How to Prepare a Traditional Turkish Breakfast
What is a Turkish breakfast?
Turkish for breakfast is kahvaltı, which literally translates as “coffee base.” Turkey is where coffee drinking commenced as a social activity and first coffee houses were established. Turkish coffee is the oldest form of any coffee as a beverage, and it turns out Turks felt the need to eat something before they start their day in the morning, hence the coffee base. Unlike what’s common in the West, Turkish breakfast items are vast and very diverse. Turkish breakfast stands for the fact that Turkish food is not just kebabs and stuffed vegetables as Turkish breakfast is a bountiful mix of cooked and uncooked foods.
How to prepare Turkish breakfast?
The first stage of making Turkish breakfast begins with brewing Turkish black tea. Turkish black tea is made in a special tea maker or a set that comes with two parts, one of which is the teapot and the other for boiled water. Turkish people like steeped black tea and they drink it in special tea glasses, not teacups or tea mugs.
As tea keeps brewing and the water boiling on the burner, you begin with setting the uncooked or raw breakfast menu of the day. A regular Turkish breakfast menu of uncooked foods consists of Turkish breakfast cheese, called beyaz peynir (popularly known as Turkish white cheese) or lor (curd), Turkish olives – either green olives or black olives, honey, kaymak (a Turkish dairy product similar to clotted cream) chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and parsley, butter, jam varieties the most common types being tart cherry jam, fig jam, quince jam, rose jam, apple jam, and apricot jam which all grow naturally in Turkey.
A typical Turkish breakfast has always eggs cooked in different ways. Hard-boiled eggs are the most common while you can also see scrambled eggs, omelet, and "çılbır", which is very similar to poached eggs with yogurt and oil sauce. One of the things that makes Turkish breakfast traditional is menemen; a Turkish breakfast dish made of eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, and based on preference, onions. Menemen is very rich in flavor, not to mention a very nutritional way to start your day.
Sucuk, or Turkish breakfast sausage or pepperoni, is very popular as well. People generally fry it in olive oil or cook it with eggs.
As for Turkish breakfast pastry, simit and pogaca take the front seat. Simit, also a street food, is a bagel-like round pastry made of sour dough, sesame, and pekmez, which is a form of molasse made of mulberry, grapes, carob, or plums. Turkish people like mixing pekmez with tahini; it is very healthy and a huge energy booster. Pogaca, on the other hand, is a puffy pastry with different stuffing such as olive and cheese.
Turkish breakfast spreads include acuka, which is made of red pepper, walnuts, and various spices. Acuka is also known as muhammara in the Middle East
Modern times have brought its innovations into the Turkish breakfast table. You can also see orange juice on the side of Turkish black tea, chocolate spreads like Nutella, marmalade, peanut butter, hazelnut butter, almond butter, and cream cheese.
Turkey is culturally a diverse country, and such diversity has played into the abundance of different recipes and foods in Turkish breakfast. The western part of Turkey, the Aegean region, includes mostly plant-based recipes in the morning. Turks from Western Turkey make a dip of olive oil, oregano or thyme, and red pepper. This dip has become a free appetizer in most of the restaurants in Turkey. People from Southern and Eastern Turkey prefer more meat-based breakfast food such as sucuk, fried liver, spicy spreads, herby cheeses, and nuts. People from the Black Sea Region of Turkey sometimes drink linden tea instead of black tea, and they eat sweet pastries in the morning. Turkish breakfast menu in Central Turkey includes bread with poppy seeds, and çiğ börek,a deep-fried thin dough with raw minced meat inside.
Turkish breakfast ends with Turkish coffee. Unlike in the West, Turkish people drink coffee after breakfast, sometimes more than just one cup.
The breakfast table on Sundays is family time in most of the Turkish households and it may take hours.
What are traditional Turkish breakfast recipes?
Traditional Turkish breakfast recipes are abundant. One of the most popular traditional Turkish breakfast dishes is a pastry called boyoz. Boyoz is a pastry consumed mainly in Izmir and the Aegean region of Western Turkey. It is basically a mix of flour, sunflower oil, and preferable tahini as a coating.
- 1-pound all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, or canola)
- Some tahini
How to make boyoz?
The dough (flour mixed with a cup of water) is kneaded by hand and left to repose for up to 2 hours. Once reposed, the dough is flattened and left to repose a little more again. Then you knead it once more and this time make a roll to, yes, again leave to repose for several hours. The tissue of the dough stands for utmost significance for tasty boyoz: it should be soft but also about to break into pieces. Now it is time to cut the dough into small balls and marinate them with sunflower oil (or any kind of vegetable oil for that matter) for about half an hour. At this point, its consistency must be similar to of a mille-feuille or custard slice. After brushing with tahini, the balls are finally put on a tray and baked with very high temperature until their crust turns brown.
The original boyoz is without filling but some people fill it with cheese, spinach, and sometimes chocolate like croissants.