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Traditional Turkish Breakfast

Typical Turkish breakfast

Breakfast in Turkey is truly a delight. No muesli bars, no vegemite toast in the car on the way to work, no take-away lattes at your desk. Breakfast in Turkey is a serious matter, and one to be savoured slowly with friends and family.

First, there is the matter of the bread. Fresh white loaves are baked constantly throughout the day and are sold on every street corner at the market stalls. Bread is the staple of every meal, and with no preservatives in a standard loaf; bread is bought at least 3 times a day. Simit are crunchy, bagel-like rings of bread covered in sesame seeds, and are best eaten with feta cheese or jam.

A simit stack

A Turkish breakfast relies on good quality, simple and local ingredients. Fresh, juicy tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and local black olives are staples, as are hard-boiled eggs. Homemade jam, honey, tahini and pekmez, grape molasses are all laid out on the table too, as are village butter and a variety of cheeses produced in various regions of Turkey.

Often, the traditional breakfast is accompanied by a cooked dish, of which my favourite is Menemen.

Menemen

Ingredients

12 free range eggs

2 onions sliced

6 peeled tomatoes

1 red or green capsicum

1 cube chicken stock

6 cloves garlic

cumin

chilli

olive oil

parsley

Method

Cook onions, garlic, chicken stock and capsicum until soft in butter.  Add tomatoes and cover until tomatoes are cooked. Garnish with parsley. Add eggs one at a time until scrambled looking. Add cumin. Sprinkle with Parsley and serve with fresh white bread and strong black tea.

The final, key ingredient to a fabulous Turkish breakfast is tea. Strong tea. Turkish tea is brewed in a double teapot with hot water in the bottom, and strong tea with minimal water in the top. When poured, one-third tea is cut with two-thirds water. Tea is served black and in small, tulip-shaped glasses. Sugar is almost always added, and I’ve seen up to 5 sugars being added to a tiny glass!

A Turkish breakfast is best served with family and friends, and accompanied by weekend newspapers. Best taken over at least 1.5 hours, Turkish time!