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Adana is the land of meat, peppers, bulgur, greens, spiciness, and dessert. The thyme of the Tauruses adds flavor to the meat and thickness to the milk. The secrets of skillful hands are not to be written about, but tasted.
Adana is one of the cities worth hopping on a plane for and visiting just to eat there. One of the secrets of Adana’s delicacies is undoubtedly the ingredients native to the region. In Adana, bulgur (cracked wheat) is dark in color and rough in texture, as though it has been left out in Çukurova’s sun to tan. In Adana, kebab is not a dish, but a culture. Most of the dishes in Adana are meaty, hot, and spicy. The interactions of Mediterranean, Arabic and Anatolian cultures have all enriched the cuisine in the region. While we’re on the topic of Adana cuisine, the province’s most noteworthy dishes can be listed as “Adana kebab,” which is named after the city, along with “yüksük çorbası”, “şakıldaklı çorba”, “şirden dolması”, “etli kömbe”, liver kebab, spinach root with lentils, and “bici bici,” a dessert.
(Soup with Turkish Ravioli and Chickpeas)
1 bowl raw “mantı” (Turkish ravioli), 1 cup chickpeas, 2 liters water, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon butter,
1 teaspoon dried mint, 3 cloves garlic, salt to taste.
Soak chickpeas overnight, then rinse and drain them. Boil in water until soft. Add “mantı” to the chickpeas. In a pan, melt butter; add crushed garlic, tomato paste, mint, and then sauté. Pour over the cooked soup and stir. Serve after boiling for a few more minutes.
“ŞİRDEN DOLMASI” (STUFFED TRIPE)
4 tripe, ½ kg ground lamb, ½ kg rice, 3 medium onions,
1 tablespoon red pepper paste, black pepper, cumin, salt to taste.
Wash and strain cleaned tripe three to four times. Combine rice, ground meat, finely chopped onions, pepper paste, black pepper, cumin, and salt. Stuff tripe with mixture and seal open end. Boil in water until rice is soft. Drain water, sprinkle cumin on top, and serve.
“SOĞAN YATAĞINDA CİĞER KEBABI”
(Liver Kebab on a Bed of Onions)
1 lamb’s liver, 1 bowl animal fat rendered from lamb’s tail,
1 medium onion, ½ bunch parsley, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sumac, salt.
Peel away liver membrane and cut liver into cubes. Combine with cumin and paprika in a bowl and marinate for about an hour. On a skewer, add four pieces of liver and two pieces of fat in this order until skewer is full. Grill for approximately five minutes on each side, making sure the liver doesn’t lose its juices. In a bowl, mix roughly-chopped onions with finely-chopped parsley, and then add sumac and salt. Spread onion and parsley mixture on a plate, remove the liver from skewers and place on bed of onions, and serve.
7 tablespoons cornstarch, 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 liter water, ½ teaspoon food coloring (red), 1 bottle rosewater, ice, powdered sugar.
Mix cornstarch and sugar in two cups water and cook until mixture acquires a pudding-like consistency. Pour cooked pudding flat on a glass plate and refrigerate until solidified. Add ½ teaspoon food coloring and rosewater to remaining water, stir well, and refrigerate. If desired, especially in summertime, add crushed ice to mixture. Cut hardened pudding into small cubes. Serve on a platter with cold syrup topping and, if desired, powdered sugar sprinkled on top.