Turkish Seasoning: A Journey through the Aromas of the East
Turkiye is well-known for its variety and rich food. Turkish cuisine varies greatly from the western Black Sea area to the eastern Mediterranean coast. Situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Turkiye boasts a plethora of distinct and diverse flavors. Historically, Turkiye played a pivotal role in the spice trade. The utilization of spices holds significant importance in Eastern Mediterranean cooking. Whether you’re making traditional Turkish dishes or experimenting with new recipes, adding some Turkish seasoning can take your cooking to the next level. And as a bonus, it has a low-calorie content.
In terms of nutrition, Turkish seasoning contains various vitamins, including vitamin C, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and essential minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is a great way to add flavor to your meals while also boosting their nutritional value.
- What are some Turkish seasonings?
- 1. Turkish Red Chili (Pul Biber)
- 2. Black Pepper (Karabiber)
- 3. Thyme (Kekik)
- 4. Cumin (Kimyon)
- 5. Sumac (Sumak)
- 6. Isot (Urfa biber)
- 7. Rosemary (Biberiye)
- 8. Çörek Otu (Nigella)
- 9. Turmeric (Zerdeçal)
- 10. Defne Yaprağı (Bay Leaf)
- 11. Sesame seeds (Susam)
- Where To Find Perfect Turkish Spices?
- Bonus: How to make Turkish Spice Blend
What are some Turkish seasonings?
Turkish seasoning is a flavorful blend of earthy spices that adds depth and complexity to dishes like meats, vegetables, and stews. It’s versatile enough to be used in traditional dishes like doner kebab or as a simple snack option like toast.
Some popular Turkish spices include:
1. Turkish Red Chili (Pul Biber)
The red pepper is a common spice in cuisine of Turkiye for its wonderful aroma. It’s similar to paprika but a little hotter, and it’s used in stews and other savoury meals. Red pepper flakes are the dried and crushed form of red pepper. The combination of sweetness and spicy flavors is perfectly balanced. The yogurt appetizers made with red pepper are indispensable for Turkish cuisine.
2. Black Pepper (Karabiber)
Black pepper is a key ingredient in Turkish seasoning. It adds a bold and spicy kick to the blend, which typically includes other warm spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika. This versatile seasoning can be used to add depth of flavor to many dishes, including rice, soups, meat, fish, and chicken. Toasting whole black peppercorns before grinding them can help enhance their flavor even further. Adding Turkish seasoning to your cooking can bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your kitchen. It is also one of the most commonly preferred Turkish spices (baharat) in the Middle East.
As a fun fact, it is believed that when the Turkish spice blend of black pepper and red chili is consumed with yogurt, it acts as a metabolism booster!
3. Thyme (Kekik)
Thyme is widely used in Turkish cooking. It may be found in a variety of food, including lentil soup, kebabs, and salads, as well as several meals made with yoghurt. Thyme is a fragrant herb that goes well with meats and soups, as we’ve already mentioned. It may also be used in baking, since it gives a great aroma to the bread.
4. Cumin (Kimyon)
Turkish seasoning is a blend of spices that includes some spices from India, such as cumin and turmeric. Cumin is a popular and even vital spice in some meals of Turkish cuisine. It is used in a variety of dishes, from meatballs and stews to rice pilafs and even tea! Its distinct earthy and warm flavor adds depth to the dish, making it a must-have in any Turkish seasoning blend. Toasting cumin seeds before grinding them can enhance their flavor, giving your meals a richer taste. So don’t be shy about adding cumin to your cooking, embrace its delicious taste! It is also found in many traditional delicacies, such as kokoreç. It is a medicinal herb as well.
5. Sumac (Sumak)
Sumac is one of favourite spices used in Turkish cooking. It is frequently added to kebabs and is regularly used on seafood, salads, and rice. Sumac has a tart, lemony flavour and is commonly used instead of lemon juice when lemons are unavailable. But the most popular ay to use it is to make an onion salad, only you need is to thinly chop onions, add salt, sumac and parsley to your taste. To prepare a nutritious and delectable dip for your pita bread, combine some Turkish seasoning blend with a little olive oil. You can also sprinkle it on vegetables or rice to enhance their taste and flavor, as it is exceptionally delicious and flavorsome.
6. Isot (Urfa biber)
Isot or Urfa Biber is a dried Turkish chilli pepper that is a prominent spice in cuisines. It’s a dried herb derived from a fragrant blooming plant native to Turkiye. It is also known as “Turkish Thyme” since it is related to the thyme plant. It tastes like a cross between thyme and oregano. It is frequently used in Turkish stews, soups, and pastas.
7. Rosemary (Biberiye)
Rosemary is another fragrant herb that is commonly used in Turkish cooking. It may be found in various meat dishes, salads, and soups. It is also used in a variety of sweets, including baklava. Rosemary is a prevalent flavour in many cuisines, however, it is used in greater quantities in Turkish recipes than in other nations.
8. Çörek Otu (Nigella)
Nigella is often used in Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking. It has an intense, peppery flavour. It’s popular in salads, pilafs, and seafood dishes. It’s also used in pastries like börek. Black cumin, Roman coriander, and Indian coriander are all names for this aromatic spice, Nigella.
9. Turmeric (Zerdeçal)
Turmeric is a commonly used spice in Turkish cuisine. It is also used as a coloring in production of some tvarieties of cheese. It also is used as a natural medicine for inflammations, wounds and even can reduce pain.
10. Defne Yaprağı (Bay Leaf)
In Turkish stews and soups, bay leaves are widely used. They have a robust flavour that is a combination of sweet and salty tastes. They are also used in various cuisines, including Italian and French dishes. They’re frequently seen in soups, stews, and veggies. Bay leaf gives a nice aroma to broths.
11. Sesame seeds (Susam)
Sesame seeds are a popular component in Turkish pastries and sweets. They have a rich, nutty flavour and are frequently used as a garnish on pastries or as a topping for some sweet dishes. They are widely used in Turkish bread, which is often topped with sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are also frequently used in other cuisines, including Chinese and Indian. Sesame seeds are very high in nutrients. They are high in protein as well as minerals like calcium and iron.
In addition to the commonly known ones like sumac, cumin, and paprika, Turkish cuisine boasts an array of flavorful spices that can be incorporated into countless recipes. Cinnamon is an important ingredient adding a sweet and warm flavor to the dish. It is often used in combination with other spices like cumin, paprika, coriander, and mint to create a unique blend that elevates the taste of any dish. Cinnamon also has many health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, aiding digestion, and reducing blood sugar levels. Adding Turkish seasoning to your cooking can be a great way to add some flavor and nutrition to your meals.
In addition, other spices like cloves, cilantro, cayenne, and cardamom can be used to add a unique flavor profile to your dishes. There are countless recipes that can be made with these different spices so don’t hesitate to experiment!
Where To Find Perfect Turkish Spices?
You can find Turkish spices at specialty food stores or online retailers. Some popular online options include Bazaar Anatolia, The Spice House, and Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Apart from that, there are several other customary food products available, including honey, tahini, and grape molasses. Here are the links to their websites:
Bonus: How to make Turkish Spice Blend
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons dried dill weed or 2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, chopped fine
3 tablespoons paprika powder or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, coarsely ground. Or substitute a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for some heat.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add all ingredients in the order listed. Toast until the spices are fragrant and starting to pop about 3 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat immediately and allow to cool completely. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and grind until fine. Store in an airtight container and use as needed in your Turkish recipes.
Add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Incorporating the spice mix into your meals will enhance their taste significantly.
Turkish seasoning is an excellent way to add spice and flavor to your meals. There are a variety of different brands and online retailers available, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. And you can find detailed information about the bazaars and Istanbul in our blog Spice Bazaar!
What is Turkish all purpose seasoning?
What is the red spice in Turkish food?
Good Turkish spice mix for chicken?
What are the most common spices used in Turkish cooking?
The most common spices used in Turkish cooking include:
1. Cumin: A warm, earthy spice that is commonly used in Turkish meat dishes, soups, and stews.
2. Paprika: A sweet or hot red pepper spice that is often used to add color and flavor to meat dishes, rice, and vegetables.
3. Sumac: A tart and tangy spice made from dried berries that is commonly used in salads, kebabs, and marinades.
4. Mint: A refreshing herb that is often used in Turkish tea and cold drinks, as well as in salads and meat dishes.
5. Coriander: A fragrant herb with a citrusy flavor that is commonly used in soups, stews, and meat dishes.
6. Oregano: An aromatic herb with a slightly bitter taste that is commonly used in meat dishes, salads, and sauces.
7. Black pepper: A pungent spice that is often used to season meats, vegetables, and sauces.
8. Allspice: A warm and sweet spice that is commonly used in Turkish desserts like baklava and halva.
These are just a few of the many spices used in Turkish cooking!