Food and its varieties

When the diversity in agricultural products combines with the diversity of cooking and consuming methods, the number of Gaziantep cuisine dishes have been increased. There are more than 400 dishes in the city. 291 species of them have already been registered. Because of the various dining meal, the dishes in Gaziantep cuisine are first classified and then presented. Variety of products and cooking techniques are the main classification materials and it is seen that these are decisive in the definition of city cuisine. According to this separation, it could be said that there are 12 different types of food in the city. These as follow;

1. Kebabs
2. Meat dishes
3. Dishes with yogurt
4. Olive oil Dishes
5. Desserts
6. Pilafs
7. Vegetable Dishes
8. Meatballs
9. Pastries
10. Salads
11. Stuffed vegetables
12. Soups

This list can be seen differently in various sources due to the merge under the subtitles or categories. However, according to the most common type of classification, there are 12 kinds of dishes in Gaziantep cuisine. There are dozens of different recipes under each species. For example in Gaziantep cuisine, there are;
• More than 30 varieties of kebabs
• More than 40 varieties of meat and meatless aubergine dishes
• More than 50 varieties of meat and meatless various vegetable dishes
• More than 30 varieties of dishes with yogurt
• More than 30 varieties of soup
• More than 30 varieties of stuffed vegetables and stuffed grape leaves
• More than 30 varieties of salad, appetizers
• More than 20 varieties of pastry and lahmacun (turkish pizza)
• More than 10 varieties of meatballs
• More than 30 varieties of desserts

Some meals are prepared collectively during festivals, holidays or picnics as part of the social life culture. Some of them may be widely prepared everywhere as part of the meal.
This diversity in the city cuisine let to the companies are specialized in different areas. Some restaurants offer only kebabs, some others have soups and others have only desserts.
The shops, selling katmer (a kind of sweet eaten mainly at mornings), beyran (a soup eaten instead of breakfast and an occasional cold winter morning) sheep's head, soups, wraps, creams, pastries, liver kebabs and turkish bagels (made with dough and sesame) are the concrete example of this diversity and specialities.

MEAT DISHES: In Gaziantep cuisine, meat dishes are generally cooked with the juice in the pot. However, lahmacun, counted as meat dish, is prepared on the thin lahmacun dough and cooked in the “district bakeries”.
The main ingredient of the meat dishes is the meat. Meats are sometimes cooked with their bones and different sauces. In order to enrich meat's nutritive and taste, small amount of onion, garlic or some herbs and vegetables can be added into the meat dishes. In some dishes, grains are also used. However, none of these ingredients could be dominated in the meat dishes. Another common feature of the meat dishes is to use meat and spices all together.

400 gr. Large lean minced meat
1, 5 kg. ordinary eggplants or bell eggplant
1,5 – 2 cups of condensed yoghurt ( quark)
1-2 gloves of garlic
1 medium sized tomato
1 green pepper
half tablespoon of pepper paste
half table spoon tomato table
1 tablespoon of ghee or butter
1 teaspoon black pepper

Eggplants are grilled, peeled and finely minced. Then a cup water is added to the meat and put together in a pan. The pan lid remains closed, while the meat is slowly cooked at a low heat, till it runs dry.
Butter is added, once it totally runs dry. Finely minced peppers and tomatos are added into the mixture.
Tomatos and peppers are fried untill they start changing their color. The mixture is, then, stirred with a certain amount of tomato paste and a dash of black pepper. Warm eggplants are finely mixed with yougurth, dash of salt and minced garlic. They are heated again at a low heat and taken into a service plate.
Heated minced beef is added on top, and the mixture is seasoned with the remaining dash of black pepper.
NOT : The name of this plate comes from the words Ala ( Fine) and Nazik( Courteous) and it is pronounced as Alenazik with the local accent. However, some call it alinazik. By using sauted and grilled minced meats at the same time, I have obtianed a different taste for the meal in the picture. A different cuisine for this course is the one, where fresh tomatos, peppers and tomato paste are used. Low fat minced meat and butter and a little dash of red pepper is fried and served with grilled eggplants and yoghurt with garlic on the top. It is suggested to have green peppers, filo pastry or pitta bread along with the plate.

DISHES WITH YOGURT: In Gaziantep cuisine, yogurt is mostly used as a main ingredient and sometimes it is used as marinate the dishes. These dishes, in which vegetables and meat are used together, are cooked in a pot. Often, yogurt is prepared in a separate pot with spices, herbs, garlic or onion as a sauce and when other ingredients are being cooked the sauce is poured over and let them boil for a while.

600 gr. diced meat
2 kg. fresh onion
Half cup of chickpeas soaked the night before.
2,5-3 cups of condensed yoghurt
1 egg
1 tablespoon of ghee or butter
1 tablespoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Water is added to cover the meat over.Then, cooked chickpeas are added to the meat, with enough salt. Peeled onions and garlics are crossly chopped, then mixed with the entire mixture. The egg is added to the condensed yoghurt and then continuously mixed. If needed, some water is added.
Fresh onion and garlic are to be preferred that thick. If the desirable characteristics of food can be made using the same taste in fine leek or leek though not completely. Besides bulghur rice, watercress and radish are recommended.

OLIVE OIL DISHES: Not only Gaziantep, but also in Turkey generally, olive oil dishes have a special interest and these dishes are cooked in homes and also dishes are on the menu in restaurants. The olives in Mediterranean basin come originally from Gaziantep. The usage of olive oil is really ancient and up to the first human society. In the city, many of the meat casseroles are cooked with olive oil. In contrast, under the title “Olive Oil Dishes”, there are dishes such as consumed cold, usually meatless, fresh vegetables using herbs, onion and garlic.

PİLAFS: Since the first human society, grains have been the main food ingredient in Gaziantep. There are different kind of pilafs such as coarse cracked wheat, fine wheat called simit, smoked wheat called firik, lentils, chickpeas, rice and dövme. In the majority of pilafs, grains and cereals are used single or combined in different way. All pilaf dishes are cooked with tomato paste, herbs and spices. Sometimes pilafs are cooked with some fresh vegetables and meat. All kind of pilafs are being boiled in a pot, then vegetables and meats are roasted and later they are mixed in the pot during the cooking process.

MEATBALLS AND VEGIE BALLS (KÖFTE): There is a general misconception that meatballs are always prepared with the meat. In Anatolia köfte is prepared with different grains and vegetables. In Gaziantep cuisine, spices, herbs and tomato paste are added to the grains and vegetables. Köftes which prepared with meat, are usually cooked on the grill. For the other köftes, prepared with grains, its ingredients are first boiled and then blended with tomato paste and spices.

300 gr. lean meat
500 gr. fine bulghur
1 medium sized onion
1 table spoon of red pepper
1 coffe spoon of black pepper
2.Group : The sauce
150 gr. Low-fat minced meat
1 big sized onion
1 teacup ofr crushed walnuts
1 pinch of safflower
1 coffe spoon of black pepper
3.Group : Meat to be boiled
400 gr. Hashed lean meat
Half cup of chickpeas
1 small sized onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 gloves garlic
1 tablespoon of dried mint
1 lemon juice or sour sumac
3 tablespoon of ghee or butter

Hashed meats are taken into a pan, mixed with some water and let to get boiled. Then, soaked chickpeas, choped oninon cubes and salt is added and cooked at a medium heat. Before it gets cooked, tomato paste and sour sumac are added.
For ‘’AKITMA’’, the sauce in other words, medium-fat minced meat is fried on a pan with half cup water added. A finely minced onion, a dash of salt and black pepper is added into the same mixture. Cooking process lasts till the onion pieces start changing color. Once it gets cold, crushed waltnuts and safflower is added to the whole mixture and put in a refrigerator to get frozen.
Certain amout of fatless meat, bulghur, finely chopped onion, red pepper and black pepper and some dash of salt are put in a tray. The mixture is kneaded for 15-20 minutes, some water is added untill the mixture reaches to the certain thickness. Equal rounded pieces are obtained. These meat pieces are diched by using a finger tip. After waiting some time in the fridge, the meat is taken out, small meat balls are obtained, hands can be soaked in order to give a good shape. Remainig amount of minced meat is rounded with a size of a single chickpea grain. Pieces are put in strainer and put on the boiling pot, and left to be cooked with the steam of the boiling water for 15 minutes.
Some hot oil and a coffe spoon of pepper mint is added, and quickly taken into service.
NOTE : Another name given to this plate is “ Analı Kızlı Ufak Köfte”. Instead of lamb meat, turkey or chicken can be used as well.

PASTRIES: Under this subtitle, it is possible to find pastries prepared both in the “district bakeries” and fried in the frying pan. Most of the pastries are prepared with meat, the other are prepared with feta cheese and even prepared with sugar and eaten as a dessert.


4 cup of pitted Green olives in brine
1 cup of chopped walnuts
100g butter or olive oil
1 bunch of parsley
2 Onion
3-4 cloves garlic
½ tablespoon of pepper paste
½ tablespoon of tomato paste
2 tablespoon of Pomegranate Sauce
½ juice of lemon
1 tablespoon of red pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Chopped onions are lightly fried in butter, cooled. Olives into a suitable tray, chopped parsley and garlic. On walnuts, tomato paste, red pepper, pomegranate, black pepper, onions, cumin and enough salt to mix well. Cooked in the oven at pita closed. Hold should be eaten before.
Besides cress, radishes, pickles and buttermilk it is recommended.

SALADS: The main ingredients of the salads are fresh herbs, vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice and Gaziantep's famous pomegranate sour sauce. Salads, prepared with special Gaziantep cheese, are peculiar to the city of Gaziantep. Almost in all salads; herbs, vegetables, garlics and onion are finely chopped. Olive oil, lemon juice, spices and pomegranate sauce enrich the nutrition and taste.

STUFFED VEGETABLES (DOLMA): In Gaziantep cuisine, fresh and sun dried vegetables are used for stuffed vegetables. Lots of vegetables such as eggplants, peper, white cucumber, tomatoes etc. and grape leaves are used for dolma. The ingredients of dolma can be prepared with either meat or only grains. Fresh and sun dried vegetables, different herbs and spices are used in dolma. Stuffing is prepared separately and stuffed vegetables are seethed in the pot.

SOUPS: Grains are the main ingredient used in Gaziantep soup. Dried and fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and tomato paste are added into the soup according to type of soup. There are also other soups that grains are not used that much and instead of the grains, vegetables and legumes are consumed in those soup recipes. Using meat in the soup is really rare.

KEBABS: In these subtitles, kebabs are the most common type of food at the national and international arena. More than 30 varieties of kebabs are the most striking dish in Gaziantep cuisine. The main ingredients of the kebabs are mainly meat and bakery products ( pita, thin bread and wraps). Except the plain minced meat and shish kebab; lots of fruit and vegetables like truffle and mushroom are consumed in kebabs according to season. For example truffle kebab can be only made during the spring time.

Butchers providing kebab ingredients and bakeries have a very important place in Gaziantep cuisine. Serving in this industry, butchers prepare the meat instantly according to customer demands.Bakeries are ready to offer fresh products at any time. In these two sectors are located side by side all the time in the city as a historical tradition.

750 gr. Meat minced by using a special knife (add salt)
1,5 kg. Slighlty big japanese plums

A dash of salt is added to the minced meat and get mixed together. Then meat balls are rounded. Plums are cut into halves and their cores are taken off. Clean halves and meat balls are skewered respectively.

NOTE: Japanese Plum season, along with other varieties is done as a separate book. Pita bread is eaten paninis made. Besides red pepper flakes and buttermilk is recommended.

WRAPS: In a intensive daily business life, Gaziantep's delicious and tasty kebabs offered as wrap became an eating culture and started to spread throughout Turkey from Gaziantep. The logic behind the wrap is to add some vegetables and various spices into the cooked meat, liver and legumes which are served in the pita bread. There are dozens of wrap varieties. It is a kind of eating culture that economically every people from the society eat it easily and fondly.

VEGETABLE DISHES: Gaziantep cuisine is very rich in terms of vegetarian dishes thanks to the variety of vegetables and fruits. Apart from the many meat dishes, there are still many meatless meals. In these dishes all kind of vegetables are used and vegetables of the region are at the forefront. Using fresh and sun dried onions, garlic, dishes are cooked with yogurt and gravy. Generally these dishes are consumed as warm.

DESSERTS: Gaziantep has very rich dessert culture and the most important is baklava in the national and international level. These kind of desserts belong to Ottoman cuisine and in the course of time, they have been identified with the name of Gaziantep. Well-known dessert baklava had been emerged as "Antep Baklava" by cook masters of Gaziantep who developed special methods through their efforts in 19th century. Antep Pistachios, local clarified butter and flour produced locally are used in this dessert and these ingredients increase the taste of this special dessert.

1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of starch
1 tablespoon of pectin
1,5 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Half of the water is added to a pot, remaining half is mixed with starch in a bowl. Some amount of pectin is boiled with the water in the pot. The mixture is then added to the boiled water-pectin, stirred continuously till the mixture gets homogenous and gets boiled.