Who Am I?

Elif Akyol

July 2010, Istanbul

A freelance journalist and interpreter, world traveler, food lover…

Married to a wonderful man, daughter to amazing parents, sister to two unbelievably great siblings…

Friend to a number of beautiful people…

You can email me on elif.akyol@ottomancuisine.com if you have any questions regarding the recipes posted on this blog, for any recipe requests, general advice on Turkish food and traveling to Turkey or just for kicks. I’ll do my best to reply your emails.

You can follow me @ElifOzkaraAkyol on twitter.

Published on July 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm  Comments (30)  

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30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wonderful site! Hope to see more recipes coming up ­čÖé All the pictures look very tantalizing. I hope I will start to try making some.

    Thank You and keep on writing ­čÖé

    • Ummu Fatih,
      Thank you sister :). It’s great having readers like you. Please let me know about the outcome once you get to try the recipes. Thank you and keep in touch. Cheers.

  2. Great blog. I love Ottoman cuisine and I love Turkey.

    • Thanks a lot. Have you visited Turkey recently?

  3. Great blog! I live in LA and this is just what I was looking for!! ­čÖé

    • Thanks a lot Selin. Cheers.

  4. wonderfull site, a perfect guide allowing me to convince my friends this is THE PERFECT way of treating food !
    really great full.


    • Thanks a lot Mia. I’m so glad to have readers like yourself. Cheers.

    • I’ve been absent for a while, but now I mebemrer why I used to love this site. Thanks , I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

      • Banshilal, thank you. Well, at times I get a bit lazy with the website, but I try to post at least once every two weeks. You can subscribe via email, facebook or twitter and receive notifications of new posts if you like. Please check out the right frame for twitter, facebook and email subscription links.

  5. Love your Blog….my husband is from Turkey but he’s lived in Canada with me for 25 years and I love Turkish food….Great recipes.

    • Hi, Thanks a lot. Where abouts is your husband from in Turkey?

  6. This blog has inspired me to start working on my own blog

  7. Just back from my first visit to Istanbul. Came across your blog while searching for Ottoman recipes. Thanks for such a lovely site.

    • Thanks a lot for your nice words. Do you have a favorite Turkish dish?

  8. this is so beautiful i have to congratulate you for this.

  9. Elif Han─▒m, you are a great cook. Thank you for promoting our magnificent cuisine.

    Elinize sa─čl─▒k, sofran─▒za bereket dilerim…

    • Cok tesekkur ederim, teveccuhunuz. Mutfagimiz cok guzel, ben de elimden geldigince bu mirastan faydalanmaya calisiyorum.

  10. I love this site! Hope to see more recipes soon. Much love to you, from once Ottoman ground, Serbia.

  11. I forgot to ask earlier, could you please add in recipes for Ottoman beverages, like Serbet or any other home made drink? That would be lovely.

    • Hello G├╝zel K─▒z :), many thanks for the nice words. Recipes of sherbets are already a part of the action plan of this site, Gelincik (poppy flower), G├╝l (rose), Demirhindi (tamarind) are some examples. Those are mostly summer specialties, especially tamarind with its cooling properties. Coming soon… On Ottoman Cuisine :).
      Lots of love from Istanbul to Serbia.

  12. I’m a food lover and cook from NYC, in Istanbul for a few days trying to eat as much as possible. Tonight I had the Sakizi milk pudding for the first time, after having a cup of mastic flavored Turkish coffee this afternoon looking out over the Bosphorus. So of course I had to Google “mastic” to learn more. And I ended up on your wonderful site.

    Having spent too much of my youth reading Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, et. al, I almost choked when I read your bit about skin on the pudding. One thing about food writers- they are never, ever intellectuals. Now I’m proven wrong (for the first time in 30 years.)

    I only have two days left in Istanbul. Any suggestions for something special to eat from you would certainly be welcome, and take top priority. I’ve actually not had all that much so far that was really impressive, to be honest.

    Do you live in Turkey or the US?

    Thanks again for this superb site.

    Jonathan Weiss

    • Hi Jonathan, I don’t know where to start replying your flattering comment.

      I in no way claim to be an intellectual, just wanted to sound a bit smart at least in one post (the reality will strike you if you happen to check the rest of the blog) and my sister’s aversion helped a little ;).

      Welcome to Istanbul! Of course there are dozens of nice things to eat in Istanbul. What type of food are you into the most? Are you a meat-lover, fan of pasta/glutenous dishes, olive oil veg braises, mezes (kind of tapas), seafood or do you have a sweet-tooth? I have a long list of food places to go, from the poshest to the humble street food stalls. Just tell me what you’re after.

      I’ve been to NYC in 2006, was there for a week, I loved it there, all I did was walk around and wait to get hungry and eat! Almost like a hedonist Roman! That was my only time in the US, I live in Istanbul.

      I hope you are having a blast in Istanbul!


  13. Hello Elif,

    A few years ago I came across three olive oil vegetable braise recipes that were described as Ottoman in the NY Times. I’ve been making them ever since. I’ve been in Istanbul since last Thursday, and have yet to eat anything with proper seasoning and use of spice. Honestly, what I make at home has been much more satisfying than what the same type of dishes I’ve tried here.

    I’ve foud every meat dish that involved an actual piece of meat (as opposed to kofte) to be not even properly salted, let alone seasoned, and they all cut the meat into pieces or strips to small to cook properly (i.e. the meat was overcooked on the inside before having a correctly rendered exterior.) I find this very odd, not at all what I expected.

    I eat everything. So far, the deserts have been the most interesting thing, and I am not a desert eater. If you can give me one or two amazing places in the time I have left, could be street food, could be a lunch only place, that would be super.

    One thing I will never attempt at home, which I really like, is Kokorec. So far, they have all been desiccated here. One Ukyluk place (Lima Sutuce) actually destroyed the thing by cutting it up into tiny pieces. I went over to the guy cooking on the grill in the middle of the afternoon, preparing whole slices for later in the day. They looked perfect and delicious. Then he proudly showed me a big tray of the little bits of properly cooked kokorec, ready for reheating prior to service. Tragic.

    Thinking about the milk pudding, that must have been Kristeva. Foucault was not a psychoanalyst.

    Tesekkur ederim!


    • Here meat is almost always over-cooked, well, burnt and dried in most places unless you ask them otherwise unfortunately, most Turks will find medium/medium-rare cooked meats unappetizing. There are steak houses and a few kebap places that don’t over cook the meat, though. I don’t think you, having come from New York, would be interested in steakhouses. Lamb, in good places of course, is a lot more interesting in Turkey. I find beef here dull and boring.

      “Spicy Turkish-Mid Eastern food”, on the other hand, is a myth. Istanbul cuisine is mild, you might even find olive oil dishes a bit bland, except for dolmas/sarmas and imam bayildi,
      not many spices added to the dishes. Sweet&sour is the basic flavor for olive oil dishes. You might wanna try food from Southern cities, Arab and Kurdish cuisines make more generous use of spices.

      The best uykuluk is in Sadrazam
      Mahmut (not Sadrazam Kemal- beware!). The best time for uykuluk/sweetbreads is April-May, though. Otherwise you may be served frozen uykuluk!

      Istanbul’s culinary scene is vast and almost chaotic. Sure, there are lots of very interesting places to eat too.

      Here are some of my favorite places with their contact details:

      – They make the best baked beans in Istanbul! It’s a Turkish staple food, try the kuru fasulye and their homemade pickles, you won’t regret:
      Tel: (0212) 6332502

      -Hard to choose, everything is nice here. Local dishes from all over Turkey, menu changes all the time.
      ├çiya Sofrasi – Caferaga Mah. G├╝neslibahce Sk. No:43 Kadik├Ây – Istanbul
      Tel: (0216) 3303190

      -Try “ball─▒ mahmudiye”, “zeytinya─čl─▒ vi┼čneli yaprak sarma” and “mutancana”.
      Konyal─▒ Kanyon – Kanyon Shopping Center- B├╝y├╝kdere Cad. No:185 K:1
      Tel: (0212) 3530450

      -Try their juicy small meatballs with bean salad/piyaz. Open only lunch time
      Naml─▒ Rumeli K├Âftecisi – Hocapa┼ča Sk. No 9 Sirkeci
      Tel: (0212) 5112196

      -A must-have: slow roasted lamb “B├╝ryan Kebab─▒”, ask for ribs -kaburga. Drink their bubbly homemade “ayran” (salted yogurt drink). If you still have room try “perde pilavi” as well. Go at lunch time or in the afternoon, usually there is no b├╝ryan left for dinner, but it’s Ramadan so maybe… Afternoon is the best time. It’s located in Kad─▒nlar Pazar─▒, where they used to trade female slaves.
      Sur Kebap – Kad─▒nlar Pazar─▒
      ─░tfaiye Caddesi No: 27 / 1, Fatih, – ─░stanbul
      Tel: (0212) 533 8088

      -For best Turkish style pizza/calzone in town, try: “Kapal─▒ k─▒ymal─▒ pide, az pi┼čmi┼č yumurtal─▒” @
      Fatih Karadeniz Pidecisi – Zeyrek Mah. B├╝y├╝kkaraman Cad. No:45/47 Fatih
      Tel: (0212) 523 97 95 – 635 05 09

      -Best Turkish meat-ravioli, served with garlic yogurt, try the triangular “tatar mant─▒s─▒” @
      ┼×efo Mant─▒ – ├ťmran Bostan Sokak No:30 Ye┼čilk├Ây
      (0212) 5745036

      -Another Turkish staple “iskender kebap” @
      Hac─▒bey ─░skender – Te┼čvikiye Caddesi No:8/B
      Tel: (0212) 2317134

      Maybe I should turn this into a post for the blog :). Have fun and let me know of the outcome please.

  14. Finally i found a site where i can get recipes for Turkish cuisine. I have visited Istanbul on Sep.2013 and definitely will visit it again.
    My country’s cuisine is much more alike from Turkish cuisine ( we’ve been under Ottoman empire for approx. 5 centuries so we have some things in common)

    Thanks a lot from Albania

    • Thanks for the nice comment. Yes, we have a lot in common. In fact, when I say “we”, I like including all the Balkans, Caucasus and the Mid East. My best friend’s mom is of Albanian origin. She makes the best boreks, elbasan tava, trile├že…etc!! Ohh yummm!!

      • oh yeah, Elbasan Tava is really yummy. I do it often too ­čÖé
        So if i need to make a turkish recipe i can rely on you.
        Thanks once again

        • Thanks, I appreciate that. I am in no way an authority on Turkish cuisine, just making my versions of the traitional dishes.

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