How to eat like a turk
Exotic food - The Mag
Turkish meals are a lavish affair. I realise this as I dig into an assorted platter of cheese, olives, pickles, mashed potatoes, eggplant and vegetables cooked to delicate perfection. And just as I ready myself for dessert, a smiling waiter tells me that the spread was just the meze: Turkish for appetisers. The main course consisted of wafer thin doner kebabs and other varieties of kebabs grilled with pistachios and nuts. At the end of the meal, I am served dessert and a cup of black Turkish coffee.
MISTRESS OF SPICES
Later, while walking through the Spice Bazaar, the fragment smell lures me into taking a closer look at the astounding variety of herbs and spices on offer: There are a dozen varieties of tea like rose, jasmine,
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The two Turkish dishes that I lose my heart to are dolma and kumpir. Dolma refers to a family of stuffed vegetable dishes from the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. It will be a while before I can forget my first bite of dolma, as flavours of spiced rice stuffed in vine leaves and soaked in brine left me stunned.
Kumpir is a popular fast food in Turkey. At a popular stand in Ortakoy, Istanbul, I signal to the street vendor to make me some kumpir. He deftly slices the baked potato into two and adds a layer of butter and cheese. I am asked to choose my toppings and instead of choosing them with discretion, I greedily point to hotdog slices, corn, peas, vegetable salad, pickles, pickled beets, green and black olives and yogurt. The olives and the pickles give it a pungent, sour taste. But the creaminess of mayo, butter and cheese make every bite a delectable one.
There are alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to help you unwind. Ayran, a salty version of our desi lassi helps to beat the heat. The local red wine is so good that we lose track of the number of glasses that we help ourselves to. At the Sirince village, I buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil at half the price that I would get it in India. But that was only one of the many highpoints of the trip.
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