Do It Yourself – Turkish Food

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Not only do we enjoy discovering delicious treasures in every new place we visit, but we like to dabble in the local culinary arts ourselves.

Armed with a Turkish cookbook and an incredible nearby market, it is one of our goals to  test out several new recipes and share them with you as we go.

First up…

Kimyonlu Sahan Köftesi (Cummins Köfte)

500gr. minced meat
1 onion, grated
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 teaspoons köfte spice**
1/2 cup olive oil

**Kofte spice (we think) is equal parts cumin, paprika, and chili powder

Blend minced meat, onions, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and köfte spice.  Knead this mixture well for 10 minutes.

Kofte raw ingredients

Take walnut sized pieces, roll into a ball and then flatten.

Heat olive oil in a pan and lightly brown the köfte on both sides. When done, take them out and arrange in a flat pan.

Kofte in oil

Mix tomato paste with hot water and spread over köfte.  Sprinkle with salt.  Add potatoes (optional), mixed peppers and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

Cummins Kofte

The Verdict: We really enjoyed this recipe. It was particularly easy, although a little messy kneading the meat dough. The flavors of the köfte spice really soaked into the meat and the vegetables making it very tasty.

Etli Biber Dolmasi (Bell Peppers Stuffed with Meat)

6 medium sized bell peppers
3 Tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp. salt

Meat Filling:
250gr. minced meat
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 medium sized onion
1/2 cup rice
1 medium size tomato
Chopped dill

Prepare the meat filling first.  Chop the onions and lightly brown in pan with margarine.  Add rice and 1/2 cup water.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Add all the other ingredients and mix them well.  Knead for about 5 minutes.

Cut around the stems of the peppers and open the lids up (keep the lids). Remove the seeds and wash the peppers well.  Stuff the peppers with the meat filling and put the lids back on.  Arrange them side by side in a saucepan.  Add 1 3/4 cups water, the margarine, and salt.

Stuffed Peppers in Oven

Cover and cook on medium heat (150C) for about 40-60 minutes until tender.  Serve warm.  If you wish, garnish with yogurt, cheese, chili oil, and fresh dill.

Stuffed Peppers with Meat Filling

The Verdict: Again, another fairly easy recipe, but we found this one a little bland.  We did add yogurt, fresh dill and chili oil afterwards which made it much better. Our recommendation is to add more spice. 

*Note that you can substitute the peppers with tomatoes and stuff them for a change.

Like these and looking for more food from around the globe? Then be sure to try our Do It Yourself recipes from Ireland!
43 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • March 30 2012

    Yum…those stuffed peppers look especially awesome. Those would be handy for very large appetizers!

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      Yes, a very good appy indeed. Def remember the yogurt and fresh dill tho.

  • March 30 2012

    Looks delicious. Are you in Turkey right now? We’re another traveling couple who ditched everything and are in Istanbul for a few days.


    Larissa and Michael
    Changes In Longitude recently posted..Butterflies are free at the Singapore airport

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      Hi there! We will be in Turkey until the end of May. If by chance you wander through Burhaniye, stop by for a coffee 🙂 If not, I think Dalene mentioned you will be in Umbria for TBU. Cheers!

  • March 30 2012

    So you were serious about putting yogurt on everything weren’t you? To each their own, but I’m going to stick to the first recipe. That looks great.
    Steve recently posted..Something Stunning in D.C.

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      haha, yes Steve. There is yogurt in lots of recipes down here. I’m becoming quite fond of the stuff. Hope you get to try and enjoy the kofte 🙂

  • Anita
    March 30 2012

    Looks so good, love trying foods from around the globe…back when I traveled, I would try to buy a cookbook from every location…You have inspired me to dig those cookbooks out and try some recipes!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      Cool! and what a great thing to bring back as a keepsake.

  • mustafa
    March 30 2012

    hi friends, I must admit that you are goot at making turkish special dish.I hope you will tell us about making turkish baklava at home in detail…ıf you can make baklava ı will call you half turkish-half canadian and probably be jeajous of you.

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      Haha, Thank you Mustafa. Dalene still wants to try and make baklava despite all the people telling her she is crazy for doing so.. Hopefully talk with you soon 🙂

      • Leah
        April 2 2012

        Dalene is not crazy, it takes time and a delicate but fast hand. I would not describe it as hard. DO IT and you will be so happy with it.

        • April 2 2012

          I have been laughed at by two different Turkish people when I say that I want to try! Perhaps they know me well enough already to get that I’m not patient and hardly delicate – haha!

  • Sabrina
    March 30 2012

    Hmmmm! The Köfte looks delicious – especially withe the potatoes and bell peppers and tomato sauce. Looks very similar to what they used to serve us in Egypt on the scuba boat on some days. Got to try!

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      It’s funny how similar the food is all throughout the med region. It’s so good. All of it in my opinion.

  • March 31 2012

    You two are really getting into the cooking side of it. Well done. You have achieved more than me. All I ever serve up is chicken and rice. I have never understood the Turkish obsession with putting yoghurt on stuff all the time but each to their own.

    • Pete
      March 31 2012

      haha, I’m always up for trying to cook the local cuisine. But yeah, I haven’t figured out the yoghurt obsession either, but it’s starting to catch on with me 🙂

  • March 31 2012

    I was there for so long, never learned how to cook!

  • March 31 2012

    My girlfriend just leaned over and made appreciative noises at the pictures in the post. So Kofte could be on the menu soon.. although in some fish based form as she doesn’t eat meat. I like a challenge…
    Laurence recently posted..Staying in touch with home when travelling

    • April 2 2012

      Ooh – talk nice to Pete and maybe he’ll cook up one of the many fish recipes for the next post. (I don’t like fish so will strenuously object. You’ll have to talk REAL nice…:) )

      • April 2 2012

        Did I ever tell Pete how pretty his eyes are? (I’m not sure if this is the sort of nice you mean…a date would be great, but dinner is the focus here..)
        Laurence recently posted..Staying in touch with home when travelling

        • April 3 2012

          Ha! I think that might have done it. Pete’s easy. 🙂

  • Laura
    March 31 2012

    Wonderful and very tasty.

  • jan
    April 1 2012

    The kofte seems easy and the mixture is sure to be tasty. Can’t wait!

    • April 2 2012

      You won’t be disappointed Jan! Very delicious.

  • April 1 2012

    YUM! 🙂

  • April 2 2012


  • FINALLY!!! I actually Stumble a delicious-looking food post on a full stomach! The first one looks really delicious, and I’d say the second one could probably be spiced up using the mixture from the first one. We love ethnic cuisine recipes, but for some reason have not featured Turkish food on GGT before. Might need to do something about that soon…

    • April 2 2012

      Perhaps we could share a recipe or two on your site Bret? Just let us know – we’re cookin’ up a storm here! 🙂

  • Absolutely! We love guest posts… and Turkish food! Hit me up at (or via Facebook) and we’ll make it happen.

  • April 2 2012

    I am often similarly inspired when traveling to try making the wonderful things I taste myself. After traveling to Marrakech last March, my fiancee gave me Paula Wolfert’s book “The Food of Morocco” and I have been tearing through it, making tagines and all kinds of other things.

    Your turkish recipes sound wonderful, and I may just try them myself very soon! Thanks for sharing them with us!

  • April 2 2012

    Wow. I am practically drooling right now. These recipes seem a little intricate but I’m sure they are so worth i in the end. They look so good!
    Alexa Meisler recently posted..A Cheese Cave, Wine Tasting and French Food in Baja

  • Joe Wong
    April 2 2012

    That Köftesi looks particularly yummy!!

  • April 3 2012

    So glad I ate before reading this!

  • Ali
    April 3 2012

    Ah, just what I’ve been waiting for! I might have to try these, although Andy hates onions. Looks soooo good!

    • April 4 2012

      Andy! Who needs him?? Haha. He definitely won’t like the recipe we’re making today – a chicken with an onion cooking up it’s butt. Hmmm. Will give some thought to some onion-free recipes…

  • April 5 2012

    Posting pictures of the different steps is really a great idea. Sounds and looks like a great dish and can’t wait to try it!
    Mary recently posted..DESTINATIONS: The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi, Laos

  • April 5 2012

    That second picture had me salivating! Okay, I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe out!!
    Wanderplex recently posted..Video: Chinese hotpot with a side of… nail polish and kung-fu noodles?

  • OH.MY.GOODNESS. Well done you two. I think I’m going to try to persuade Chris to whip this up for dinner this week. It all looks incredible.

    • April 6 2012

      It’s pretty easy to do as well. Shouldn’t need much convincing. 🙂

  • April 12 2012

    Beautiful! I love the idea of cooking the regions food while you are there and can get the authentic ingredients. I try to do cooking classes when I travel, but I find everything tastes better in its proper country

    • April 12 2012

      Well, we’ve got lots more Turkish recipes to come! It is one of our favorite things to do in a new country too, and we can compare the taste to what it’s like in a nearby restaurant. 🙂

  • May 12 2012

    I shouldn’t have read this before eating lunch! Looks absolutely delish.

  • May 22 2012

    The Cummins Köfte recipe sounds delicious. I definitely want to try making it sometime!

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