Mediterranean cuisine is rapidly growing in popularity all over the world. The reasons are simple – it is tasty, healthy, has lots of variety and is simple and interesting to prepare. What many do not realize is that within the ambit of Mediterranean food, there are several distinct cuisines, from countries across the region, all of which possess the same taste and health benefits but which are also unique in many ways. One of the most interesting is Turkish food.
What Is Turkish Food?
Turkish food is perhaps best known for its variety of kebabs. While these may be among the most widely eaten, Turkish cooking uses a lot of fresh herbs and spices, all of which combine to give everything, from salads to vegetables, rice, and of course, a wide range of meats, a unique flavor. The herbs and spices that are so much a part of this cuisine are known for their anti-inflammatory and metabolism boosting properties. A visit to the spice bazaar in Istanbul is an experience that cannot be forgotten. The range of condiments is too large to explain in detail here, but a quick visit to a Turkish grocery online will give you an idea of the color and vibrancy of both the ingredients and the food itself.
The information on which cooking oil is safe to use or good for the body keeps changing and is hard to keep up with. That being said, olive oil has consistently remained at the top of the list of healthy oils. It is known to be not only full of antioxidants and hence good for the heart, but it also helps to keep the skin and hair healthy. Olive oil is the primary cooking and preserving medium in Turkish food. Even cakes are made with this instead of butter.
Vegan and Vegetarian Food
Although kebabs and a wide range of meats are often the first things that come to mind when Turkish food is mentioned, there are also an equal number of vegan and vegetarian dishes that do not compromise on taste and health benefits. Just think of hummus and falafel, among others. These are loved by everyone, including the most die-hard meat-eaters. They are light, delicious, and of course, healthy.
Also Read: Middle Eastern Dishes You Must Try Part 1
There is a widely held misconception that Turkish sweet dishes, like the ever-present Turkish Delight, are overly sticky and sweet. Not so! While there are heavy desserts, there are even more that are light and very yummy but not heavy and unhealthy. A great example of this is kunafeh, a Turkish dessert made from vermicelli, nuts and ricotta cheese. If you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you are missing.
The Turks are very sociable people and mealtimes are for the families to enjoy each other’s company. Try a Turkish meal once and you will understand why their food is so special. You don’t have to go to a Turkish restaurant to try it. You can easily prepare everything at home. Just find a Turkish grocery online or a deli that has Turkish specialties and you are set for a great family meal at home. Turkish food is also great when you are entertaining.