A plant in the Lily family (Liliaceae); the white to pale green stems are formed by the bases of the leaves. Traditionally used in both “olive oil” dishes as well as meat dishes, it has recently begun to be used in new and original ways in Turkish cuisine.
A vegetable in the daisy family (Asteraceae) with broad green leaves generally used in salads. Romaine, Cos and other types are varieties of the same species. Even though chiefly used in salads, it is also cooked in certain dishes such as kapama.
Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
A wild-growing herb in the family Malvaceae, mallow is useful for both its flowers, which are considered medicinal, as well as leaves which are eaten as greens. The plant ranges from 20 - 70 cm in height. Used plain or cooked in meat dishes, its leaves are mostly considered to be medicinal. It grows in nearly all parts of Turkey, but especially in the western regions.
With tens of thousands of species in nature, mushrooms are commonly cultivated today. Mushrooms are technically not a plant, they are a fungus. With its many varieties, Turkey could be considered a mushroom paradise. Although there are many different ways of preparing them, the most common method in Anatolia is to cook them directly over a flame or coals, accompanied only with salt and black or red pepper. They are also cooked in meat or vegetarian dishes as well as used in pilaf and salads.
A member of the mallow family (Malvaceae), okra may be eaten either fresh or dried. It should be picked when young, because the pods toughen as they mature. In Turkish cuisine it is used both fresh and dried in meat and “olive oil” dishes.
The word soğan in Turkish simply means “bulb” and thus applies to many different plants in the lily family, but here we are talking about the common onion of the kitchen. It is one of the fundamental vegetables in Turkish cooking, adding sweetness to dishes. It is used at all stages, from scallions to green bulbs to the familiar dried-off stage. All stages may be used in cooked dishes, pilafs, salads and kebab.
A plant with deep green veined leaves in the same family as celery and dill (Apiaceae). Its leaves are used as a flavoring herb. In Turkish cooking, parsley is utilized more as a secondary ingredient than a vegetable in and of itself. It is eaten plan as well as added to provide flavor and aroma to cooked dishes as well as salads.
A member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Many different varieties are raised in Turkey. The edible part is the seed pod, which is green when unripe and turns red when ripe. The veins and the seeds are generally hot. Peppers are raised almost everywhere in Turkey, with many different varieties and names reflecting variety and shape as well as use: Sivri (pointed), Çarliston, Süs (decoratıve), domates (tomato), Ayaş (place name), dolmalık (stuffing), red pepper et al. In southern Anatolia it is finally chopped and made into paste.
An herbaceous plant in the nightshade family (Solanaceae) grown for its edible tubers. These tubers are rich in starch, an important source of nutrition. Several varieties of potatoes are grown in Turkey, and potatoes are frequently used.
A member of the Portulacaceae, purslane is rich in phosphorus. It is used in cooked dishes as well as fresh in salads. In Anatolia the wild form is commonly used; there is a large-leaved cultivated form commonly available as well.
A plant in the Chenopodiaceae with edible leaves probably originating in Central Asia. It is raised in many parts of Turkey and is cooked alone or with ground meat. It is also used in dishes like ıspanak kavurması, spinach with eggs and spinach börek.
A member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), the radish plant has broad spreading lower leaves and toothed upper leaves. The edible root may be red, black, white or yellowish. It is generally used to accompany dishes rather than actually being cooked as a dish in and of itself. One type is used to add sweetness.