Istanbul Cuisine, June 25
It was a crowded house on the last Wednesday of June as a bunch of new friends gathered to learn more about Turkish cooking from local chef Nil Alt.
Turkish cuisine is about more than the well-known confection Turkish Delight. Nil explained there are a ton of different countries and cuisines that have influenced Turkish cooking, including the Middle East, Asia, Russia and the Mediterranean. The foods eaten can vary depending on which area of Turkey residents are from, and what country they’re closest to.
Staples like meat, fish, rice and vegetables are featured throughout Turkish dishes, and foods are cooked simply with butter and a handful of spices to enhance their natural flavours. Fare tends to be homemade and shared with neighbours, family and friends.
Together, we whipped up an enormous bowl of ‘kisir’, a bulghur salad that showcases tomatoes, cucumber, mint and cilantro (it was a lot of chopping – thankfully we had a lot of hands on deck to help!). Nil also cooked us a few other traditional Turkish dishes like green beans in olive oil, ‘aşure’, a toothsome pudding made from beans and nuts, and dried apricot ‘hoşaf’, a beverage of soaked beans and nuts that is rumoured to help with digestion.
And Turkish cuisine isn’t the only fare we learned about that night – guests also divulged the cultural cooking they grew up with, which included foods from Ireland, Britain, China, Japan, India, Mexico, Canada and more. In case you missed it, you can check out pictures from the evening here.
We hope everyone had a fantastic time, and we'll see you next month!