Turkish Cuisine in 11th Century
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Turkish Cuisine in 11th Century

The 11th century Turks also used eggs, which they consumed in various ways. The main two ways were to cook them with ground meat, and minced and wrapped in flat bread like today’s dürüm.

Having addressed the foods of animal origin, let us move on to the agricultural products used by the Turks in the 11th century.

The main agricultural product was wheat, was used unground as a staple in several dishes. For example, boiled wheat kernels were kneaded with barley flour, wrapped in a felt cloth and left in a warm place to ferment until ready 32. In addition wheat was cracked in half to make a food called yarmaş, which is the famous yarma of today 33.

Of course the Turks have been baking various types of breads from time immemorial. At the top of the list is yufka, which remains the case in Anatolia today. Katmer, a layered flat bread with oil, was also known. One type of bread, called sinçu, was prepared similar to modern-day pide 34. In addition, the bread they called kevşem ekmek, which Kaşgarlı describes as “leavened, delicious, well-baked and fattening,” must evidently have been something similar to the common loaves we use today 35.

There was yet another product made in that century, a type of cookie called çukmın, which was steamed and, evidently due to its cooking method, was known as being very easy to digest. The Turks in that age also knew and made çöreks, by the same name and in similar shapes 37. Among these types of çöreks was one cooked under hot coals, known then askömeç, which has retained its name in its modern form gömmeç. Yufka breads, in addition to being eaten along with food, were also rolled into dürüm just as they are today.

As for other foods utilizing flour, at the top of the list was a soup known as mün. Their other soups, which they called to and suma, were also made of flour, like bulamaç. We also know they had a type of vermicelli soup called üğre 39, which resembled tutmaç, and a type of noodle, called kıyma üğre 40. There was another type of vermicelli soup called sarmaçuk, which was known to stimulate the appetite, and was generally given to the sick, but we have no information as to its preparation 41. Yet another noodle soup mentioned by Kaşgarlı is one served cooled with ice or snow, with the addition of various herbs and spices, eaten to cool the body 42.

The Turks of the 11th century made a sort of pap of millet, over which they poured milk and butter 43. We also know they had a food made in which millet was cooked with kaymak, but we do not have any details of its preparation 44Sogut was yet another dish, made with a combination of rice, meat and spices, and stuffed into an intestine.

As for vegetables, although we know they raised vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, squash/gourds, radishes, carrots onions, garlic, eggplant, mustard, kale and turnips, we have no information how any of these vegetables were used, with the exception of squash and kale.

d) Sweets: In the century at hand, we see that the Turks met their need for a sweetener chiefly with pekmez, or grape molasses. We know that they made a dish called talkan, in which pekmez was mixed with wheat and barley flour, reminiscent of the tahini-pekmez mixture eaten today. Honey was also an important sweetener.

They also used rice to make a sort of rice pudding. Called uwa, it was made as follows: “Rice is cooked and placed into cold water. The water is drained, and sugar is added. It is then iced and eaten to cool the body” 46. It appears they also made a sort of semolina halvah out of millet flour, which was mostly served to women who had just given birth. Kaşgarlı’s recipe is as follows: “Millet is boiled and dried, then beaten as for flour. This is then mixed with oil and sugar” 47.

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