Lambousa Fish Tanks
Lambousa, City site and Roman period fish tanks
24 November, 2009
Al Shaheen
25 November, 2009
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Cypriot Cuisine

Turkish Cypriot Cuisine
Turkish Cuisine

Turkish Cypriot Cuisine

The cuisine of Cyprus has much in common with many countries of the Mediterranean with influences from most of them. Much of the food that is produced on the island is the same as that of mainland Turkey, Greece and Lebanon. Different names for the dishes may well be used but the contents will be the same.

Among the best and tastiest dishes in Cypriot cooking are the following:-

Main courses may well be any of these:

  • Shish kebab – small pieces of meat, most often chicken or lamb, on a skewer cooked over charcoal.
  • Doner kebab – popular all over Europe, this is the Turkish signature dish that everyone has heard of and the great standby take-away after a night on the town. Fragrantly spiced meat cooked on a large rotating skewer, sliced thinly and served in Pita bread.
  • Bumbar – this is a type of sausage that is made with minced lamb and rice, which is usually sliced and fried.
  • Firin Kebab, also called Kleftico – lamb shank or other suitable cut that is wrapped in tin foil, sometimes with a potato and a tomato, then very slowly cooked to melting tenderness in a clay oven.
  • Molehiya – a strange plant that resembles a nettle (without the sting) when young, it is then stripped from the stems and dried. Easily found in most supermarkets it is soaked and cooked, with lamb or chicken pieces, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice. It is a delicious example of true Cypriot cooking.
  • Dolma – any vegetable that can be stuffed with a mixture of rice and mince meat. Vegetarian options are just as easily produced and will be cooked in vegetable rather than meat stock. Peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, vine leaves and aubergines as well as courgette flowers are used to make these typically Mediterranean meals and they are usually served on a bed of salad and may be hot or cold.
  • Hellim or Halloumi cheese – a dense white cheese that can be eaten cold but is much better if grilled. It is also known as the “squeaky cheese”.
  • Cipura – Sea Bream, grilled whole on the charcoal and served with salad and chips, or Sea Bass, make an excellent alternative for vegetarians or anyone suffering a surfeit of kebabs!

Sweet dishes:

  • Katmer – filo pastry layered with honey and nuts.
  • Ekmek Kadayifi – syrup soaked sponge cake.

Yoghurt – One of the biggest misconceptions throughout most of the world is that Yoghurt was a Greek invention. However as it has been eaten in one form or another for over 4,000 years its true origin has been lost in the mists of time. The use of Yoghurt is written about in medieval Turkish texts and the word is definitely Turkish. The most mouth watering example is Suzme, which is yoghurt that has been strained to remove all the water content and can be used instead of cream. It makes a perfect breakfast dish, especially if drizzled with honey or sprinkled with a light coating of icing sugar. Yoghurt has always been known as excellent for the digestion and can be an effective cure for all kinds of stomach upsets.

Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith first came to North Cyprus in 1995, and fell in love with the country and the Turkish Cypriot people. A self confessed dilettante, with a varied working career, it was not until she returned in 1997 and went into tourism that she was able to put to good use her knowledge of history, ancient and modern, acquired long ago at school. She is a co-author of the Landmark Visitors Guide to North Cyprus, and continues to promote this beautiful country as far afield as possible.