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Selected Examples from the Cuisine of Adıyaman

Hülya Göçmez

In Adıyaman, the kitchen is used only for making food and storing cooking utensils. The utensils used of old and in some modern homes as well include the following:

Kettles: Kazan, guşkana (Kettle and small kettle), and another for lamb.

Plates: Lenger (large copper plate), covered plates, covered bowls, çırtıklı tabak

Utensils used for making and serving of drinks:  Sitil, (a large drinking cup with handle);sülahi (sürahi), pitcher; water skin; güğüm (a tall flat bottomed pitcher with a narrow neck suitable for boiling water); ırbık (similar to a güğüm); cezve (Turkish coffee pot);çaydanlık/demlik (double tea kettle), and water bowls.

Other utensils include a çömce/kepçe (ladle); delikli kaşık (spoon with holes), large spoons, cleavers, knives and earthenware jars of various sizes.

The utensils were stored as follows: Earthenware vessels for the storage of wheat, bulgur and sümüt (dried bread rings) were kept on a raised area called the seki.  Vegetables dried for winter use were kept in cloth bags in a dry place to protect them from humidity.

Nowadays kitchens have become completely modernized, with separate pantries for food storage, and in some homes are used as dining rooms as well. But families who continue to live in the old homes of Adıyaman (adobe houses), have preserved their kitchens in the old style.

Though some changes have come to kitchens and the way they are used, the foods themselves have changed very little. A general look at the foods of Adıyaman reveals the following:

  1. Almost all the foods in Adıyaman and made by hand and there are no zeytinyağlı(olive-oil) dishes.
  2. Several dishes take a considerable amount of time and effort to make. Some such dishes include stuffed köfte in a tart sauce, stuffed ribs, etc.
  3. There is a notable preponderance of dishes made with bulgur and sümüt (dried bread rounds). Just as in many other parts of Anatolia, foods based on wheat and wheat products dominate the cooking of Adıyaman as well.
  4. The various types of köfte made with sümüt add considerable variety to the cuisine of Adıyaman.
  5. The use of various wheat products such as hulled wheat and cracked wheat have given rise to new dishes. For example, dolmalı köfte (stuffed köfte) is generally made from cracked wheat. Tarhana (a product made from various forms of wheat mixed with yogurt or sour milk and dried) is made from hulled wheat.
  6. Dishes made with wild herbs and hıtaplar made from these herbs have a special place in the cuisine.
  7. In Adıyaman, the raw materials used in the kitchen such as butter, bulgur, sümüt, rice, dry beans, chickpeas, lentils etc. are bought in bulk and stored. Special attention is given to the quality of these items when they are being bought. Special attention is also given to the preparation of dried vegetables as they are used in the making of winter dolma.

Types of Foods

Soups (Çorba)

  1. Gara Şora: Made with hulled wheat, green lentils, chickpeas and beans, and garnished with butter in which onions are sautéed and a bit of red pepper paste is mixed.
  2. Malhıta: Made with cracked wheat and red lentils, and garnished with butter mixed with red pepper paste and salt.
  3. Davutpaşa Çorbası: Made with cubed meat, rice and yogurt. It is then garnished with butter heated with tomato paste and mint.
  4. Tarhana: Tarhana, which is made in the fall out of yogurt and hulled wheat, is first soaked in lukewarm water. When it is soft and begins to fall apart, it is  placed in a pot with enough water to cover and boiled. The finished soup is garnished with butter and mint.
  5. Mercimek Çorbası: Red lentil soup. The lentils are cooked until they disintegrate. The soup is garnished with butter heated with mint.
  6. Un Çorbası: Flour soup. Flour is moistened with water, then pressed through a coarse sieve. The resulting pieces are then boiled. After boiling for one to two minutes, chopped onion sautéed in oil is added, along with tomato or pepper paste.
  7. Yayla Çorbası (Yayla – mountain meadows): Made with rice and yogurt, and garnished with oil and mint.
  8. Meyir: Made from a combination of bulgur, cracked wheat, zucchini, green pepper, eggplant, tomatoes and ayran (yogurt thinned with water). The ayran is boiled in a large kettle, and one or two handfuls of bulgur are added. This is stirred until it boils with a large wooden spoon called a hesk. When the ayran comes to a boil, eggplant and zucchini cut in thin strips is added. The peppers are finely chopped and added, along with the tomatoes, and the soup is simmered till done.
  9. Ayranlı Şora (Dövme Çorbası): Ayran Soup (Hulled Wheat Soup): Hulled wheat is mixed with a couple of handfuls of chickpeas and cooked until it is like pilaf. When it is done, it is covered and left to cool. After it has cooled, it is mixed with a generous amount of yogurt. This is thinned with water and served as a cold soup.
  10. Erişte Çorbası: Made with lentils, chickpeas and yufka, this soup is garnished with butter heated together with pepper paste. The yufka are cut into small squares before being added to the soup.

Vegetable Dishes

  1. Karniyarık: Whole eggplants are fried, then filled with a mixture of ground meat, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, parsley and black pepper, and either baked or cooked on top of the stove.
  2. Tava (Güveç): Prepared from eggplant, many tomatoes, green peppers, cubed meat, tail fat and garlic. First the cut up meat is arranged in the casserole, followed by some of the eggplant, then tomatoes and peppers, and garlic. Then more eggplant and tomatoes are added, the whole is tamped down, and baked in the oven.
  3. Parmak Kebabı: Made from cubed meat, eggplant, many tomatoes and green pepper. The eggplant is cut into finger-sized pieces (hence the name, parmak, or finger) and fried. The meat is arranged in a pan and topped with the eggplant, followed by tomatoes cut into rounds, and topped with fried peppers. This order is repeated until all the ingredients are used. The dish is then cooked on the stovetop or baked in a bread oven.
  4. Other dishes using vegetables, including dolma, dövmeç cooked in a bread oven, green beans and okra cooked with meat and zucchini musakka, hold an important place in Adıyaman cuisine.

Meat Dishes

  1. Kızartma: A large piece of meat is divided into several smaller pieces, which are rubbed with pepper paste and fried in a pan. Enough water is added to just cover the meat, and the meat is left to simmer till done. When done, black pepper is added.
  2. Kaburga(Ribs): Made with sheep or lamb ribs. The ribs are first fried in oil. Then one edge is opened to form a pouch, which is stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, onion and rice, and sewn shut. It is then simmered in a large pot until done.

Dishes Made with Legumes and Grain Products

At the top of the list of such dishes come navy beans and chickpeas yahni, cooked with tomatoes. Pilafs made from bulgur and sümüt, as well as köfte, are some dishes made from wheat, and hold an especially important place in Adıyaman cooking.


  1. Meyhane Pilavı (“Tavern” Pilaf): This bulgur pilaf contains a generous amount of tomato and pepper paste, black and red pepper.
  2. Karıştırmalı Pilav (Mixed pilaf): The main characteristic of this bulgur pilaf is the generous amount of meat. It also contains chickpeas.
  3. Mercimekli Pilav (Lentil Pilaf): Made with whole lentils and bulgur, this is topped with sautéed onions and oil.

In addition to these, other pilafs such as pilaf with tomatoes, tomato paste and şakalaş(tevlevi) pilaf are made.

Köfte (Meatballs, Croquettes)

  1. Mercimekli Köfte (Lentil Köfte): Made with lentils and sümüt.
  2. Kavurmalı Köfte: Butter, onion and tomato paste are sautéed together, then water is added and brought to a boil. To this, sümüt is added, along with a certain amount ofkavurma, meat cooked and preserved in its own fat. This is then allowed to cool, and formed into balls.
  3. Dolmalı Köfte: Cracked wheat is wet and kneaded with salt in a trough. When it reaches the desired consistency, it is formed into balls which are opened and thinned, and filled with a mixture of ground meat, onion and parsley. These are then boiled.
  4. İçi Kıymalı: Made with sümüt. The sümüt is wet and kneaded with dark ground meat. The resulting meat/sümüt dough is then formed into balls, opened and filled with a meat filling. Köfte prepared in this way are fried in oil.

These, along with other types such as çullu köfte, yapıştırma, basma köfte, köfte with a tart sauce, and köfte with eggplant, are important dishes in the local cuisine.

Dishes Made from Wild Herbs

Wild herbs are generally sautéed, made into a hitap, or mixed with yogurt.

Ebem kömeci (Ebe gümeci, mallow) and Pipirim (Purslane) are either sautéed or made into a hitap. Wild mint is used in salads and with yogurt, other wild herbs are also made into a hitap.

Wild Game Dishes

The main wild game animal is rabbit. After they are cleaned, they are dipped into warm water to drain all the blood out. The rabbits are then simmered. The broth is used for making bulgur pilaf, and the meat is separated from the bones and fried or arranged over the pilaf.

Other wild game such as partridge, grouse, dove, pigeon, thrush, and local birds known aspalıt and kıjığı are hunted. Çiğköfte (raw köfte, made with bulgur and meat) are made from the meat of pigeon and partridge. These birds are also fried and served with pilaf.


Fowl such as turkeys and chickens are boiled, their broth used to make pilaf and the meat is roasted and served over the pilaf. They are also stuffed and roasted.

Baked Goods

Adıyaman’da özellikle yabani otlardan veya kıyma etten faydalanılarak veya çökelek kullanılarak hitap yapılmaktadır. Hıtap taplamanın içerisine iç malzeme koyularak da yapılır ve sacda pişirilir.

The thin folded pancake known generally as gözleme in the rest of Turkey is known as katemeri in Adıyaman. This is filled with butter and sugar. Semsek, “plate bread” and peksimet (bread cooked hard for storage) are among the other breads baked in Adıyaman.


Milk-based Desserts

Peynirli Helva (Cheese Halvah): This is made from fresh unsalted cheese. Semolina, sugar and water are mixed will in a pot, and cooked until well thickened. To this mixture, finely diced cheese is added, and cooked until the cheese has blended in well. This is then poured into serving dishes.

Another dessert made with milk is sütlaç, rice pudding.

Flour-based Desserts

Kırma: Dough is rolled out thin as for baklava. It is filled with walnuts and wrapped around the oklava, a thin rolling pin, and crimped by pushing the ends towards the center. These are arranged in a pan. Melted butter is poured over the top and they are baked, and soaked in sugar syrup.

Sac Tatlısı (Şillik): This is a sweet similar to kadayıf. The sac, a shallow convex griddle, is heated over a fire and its surface is oiled. The thin dough is poured in a thin layer over the surface and as soon as it sets, it is removed and placed into a baking pan. Five layers are made, which are topped by a layer of walnuts. Five more layers are placed over this, then syrup is poured over the top.

Topak Helvası: Four is sautéed in butter, then walnuts and sesame are added, and the mixture is sautéed a bit more. When this cools, pekmez (grape molasses) is added, and the mixture is kneaded, and formed into pieces.

Nişevle: Made from wheat starch, grape or mulberry molasses and butter which are mixed together and cooked.

Tane Helvası (Grain halvah): Wheat starch, grape or mulberry molasses and water are mixed together. Butter is heated in a pan, and the first mixture is poured over the oil, and stirred until it breaks into pieces the size of small grains, then placed into serving dishes.

Other sweets, known as bastık kızartması and Laz böreği are also made.

Information on the Informant

Name: Fatma
Last name: Göçmez
Birthplace and Birthdate: Adıyaman - 1944
Job: Housewife

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