Somtimes referred to as “black sesame” or “onion seed” in the west, it is actually the seed of a plant related to the common garden flower “Love-in-a-mist.” It is sprinkled on çöreks, breads and certain salty cookies and crackers. It may also be used in salads.
Cevz-i Bevva, Muscat Cevizi, Hint Cevizi
The fruit of a tropical tree, it is ground to powder and used with meat dishes as well and dolma and sarma, and in bechamel sauce and cheese dishes. Because of its bitter taste it is only used in small quantities. It also relieves intestinal distress in children.
Used ın all sorts of salads and foods. As there is an ethereal oil in parsley root, these roots are also sometimes used in certain sauces and broths.
Çam Fıstığı, Dolma Fıstığı, Dolmalık Fıstık
These small nuts are extracted from the cones of a species of pine, and used in dolma and aşure.
The seed of the opium poppy plant, it may be blue-black or white. It is used in baking as well as sautéed in oil and added to salads, canapés and appetizers.
Red Flake Pepper
Obtained by grinding hot red peppers. The Antep and Maraş varieties are especially prized, and are available in oiled and unoiled form. Also available in powdered form.
The narrow, thick needlelike leaves of this bush are used in meat dishes and sauces. In its fresh form, it is also used in the treatment of intestinal and kidney diseases as well as bronchitis and other ailments.
A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), sage is used in the Aegean and Marmara regions to make tea.
Saffron imparts an intense yellow color to foods to which it is added. It has a sharp, slightly bitter flavor. It is used in some soup and seafood soups, in pilafs and in desserts made with milk and rice. It does not dissolve in olive oil. Saffron is also used in a dessert called zerde. It grows in Western Asia and in Northern Anatolia.
Salep / Sahlep
Salep/sahlep is the name give to the tubers of orchids in the genera Orchis and Ophyris. The starchy underground tubers grow in pairs; one is the main tuber which gives rise to the current year’s growth. The other, known as the “nurse” (hemşire) or “brother” (kardeş) tuber, will produce next year’s tuber. The salep plants perfer alkaline/lime soils. The roots of those which grow in forested regions are larger, while those in fields are smaller in size. The tubers are cream-colored, and either egg-shaped or forked. The gathered roots are washed in water, then tied to a rope and boiled in either water or milk, then dried in the open air. The dried tubers are beaten into a powder, which is now ready for use. Salep grows chiefly in the Turkey’s western regions.
The oil-bearing seed of a meter-tall plant, which is grown chiefly in India, China and Sudan but also in SE Anatolia. The seed is used in simit and other baked goods, and ground to make tahini.
This spice is made from the ground berries of a small tree which grows in Southeast Anatolia. It has a sour flavor and is used as a souring agent in kebabs and some salads. A syrup made by boiling the berries is also used in salads.
An herb with a round stem, green on the upper portions and brown near the ground, with long thin and shiny green leaves. Its aromatic leaves are used in certain sauces and meat dishes as well as eggs and salads.
Turmeric is a tropical plant in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) with narrow pointed leaves and yellow flowers. Its dried and ground root is used in meat, fish and egg dishes. It imparts a strong yellow color and is sometimes used in place of saffron.
Originating in Mexico, this spice is extracted from the seed pod of a vining orchid. It is used to add flavor to pastries and confections, cakes, ice cream, compotes and milk puddings.
Beyaz Toz Biber
This is ground, hulled black pepper. It has a more pungent aroma and lighter flavor than black pepper.
Also known as “Greek oregano,” this herb grows throughout Anatolia, mostly in mountainous regions. It is dried and used in meat dishes, grilled meats, vegetables and fish. It is especially used in soups.
Salads and Aromatic Leaves