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A Glossary of Turkish Cuisine

by Terrie Wright Chrones

introduction  |  glossary  |  recipes  |  sources

Turkish Words and Phrases

The following listings, recipes and texts will further your understanding of this cuisine, whether planning for a future trip, or to enjoy at home. "C" is pronounced "j" in Turkish. The Turkish alphabet uses letters with the cedilla, or tail. For pronunciation purposes, the spellings have changed here from the cedilla "c" or "s" for example: to "ch" and "sh" for phonetic purposes.

a pudding made of cereals, dried and fresh fruits, nuts, sugar and spices, referred to as "Noah's pudding."

a drink of beaten yogurt, cold water and salt.

beyaz penir
a medium soft brined cheese.

filled pastries in various shapes, baked, fried, or grilled.

grated cucumber with diluted yogurt, garlic, salt, sprinkled with dill and olive oil.

a tapered cup with long handle for making Turkish coffee.

any filled or stuffed vegetable. The term means to stuff, the most famous filled grape leaves

a sweetmeat dessert of flour, semolina, butter, sugar, milk, and nuts.

finely shredded pastry used to make a dessert. It looks like shredded wheat cereal.

lamb cut into small cubes, braised and browned, for use in stews.

any dish made with ground meats, or bulgar and rice meat mixture; skewered, baked, and fried versions exist.

roasted and dried chickpeas used an appetizer much like salted nuts; yellow salted, unsalted, white or mastic leblebi is common.

Turkish delight, made of sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, grape juice and flavoring agents.

small pastries filled with minced meat, similar to ravioli, but very small.

a long smooth rolling pin, tapered, 24-32 inched long, used to roll flatbreads and filo.

similar to stuffed vegetables, only fried, and filled with browned spices then simmered.

heavily spiced sun dried beef

grape molasses used like molasses

a flattened, oval bread served plain, or meat filled. "Turkish pizza"

a bean dish cooked in olive oil, served cold with lemon.

any kind of dried bean salad with egg and vegetable.

the curved griddle used to cook yufka, filo, or borek

a bean dish cooked in olive oil, served cold with lemon

any kind of dried bean salad with egg and vegetable

any dish of wrapped leaves of grape, or cabbage; fillings are either minced meat or rice.

a preserved meat product similar to pepperoni, made of lamb and beef.

the ground berries of the edible sumac, used to give a tart lemon taste to food.

sis kofte
commonly known as shis kebab in the west, pieces of meat or kofte formed around skewers and grilled

a beehive shaped oven in the wall or free standing, used to cook pide and other breads.

the Turkish work for sweets, or desserts.

a sauce of egg with lemon juice, used in some koftes, dolmas and vegetable dishes.

yufka: ready made thin flatbread made upon a sac.

General Food Terms

aci: hot or bitter

ak ekmek: white bread

anchuez: anchovy

armut: pear

aschi: cook

az pishmish: rare

az shekerli: slightly sweet

badem: almond

baharat: spices
bal: honey
balik: fish
bardak: drinking glass
beyaz: white, as in white beans
beyaz sharap: white wine
bezelye: pea

biber: pepper
biftek: beefsteak

bira: beer

buz: ice

buzlu chay: ice tea

buzlu su: ice water

ceviz: walnut

cay: tea
chig: raw

chilek: strawberry

chorba: soup

dereotu: dill

dolma: stuffed vegetable

domates: tomato

dondurma: ice cream

ekmek: bread

ekshi: sour

elma: apple

erik: plum

et: meat

fasulye: bean

findik: filbert or hazelnut

fincan: cup

gazo: soda drink

gul: rose

guvech: earthenware casserole

ham: green

ham sheker: brown sugar

havuc: carrot

hazirlop: hard-boiled

hiyara: cucumber

incir: fig

ishkembe: tripe

kahvalti: breakfast

kahve: coffee

kakao: cocoa

kara: black

kara biber: black pepper

karanfil: clove

karides: shrimp

karnibahar: cauliflower

karpuz: watermelon

kavun: melon

kayisi : apricot
kekik: thyme

kizartma: browned in oil

kozleme: grilled

kuru: dried

kuzu: lamb

limon: lemon

lokanta: restaurant

mantar: mushroom

maydanoz: parsley

meyve: fruit

misir: corn

mutfak: kitchen or cuisine

muz: banana

nane: mint

nar: pomegranate
orta: medium, as in medium sweet coffee

orata shekerli: medium sweet, as in sweetened coffee

pancar: beet

pane: breaded

pazar: farmer's market

peynir: cheese

pilaki: dish with olive oil and onions, served room temperature

recheli: jam

sakiz: the resin from the mastic tree, Turkish term

sarimsak: garlic

sicak: hot

soguk: cold (silent g)

sulu yemek: home cooking

sut: milk

sarap: wine

sheftali: peach

seker: sugar

shishe: bottle

tava: frying pan, food which had been breaded and fried

taze: fresh

tuz: salt

un: flour

uzum: grape

yarim porsiyon: half, a regular size portion

yeshil: green as in green peppers

yeshil zeytin: green olive

yumurta: egg

zeytin: olive

zeytinagli: olive oil

more on Turkish Cuisine...
introduction  |  glossary  |  recipes  |  sources

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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