Cerkes Tavugu – Circassian Chicken

The answer to what makes Ottoman cuisine so special lies in the wide variety of influences ranging from the Caucasus to the Balkans, from Niles to Euphrates… Even Chinese cuisine had an impact on the Ottomans, as Turks brought an over-1000-year-old heritage from the steppes of Central Asia where they were in close contact with the Chinese. Cuisines of the Caucasus region appear as one of the hundreds of influences within the Ottoman cuisine. Georgian, Laz and Circassian people (one might want to include Armenians and Azeris as well) and their unique ways of preparing food is quite distinctive. Circassian chicken, contrary to what its name suggests, has more likely originated from Georgian territories and is a widely-known dish in today’s Turkey.

(more…)

Balli Mahmudiye – Lemon Chicken in Honey Apricot And Almond Sauce

Ramadan is a great time of year to revive those nearly-forgotten classic dishes of Ottoman Cuisine. Istanbul turns into a huge festive ground full of venues serving the most sophisticated delicacies from the city’s over 1000 year-old heritage. One of my favorites is Balli Mahmudiye, a lemon marinated chicken dish cooked and served in a scrumptious honey, apricot and almond sauce. I made this classic recipe today, for the first dinner of Ramadan. Hubs seemed really happy to dine on some very fine Ottoman food on the very first day of fasting. I suppose, the fact that I used hand-made copper cookware has been a contributing factor as well…

(more…)