Write:Perihan Demir Photos:Serkan Eldeleklioğlu
The dawn of settlement in Diyarbakır, the cradle of civilizations, coincides nearly exactly with the start of human history. This city is also home to the lands on which humans first cultivated wheat.
The deep-rooted cultural past of Diyarbakır reflects upon its cuisine just as richly. Meat-based dishes and kebabs are widespread in the region, which is one of the oldest centers of animal husbandry due to how suitable its land is. However, to view Diyarbakır cuisine consisting solely of meaty dishes would be doing it an injustice. Many grains and legumes are used frequently in the region’s cuisine, in which vegetable dishes occupy a significant place too. Beyond vegetables, in Diyarbakır cuisine, various fruits are used in casseroles in a unique fashion. The quince roast made in fall and winter is among Diyarbakır cuisine’s such distinct treasures, as are its stuffed ribs, which are renowned all over Turkey. As for desserts, Diyarbakır’s “burma kadayıf” (coiled shredded wheat dessert with pistachio filling) rules the table.
SOUR STUFFED VINE LEAVES
1 sheep’s intestine, 250 g knife-minced meat, 1 cup rice,
1 tablespoon tomato paste,
1 tablespoon red pepper paste, black pepper, salt
For Sauce: 1 tablespoon butter,
1 tablespoon red pepper paste,
1 dessertspoon mint, salt.
Wash and rinse the intestine in cold water three or four times. After it is cleaned well, turn it inside out with the help of a skewer. In a bowl, mix meat, rice, the pastes, pepper, and salt. Loosely stuff the intestine through one end, holding it in your palm. After stuffing the intestine, bring the two ends together and tie tightly with string. Cook in one liter of boiling water in a pot until rice has swollen. For the sauce, melt butter in a pan, add pepper paste and sauté, and then add two cups of boiling water, mint, and salt. Serve after heating in sauce.
1 kg lamb meat on the bone,
1 medium onion,
2 small quinces, 2-3 black peppercorns, 1 ½ liters water, salt
Dice onions and lamb, and cook them until they soften. Add sliced quinces and cook for an additional half hour. Serve hot.
Diyarbakır STUFFED MUTTON MEATBALLS
2 cups fine bulgur, 2 cups hot water,
1 egg, salt.
For Filling: 250 g minced lamb,
2 medium onions, 1 tablespoon butter,
? cup crushed walnuts, 1 dessertspoon dried basil, 1 dessertspoon paprika,
1 dessertspoon black pepper, 1 dessertspoon allspice, 1 dessertspoon salt.
For Cooking: 1 liter water, 2 eggs, 1 liter vegetable oil.
Add bulgur, salt, and hot water to a pot and cover. Wait for bulgur to swell for half an hour. Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté the onion, meat, and spices until cooked down. If desired, you can also add crushed walnuts to the filling. Add an egg to the now-swollen bulgur and start kneading, wetting your hands as needed. Once the bulgur has acquired a doughy, sticky consistency, tear off into walnut-sized pieces. For each piece, hold the ball of bulgur dough in your palm and hollow it out with the index finger or thumb of your other hand. Add around a dessertspoon of the filling to the hollowed dough, wet the outside, and seal shut. Cook the meatballs in boiling water. Dip the cooked meatballs into egg, fry in hot oil, and serve.
BURMA KADAYIF (COILED SHREDDED WHEAT DESSERT)
½ kg “burma kadayıf” shredded wheat, ½ kg raw shelled pistachios, 250 g butter, 4 cups water, 5 cups granulated sugar
Spread shredded wheat on counter and sprinkle pistachios on top. Hold from one end, wind into a coil, and place on oven tray. Drizzle melted butter over the shredded wheat. Bake until browned in an oven preheated to 180 °C. In a pot, mix water and sugar, and bring to a boil. Drizzle this syrup on top of the dessert, having removed it from the oven, and wait for it to be absorbed. Serve when cooled.