Turkish Semolina Halva

This semolina halva is one of my favorite Turkish desserts.  I have always thought of halva as a sticky and thick white block, and was delighted when Deniz introduced me to this very different type of halva.  It’s buttery and slightly sweet, light and fluffy, and eaten with a spoon.  Once I put one spoon in my mouth, I can’t stop eating until the bowl’s gone. […]

Turkish Leek and Carrots

One day we were searching for a vegetarian recipe as usual, and we came across this leek & carrot recipe in a Turkish cookbook. It looked simple enough, but we weren’t sure if it was going to taste good. Since we have done this twice, we can say that we have no more doubts. This recipe of veggies and rice in olive oil combines sweetness, saltines, […]


So I had been wanting to try to make a vegetarian fish for over a decade.  I kept procrastinating because of the level of effort and lack of necessary ingredients.  This weekend I had neither excuse and embarked upon a fun adventure.  We had just visited Chinatown the weekend before and stocked up, and Deniz was willing to help me with the labor.  And the results turned out […]

Turkish Inegol VegMeatballs with Veggies and Cheese (Sebzeli Kasarli Inegol Kofte)

One important aspect of visiting other countries is to buy different spices and food helpers that you cannot buy back at home. In our recent trip to Turkey we bought several different spice mixes one of which happened to be a helper for one of my favorite meatball dishes: Inegol Kofte. The original plan was to make the meatballs using this mix and the soy meat, but […]

Turkish Mung Bean Salad (Maş Salatasi)

This is a light and healthy Turkish Salad that Gülevren taught us.  In Taiwanese cuisine, green mung beans are always sweetened and used in dessert.  It was cool to discover a way to make them into a salad.  The diversity of vegetables in this refreshing dish makes it not only healthy, but also deep in flavor and textures. Ingredients: 1 c green mung beans 1 red pepper, chopped […]

Turkish Zuchinni Salad (Kabak Salatasi)

Gülevren also taught us to make this tart and creamy dill meze.  It’s refreshing to the pallet, especially with rich and/or hot dishes.  It’s full of flavorful and healthy veggies, a perfect Mediterranean dish. Ingredients: 1 potato, cut in half 4 small carrots, shredded 2 zucchini, shredded 2 T olive oil 2 t salt, or to taste 1 c of thick yogurt 2 cloves of garlic, […]

Turkish Ali Nazik Kebab

We were blesssed to get a private cooking lesson from Gülevren last night.  It was a unique treat watching superwoman.  She cook 5 dishes for a 10 person dinner, while teaching us and watching the kids.  Here’s her Ali Nazik Kebab dish, with its bold tangy meaty topping and cool, smooth eggplant base. Ingredients: Yogurt Eggplant base: 4 medium Italian eggplants 1 T salt 3 T olive […]

Turkish Lentil Balls (Mercimek Köfte)

While visiting Turkey this year, we had the great honor of learning to cook from Deniz’ mom, ane Fatma Turkmen. She taught us how to make her mercimek kofte, lentil balls. The balls pack so much flavor, and are surprisingly easy to make. They’re the perfect snack size.  I loved them so much, I ate them in dinner-sized quantities. Ingredients: 1 c red lentils 2 c water […]

Circassian VegChicken (Çerkez Tavuğu)

This walnut sauce is a simple, but delicate and perfectly balanced complement for vegetarian chicken.  Smooth and creamy with crunchy chunks.  Together it’s one of those so-good-have-to-eat-more type of dishes.  We adapted it from The Sultan’s Kitchen:  a Turkish Cookbook by Ozcan Ozan for our vegetarian diet. Ingredients: 2 lbs Gardein meatless crispy chick’n (we use the Mandarin Orange variety, and leave the sauce out for […]

Fusion Chipolte Lentil Soup

Deniz and I have always loved lentil soup.  Before we met, each of us made it in our own way, me with Taiwanese seasoning (soy sauce and vegetables), Deniz with Turkish seasoning (tomato paste and onions).  When we started cooking together, we found a way to marry our two recipes, and the result was better than either of our original recipes.  It’s now become one of our old standby […]

Turkish Spinach Yogurt Dip (Ispanaklı Yoğurt Meze)

This is another of my favorite vegetarian Turkish meze dishes.  Had it once in a Turkish restaurant in Tokyo and insisted that Deniz ask his mom how to make it.  It’s similar to the American spinach dip, but much more flavorful and healthy.  We’ve made it several times since.  We adapted this recipe from Deniz’ mom’s recipe and the Sultan’s Kitchen a Turkish Cookbook.  So delicious […]

Turkish Cauliflower Musakka with VegBeef

The word musakka almost always refers to eggplant musakka, at least where I came from. It was surprising to see a cauliflower musakka in this Turkish cookbook we found on Amazon (Sultan’s Kitchen). We already had most of the ingredients at home, it would be mistake not to try this dish! Ingredients 1 large cauliflower 8 MorningStar Sausage Patties 1 T tomato paste Cooking Oil: 2 […]

Turkish Ezogelin Soup

When I was in college back in Turkey, it was common for us students to eat cheap fixed menus at nearby restaurants which usually consists of soup, rice, a meat dish, and a dessert. My soup of choice (if there was any choice) was always Ezogelin. Tasty mixture of lentils and bulgur in a tomato-based soup, accompanied with a slice of fresh bread. That’s why I was […]

Turkish Yogurt Soup (Yayla)

This is one of my favorite dishes from my childhood. I remember asking my mom if she could make that ‘soup with dots’ since tiny chopped mints pieces looked like little dots on this white soup. Once in a while I make this dish using soup packets by Knorr or Piyale, but this is the first time I made it with fresh ingredients. If I knew […]

Fusion Black Velvet Hummus Dip

One day we were staring at our pantry after a fun but tiresome trip. We did not have the energy to go grocery shopping, but we had to make something to feed ourselves! We had all the ingredients for a hummus dip, but Delphine’s suggestion about adding the black bean turned out to be an awesome decision. We used pepper paste to add a unique zing. […]