To begin cooking great, authentic Turkish food, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t need to buy many extra tools and equipment. If you already love to cook, you’ll probably have many of the things you need already. You can also substitute similar tools you have on hand that will get the job done.
Here is a list of things you can get to help you make and serve your favorite Turkish recipes in the most authentic way possible.
- Mortar and Pestle: A good mortar and pestle are handy for crushing small amounts of nuts and seeds, garlic, cracking peppercorns and blending together spices. Those made of marble or ceramic are the best, but wooden ones also work well, especially for dry ingredients.
- Wire Sieve: It’s good to have a range of sizes on hand. In Turkey, you would have a tiny one that fits on top of a tea glass to strain the leaves from steeped tea as it pours, medium-sized to strain liquids over cheesecloth, and a large one for straining soups and purees to eliminate lumps.
- Gas or charcoal grill: A good grill will really enhance your Turkish kebab experience. Charcoal fires give the best flavor, but gas grills are also fine. You can also use the broiler or grilling setting on your oven to get good results, especially during the winter. A stovetop grill pan is also useful to have on hand.
- Wooden dowel, or 'oklava' (oak-LAH'-VAH'): Many cooks roll out their own fresh dough leaves, called ‘yufka’ (yoof-KAH’) using a long, narrow dowel called an 'oklava.' These can be hard to come by if you’re not in Turkey, but an extra-long rolling pin will do the trick. You’ll also need a rolling pin for pastries and crusts.
- Cheesecloth, or ‘tülbent’ (TOOL’-bent): for straining plain yogurt to make your own thick Greek-style, or ‘süzme’ (SOOZ’-may) yogurt, and drinks like Turkish lemonade.
- Cezve: ‘Cezve’ is a small kettle made of copper or stainless steel used for cooking Turkish coffee. Start with one, but it’s good to have a few different sizes for cooking a single cup or several together.
- Turkish teapot: Called ‘çaydanlık’ (CHAI’-DAHN’-luk), this two-tiered teapot boils water in the bottom while the tea steeps on top.
- Şiş: Flat metal skewers for cooking ‘shish kebab’ and other Turkish kebabs on the grill.
- ‘Tost makinesi’ (TOAST’ mah-KEEN’-eh-suh): This is basically a panini press, to make Turkish grilled kashar cheese sandwiches called ‘tost,’ a favorite at breakfast time and at the office between meals.
It’s always nice to present Turkish dishes the way they’re served in Turkey. Turkish coffee mugs and tulip-shaped glass teacups are essential to serving these hot beverages in the traditional way.
- Turkish coffee cups: Tiny, delicate cups and saucers are made especially for Turkish coffee. They are much smaller than a teacup and most espresso cups. In a bind, you can use small single espresso cups as a substitute.
- Tea glasses and small teaspoons: Only recently has drinking Turkish black tea from a mug become acceptable. Traditionally, tea is consumed from small, tulip-shaped glasses that sit in their own little saucer serves as a spoon rest after you stir, as well as catches any drips.
- ‘Rakı’ glasses: If you plan to serve Turkish ‘rakı’ (RAH’-kuh), a strong, anise-flavored alcoholic beverage, along with your ‘meze,’ you’ll need small, tall narrow glasses to serve ‘rakı’ over ice and a matching glass of water right next to it.