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The art of Turkish dough-based foods

Dough is prized in Turkish cuisine, and an important cultural ritual. It is encorporated into many different dishes and used with a variety of ingredients. From pide (pizza) to mantı (turkish ravioli), and pastries galore, there are plenty of delicacies for you to try that go hand in hand with Çay (Turkish tea) or Ayran (yoghurt drink).

Mantı (Turkish ravioli)

Mantı (Turkish ravioli) is a dish that migrated from Central Asia, that was later fused with Anatolian cuisine. Mantı, especially boiled mantı, soon became a central part of Turkish cuisine. Kayseri is famous for its delicious mantı, but is also a traditonal part of Çorum, Tokat, Niğde, Sinop and Sivas cuisine. Depending on the local recipe, the mantı dough is carefully rolled out in preparation for the main ingredients that are then placed in the center, before folding. The triangle-shaped or rose-shaped folded mantı is later cooked in the oven or in boiling water. The final step, before serving is to put a generous helping of yoghurt, butter tomato sauce and chilli flakes. The mantı of Kayseri, is a smaller size and served with more sauce than usual. The mincemeat and dough ingredients that make up this mantı are placed on a tray and cooked in the oven. A similar type of mantı, from Çorum is known as dry mantı, is made without meat and cooked on a tray. The mantı of Sivas is triangle-shaped. Other mantı treats, hıngel, originates from Sivas and Erzurum. Hıngel is made with potatoes and larger dough pieces and is served plain or with yoghurt.

Börekler (Turkish pastry)

Filo pastry, or rolled out dough, is packed with delicious ingredients, then shaped and folded accordingly. There are many variants of börek. The most popular are: su böreği, kol böreği, puf böreği, and tepsi böreği. Su böreği is a favorite variety of börek,pastry is boiled in water before being arranged on the tray, and is often eaten alongside Turkish breakfast.

In Kastamonu, alt-üst böreği, fincan böreği, küre böreği, cabbage böreği, spinach and potato böreği are famous dishes. In Eskişehir, çiğ boregi is a must-try, especially börek shops around Odunpazarı. The serpme böreği of Antalya is exquisite. Local delicacies of Edirne and Tekirdağ are loznik, bükme, Arnavut and gelincik otlu böreği. Konya böreği, Recai böreği and Sezai böreği are also favorites. You can find these pastries in shops around Şems-i Tebrizi Mosque. Kurdish börek is another treat, served with powder sugar from Bingöl.

Pide (Turkish pizza)

Pide is another delicious dish that migrated from Central Asia. It is placed on a long stretch of dough that is later filled with ingredients then placed in an oven. It can be enjoyed any horu of the day and is prepared differently depending on the region. The pide of Samsun is the most famous in Turkey. The historical Bafra pide of Samsun gained its name in 1850 and is known as kapalı (closed) pide, where the ingredients are sealed within the dough. Konya is also renowned for its 60-year-old pide recipe, a delicious combination of meat, onion, tomatoes and peppers are placed on dough and cooked in the oven. Mevlana pide is a mixture of cheese and meat and another Konya speciality. For those that can’t get enough of pide some other places you can visit are: Bursa, Kastamontu, Sivas, Aydın, Denizli and Trabzon. In Rize, you can find varities bursting with fried meat and cheese. Some must-try dishes are the kind in Trabzon with feta cheese and Sürmene, tahini in the bursa kind, kır in Kastamonu and sherbet pide in Aksaray.

Ekmekler (Bread)

Bread is a popular staple of Turkish cuisine, and there are varieties of bread, without or without yeast, in each region. In rural parts of Turkey, each household is equipped with a special oven, furnace and saç. In the city you can find plenty of oven baked bread shops, and different varieties of bread. Every meal is laden with a variety of bread, depending on region, from somun, tandır, bazlama, corn bread and filo pastry. You can find tandır bread in Erzurum, Elazığ, Diyarbakır, Ağrı, Kayseri, Hatay, Eskişehir, Mardin and Malatya. Bazlama dough, called Tablama is famous in Adıyaman, Trabzon and, Malatya is comprised of flour, water and salt and cooked in a saç. Bazlama is called Bazlama in Çankırı and in Zonguldak göbü, in İzmir bezdirme, and in Manisa pezdirme. Tandır bread is cooked in a oven, in a hole in the Earth, and can be sampled at Erzurum, Erzincan, Elazığ, Diyarbakır, Ağrı, Malatya, Sivas and Şanlıurfa. Corn bread is a symbol of the Blacksea region. There are different vairities in Sinop, Artvin, Trabzon and Kastamonu, that go beautifully with fish.

From pide (pizza) to mantı (turkish ravioli), and pastries galore, there are plenty of delicacies for you to try.