Baklava is a honey-sweetened dessert with lots of nuts. Made with tons of phyllo and butter, this is one high-calorie dish. It’s worth it though; baklava is one of the favorite foods around the world and the Turkish version is no different. This dessert is usually cut into diamonds as opposed to triangles. Common nuts include pistachios, walnuts, and almonds. This is a fairly heavy pastry that is baked, though it sometimes tastes fried because of the heavy butter. It is slightly crunchy with a good hundred or so layers of pastry.
Turkish dolma is incredible. Filled with rice, meat, and heavy spice, this dish is marinated and you can tell. These are made by filling pickled grape leaves with the rice mixture and marinating them in olive oil. They are lightweight and very healthy. About the size of a woman’s thumb, dolma is a nice addition to a meal. They can also be served as an appetizer. They are tightly wrapped and do not come apart easily, so even though they can be oily they are not soggy or slimy.
Turkish delight is an incredible dessert candy made of fruit. This can be nutty also. Similar to fudge in the way it is served, this has a much brighter flavor and does not contain chocolate. It is slightly gelatin-like, but not jiggly. It is almost all sugar, fruit, and spice. Covered in light confectioner’s sugar sometimes, it is dry to the touch and not at all like Jello.
Rice pudding is an international favorite. Made with rice and coconut or dairy milk, this soft pudding holds up well and isn’t too soggy. It often contains vanilla, allspice, and nutmeg. With subtle flavoring and a light, egg addition, this pudding is perfect for dessert with lunch or even for breakfast.
Lavash is a crunchy, low yeast bread that pairs well with expensive cheese. It often comes with sesame seeds and sometimes is made of whole grain. Lavash pieces are about six inches long usually. They have a slightly nutty, stone ground flavor.
Fried eggplant is a Turkish appetizer. Fried in olive oil with spices, it is usually made with the skin on. It is sometimes covered in pastry or breadcrumbs in other cuisines. But in Turkey, it comes without additions to the skin of the eggplant.
Squid comes cut and tenderly fried with chutneys and sauces in Turkey.
Pilaf is a grain dish that comes with olive oil, spices, vegetables, and sometimes meat mixed in. It can be made of rice or other grains like couscous, or it can be a mix of rice and other grains. It can come just mixed together in a stove top pan or double baked similar to biryani. Pilaf is not only famous in Turkey. Israeli pilaf is famous too, but they are decidedly different. This dish can sometimes include nuts and is heavy on the olive oil and sometimes butter.