So you’re in the mood for a meze party, huh? Great choice, and you’ll probably want to think beyond the small plates portion of your Turkish dinner party, too. Meals are important bonding moments and social occasions in Turkish culture, and you won’t want to be in a rush to clear the table. Fortunately, we’ve done some of the legwork for you and collected some Turkish recipes to help you whip up the perfect feast.
Turkish Recipes For The Perfect Dinner Party
It’s not a Turkish dinner party unless you’re serving rakı, also known as lion’s milk, also known as the national drink of Turkey. Rakı is a brandy spirit made with twice-distilled grapes and anise, and its consumption is often a ceremonial experience that leads to uninhibited dancing or heartfelt conversations. Though rakı isn’t something you prepare yourself — you can buy it many places — you’ll most likely want to serve it diluted with ice water, as it’s quite potent on its own.
Appetizer: Meze Plate
The signature hallmark of a Turkish meal is the meze platter, or an assortment of small appetizer plates that are served together with rakı. It’s customary to serve cold meze dishes and then follow it up with hot appetizers, but it’s your party, so do what you will. It’s not a terrible idea to serve at least one soup with your appetizers, as many meals in Turkey begin with one. No matter what you do, variety is the name of the game here, so here are a few Turkish recipes you can include in your assortment. Be sure to include some pide bread for dipping!
Main Course: Kebabs
Did you know that kebabs originated in Turkey? A good collection of Turkish recipes will almost always include some sort of meat skewer situation, so you can’t go wrong by serving a kebab platter as your main course. You can opt for a classic shish kebab, which involves chunks of grilled meat (this recipe includes a marinade featuring tomato paste and a mix of spices). You could also opt for a kofta kebab, which is made with ground lamb or beef. Either way, you can get creative with how you serve them. Of course, you don’t have to make yours with red meat. Chicken kebabs are a traditional Turkish menu item, and vegetarian bulgur kebabs aren’t unheard of either. Typical accompaniments to the meat include tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled vegetables, parsley, pita and yogurt sauce.
Dessert: Baklava and Turkish Coffee
If you’ve never had it before, baklava is quite the delicacy (and a rather rich one at that). Turkish baklava is made with phyllo dough that’s sweetened with şerbet (a type of lemony syrup) and then topped with crushed pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and more. Believe it or not, it’s actually not that intimidating to make this dish yourself.
But whether you DIY or opt for store-bought baklava, it’s a good idea to serve it with some thick, gritty Turkish-style coffee, if you don’t mind hunting around for an appropriate stovetop coffee pot. And if you don’t happen to have an ibrik lying around? You can stir the coffee grounds directly into your cup with boiling water, or make it in a saucepan. Here’s everything you need to know about this coffee preparation method.
Key Turkish Phrases
I’m hungry — Acıktım
I’m full — Doydum
Please — Lütfen
Thank you — Teşekkür ederim
You’re welcome — Rica ederim
Enjoy your meal — Afiyet olsun
Delicious — Nefis