if the recipes inspire 🙂 My best wishes, Ozlem

  5. Mary October 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Iyi Bayramlar to you, and all your family Ozlem. May it be filled with peace and delicious food :))
    Mary xx

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Cok tesekkurler Mary, Mutlu Bayramlar to you too! Cok sevgiler, Ozlem xx

  6. Barbara October 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    What a feast – happy Bayram to you and your family Özlem!

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      Thank you Barbara, mutlu bayramlar to you too!:)

  7. BacktoBodrum October 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Happy Bayram Özlem. The children going to school at Bayram must feel odd to you in the UK. I had the same feeling when my daughter had to go to school on Christmas day.

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Mutlu Bayramlar Annie 🙂 You are right, it does feel strange, especially when the lokum packs from Istanbul arrived this morning from my parents for the Bayram; they just wanted to sit and indulge! Cok selamlar, Ozlem

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