Breakfast

Breakfast

By
Andy Harris
Contains
6 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493765
Photographer
David Loftus

The classic Turkish breakfast is really just a much raunchier, perhaps more sensual, version of a Scandinavian smörgåsbord buffet. Its simplest form is a repast found throughout the Mediterranean world – a few olives, sliced tomatoes and cucumber and some cheese, all drizzled with ripe olive oil and a sprinkle of sun-dried mountain herbs and spices. At the Van Kahvaltı breakfast club in Cihangir, other ingredients that make it distinctly Turkish (with the emphasis on regional specialities from the Van region) include the addition of wheat berries mixed with thick chestnut honey, spicy cheese, cacık , muhammara or tahini and pekmez (grape molasses) dips, bread-dunking sauces made with sesame seeds, za’atar and olive oil, menemen or fried eggs with sucuk sausages, all washed down with tea and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Take the opportunity whenever you are in Istanbul to try kaymak: slabs of unctuous clotted buffalo cream with dripping honeycomb. Its unique flavour will not be forgotten.

Istanbul’s old-fashioned coffee shops are few and far between – surprisingly for such a large city. Two of the best offer a brief respite from the city’s madding crowds. Down a quiet side street off İstiklal Caddesi is the tiny Mandabatmaz, which opened in 1967. Its name roughly translates as ‘so thick a buffalo wouldn’t drown in it’, referring to the thick foam (köpük) on top of each freshly made coffee. This very traditional shop still orders its own special roasted beans, which arrive fresh every day to make a mean, thick black cup. On the Asian side in Kadıköy, Kurukahveci Yavuz Bey also serves a restorative damla sakızlı (mastic-flavoured coffee), best savoured at one of its crowded outdoor tables.

Head to Besiktas’ Kaymakçı Pando for breakfast. Open since 1895, you’ll get authentic balkaymak, coiled slabs of richly clotted cream made with buffalo milk served with a dripping wedge of honeycomb. You can buy kaymak in tins in Turkish shops but it’s a pale imitation of the real thing, which only lasts a day. Run by 87-year-old Pando Amca and his wife, the café is a place of pilgrimage for many people who appreciate this very special Turkish dish. They also serve fresh free-range fried eggs with cheese or slices of sucuk sausage.

Recipes in this Chapter

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