Sumac is the dried and powdered fruit of a tree that grows all across the Mediterranean. Its flavor is uniquely sour and raisiny, and is used to bring a rich acidity to a dish that needs some bite. Combined with dried spearmint (4) and maraş pepper (6), they can make any dish taste singularly Turkish. Prices vary; kalustyans.com
Yogurt is an essential part of Turkish cooking, at once adding acidity, creaminess, and tartness to any dish. Greek yogurt is usually preferred, but plain, whole milk yogurt will work great, as long as it doesn't contain any artificial thickeners.
Turkish cooks brown their butter to strengthen and enrich the flavor of a dish without making it too heavy by just adding more butter. It's often swirled with yogurt, or used to finish a tomato sauce, where the nutty richness balances the acidity.
Dried spearmint, which is more warm and subtly sweet than other types of mint, is often used where Italians might use dried oregano, like in a tomato sauce.
Pomegranate molasses brings acidity and a hint of sweetness to a dish, whether it's for finishing a slow braise of lamb or in place of vinegar in a salad dressing. My favorite brand is Mymouné, which is so good, I'll blend it with an equal part tahini and spread it on toast for a snack. $6; mymouneusa.com
Maraş, also known as Aleppo pepper, has a slow, bright, mild heat; it's Turkey's version of red pepper flakes, and there's a shaker of it on the tables in every kebab joint in the country.
As ubiquitous as tomato paste in Italy, red pepper paste is similarly concentrated, but made with a mix of sweet and hot red peppers. It makes a great base for dressings and marinades. It takes hours to make, so I buy Tuka brand in a pinch. $7; istanbulfoodbazaar.com
Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan is my go-to for all the basics; it's unpretentious and informational and really covers the breadth of Turkey's vast and diverse traditional cuisines.
The visuals and storytelling are some of the best parts of Turquoise: A Chef's Travels in Turkey, by Greg and Lucy Malouf, and the recipes combine traditional ingredients with more modern preparations.
An oklava is a long and narrow rolling pin, perfect for yufka, a tender, flaky pastry not unlike phyllo dough that makes up nearly every Turkish flatbread dish. The extra length allows for a wider, more even dough. $15; tulumba.com
This shallow pan called a sahan conducts heat well and can move from stovetop to oven, making it perfect for the classic breakfast dish known as menemen, slow-cooked eggs with peppers, onions, and tomato. $28; tulumba.com
Often billed as a "zucchini corer," this little knife is essential for an array of stuffed vegetables dishes throughout Turkey. The serrated edge and long, narrow blade make it perfect for hollowing out zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and more. $14; amazon.com