Turkey is a vast and diverse country, where the cuisines of Asia and the Middle East blend seamlessly into the dishes of Northern Africa and Eastern Europe. "Eating across Turkey can seem like eating across nations," says Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul and Beyond, and we love the ways the continent-spanning flavors come together in some of the country's most iconic dishes, like the classic stuffed eggplant known as imam bayildi, or lamb-stuffed manti dumplings tossed in a brown butter tomato sauce. With the right tools, and these 14 recipes, you'll be that much closer to experiencing the flavors of this country's alluring, distinct cuisine.
This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »
It's believed that these traditional meat-filled parcels were carried into Anatolia via the Silk Road. Regardless of their past, they have an unquestionable place at the Turkish table. This version is Turkish in origin but uses a technique derived from Armenian recipes: The dumplings are baked in the oven before boiling, allowing the meat to better flavor the dough and imparting a toasty aroma to the final dish. Get the recipe for Turkish Manti Lamb Dumplings »
This specialty of Çesme, a small beach town in Turkey, is one of the world's great grilled cheese sandwiches, in which the cheese itself is grilled before getting slipped into toasted bread with raw tomato and optional (but highly recommended) toppings of griddled sausage and pickled cucumbers and chiles. Get the recipe for Turkish Grilled Cheese »