Turkish Appetizers Are Great with Any Meal | Turkish Baklava in San Mateo

Turkish Appetizers Are Great with Any Meal

Turkey has always been an immensely popular tourist destination. Its history, culture, art and food are known around the world. The recent tragic earthquake means that it will be some time before the country is once again open for tourists. However, the wonderful cuisine of the country is available almost everywhere and there is no reason to delay trying it if you have not done so already. If you have tried it, keep in mind that this food is much more than just Turkish baklava, chocolate baklava and pistachio baklava which is the gastronomic border that many stop at.

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The ideal way to start with Turkish food or to expand your culinary horizons is with appetizers. Turkish appetizers can be had with just about any type of cuisine so pairing them with your favorite dishes is easy. Here are a few that you can easily try. Recipes are available online and the ingredients can be obtained from a specialty Mediterranean grocery store.

  • Şakşuka: This beautiful dish is made by sauteing vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers and so on in olive oil. Herbs and garlic are then added to intensify the flavor. Have it as a stand-alone appetizer or with Turkish flatbread.
  • Bazlama: This Turkish flatbread can be found all over Turkey, from the remotest village to the most modern urban settings. It is usually round and baked in a rock oven. It is made with very simple ingredients – water, salt, flour and yeast and because of this it has a long shelf life and remains fresh for up to a week. It is best when eaten with Şakşuka, pickled vegetables and salads.
  • Bulgur Pilavı: This bulgur pilafcan be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a stand-alone main course. It is prepared by parboiling whole wheat, drying it in the sun and then giving it a coarse grind. This bulgur is then cooked in broth along with spices and various vegetables, after which it is topped with red onions, feta cheese, parsley and almonds.
  • Dolma: This dish of stuffed grape leaves is often associated only with Greek food, but it is a staple across the Mediterranean. The grape (or sometimes cabbage) leaves are stuffed with rice, vegetables, seafood or meats and baked. Dolma can be eaten either hot or cold so it is an anytime dish.
  • Çöp Şiş: Kebabs are a favorite across Turkey and these shish kebabs are at the top of the list. The origins are lost in time but legend has it that after battle, Turkish soldiers skewered meat on their swords and grilled it over an open fire. There are many variations but the basic kebab is made with lamb cubes, bell peppers, onions, soy sauce and garlic.
  • Haydari: This yogurt sauce is a great dip that goes with anything. It is made with natural yogurt and flavored with cucumber, garlic and a variety of dried herbs. It is good any time of year but especially great on hot summer days. It is usually served with pita bread, raw vegetables and grilled meats.

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If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, all that you need to make these appetizers and other great Turkish dishes is available at Aladdin Gourmet. You can also order catering if you are not in the mood to cook.


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