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Syrian and Turkish Women of Istanbul

What's Cooking?

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ONLINE Syrian and Turkish Women's Group

With the organisation of Selin, Zeynep and Pınar from the Cooking Up Dialogue team

and in collaboration with 

Shahla of YUSRA Community Center

and Melek of The Balat Culture Center

These are some of the delicious foods that were especially prepared at home by the participants and then talked about online is such a way that we can imagine the taste in our mouths. So, even though these delicious dishes weren't eaten together, the sense of togetherness was experienced.





From Syria

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Beans and Tomatoes with Meat فاصولياء بالحمة وبندورة

Ingredients and Instructions

We chop the beans and saute the meat. We put the beans on top of the meat, add the spices and salt, and cook for 15 minutes. Then we chop tomatoes on it and cook for another 15 minutes. 


Meat Stuffed Grape Leaves يبرق

Ingredients and Instructions

2 cups of rice

Minced meat

1 spoon of salt

1 spoon of black pepper

1 spoon of dried mint

We put the ingredients into the leaf and wrap it into a roll. We put pieces of meat or chicken on the bottom of the pan, arrange the stuffed leaves in rows, and add garlic. We add some water and some lemon slices/juice.

Enjoy your meal.




Ingredients and Instructions

Boil the chicken with bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, mandi spice, and salt. Then take the chicken out and put it in the oven. Cook the mandi rice with the chicken broth until the water decreases. Mix the saffron with a little water, mix the orange spice the same way, and pour over the rice and mix. Turn off the stove after 4 minutes. Finally, put a tablespoon of oil in the bowl and put 2 burnt coal into it, close the lid, enjoy your meal.


All Arab countries know this dish.


From Syria

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Vegetable Bake 

صينية الخضار المتنوعه

Ingredients and Instructions

First, I buy onions, eggplants, tomatoes, green peppers, and potatoes from the bazaar. I peel the potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. I add black pepper, salt, red pepper, garlic, and oil to the vegetables. Then I put onion, salt, and black pepper to the minced meat and make small meatballs. I put them all into a tray. It is cooked at a high temperature in the oven. An hour later, the meal is ready.

Enjoy your meal.

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Stuffed Eggplant and Zucchini





1/2 kg of meat or chicken


2 spoons of butter

Black pepper, salt, mint

Tomato sauce


First, I clean the vegetables thoroughly and cut out the inside of the eggplant and zucchini. I prepare the rice, keep it in hot water for half an hour, and then wash it. I add the meat, salt, oil, butter, and black pepper and put this mix into the eggplant and zucchini. After I arrange them in a pot, I prepare the tomato sauce with water, pour it over the vegetables and cook for an hour on low heat. I put meat or chicken and a piece of potato on the bottom of the pan so that the food does not stick. While preparing the vegetables, I wash the zucchini with water, garlic, and mint for a delicious taste.

fatma - soslu makarna (1).jpeg



Put the pasta, water, salt, dried vegetable spices, and oil in a pan. Boil for 7 minutes on the stove. Then make a bechamel sauce. Mix the butter and flour thoroughly over low heat. Gradually add the milk while mixing. Add the spices, salt, hot pepper, wild thyme, and kashar cheese. In a glass bowl, put the pasta, then the sauce, then the pasta and sauce layer by layer. Add the cheese to the top and put it in the oven at a high temperature. Ready in 10 minutes.


It is not a well-known dish in Syria, but because my children love it very much, I do it a lot.

Pasta with Sauce معكرونه بالبشاميل


Half a kilo of pasta

250 g kashar cheese

80 g flour

A liter of milk

80 g butter

Dried vegetable spices (1 tablespoon)

Salt (1 teaspoon), hot pepper (1/4 teaspoon), wild thyme (1/4 teaspoon)

Oil (5 tablespoons)


From Turkey

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Turkish Ravioli


3 cups of flour, 1 cup of warm water

1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt

For the stuffing:

250 g minced meat

1 onion, Salt, Black pepper

For the sauce:

Yoghurt with garlic

Red pepper flakes heated in oil


A dough of medium softness is kneaded, divided into balls, balls are opened, and the mixture with minced meat is added and closed.

Put a little salt in boiled water and boil the ravioli pieces, then put them on a plate. Yoghurt with garlic and sauce are poured over it.


Hünkarbeğendi (Sultan's Delight)

Meat recipe

250 g cubed meat

2 green peppers, 1 large tomato (peel and chop)

Oil, salt, black pepper

1 onion

1 spoon of tomato paste

1.5 cups of water

All ingredients will be cooked.


Sultan's Delight recipe

4 eggplants

2 cups of milk

2 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt, black pepper

1 cup of grated kashar cheese

Eggplant will be roasted, cut into small pieces. It is important to roast the eggplant on the stove, for its embers smell. Mix it with bechamel sauce and add cheese.

It will be served with eggplant mix at the bottom and roasted meat on the top.


It is a special meal I make for my guests.



Ingredients and Instructions

2 cups of wheat

1 chicken breast,

2 chicken legs

Salt, butter

Chicken broth

We wash the wheat and put it in the pot overnight. We put water on it, let it boil, and take in off the stove. It will swell until the morning. On the other side, we boil the chicken and then shred it thinly. We put butter on the bottom of the pressure cooker, wheat and chicken on top, then we add chicken broth and water and cook it for 20-25 minutes. It should be neither too thick nor too liquid. Here is the trick: We mix it with a wooden spoon until it reaches a paste consistency. While serving, we pour hot butter over it.


This is a local dish, it is done a lot at weddings. In village weddings, men beat the keskek with wooden spoons in large cauldrons to make it a thick consistency. In our family, it is done not only at weddings but also at crowded family gatherings.


From Syria

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Molokhia ve Rice Pilaf

ملوخيه ورز

Ingredients and Instructions

Molokhia is a dry leaf widely used in Syria. Molokhia is left in water for 10 minutes and softened. In a pan, we mix the oil and shredded chicken well with a lot of crushed garlic and add the molokhia. We add salt and pepper, mix well, and cook it with 3 glasses of water. After cooking, we add lemon juice. It is served with rice pilaf.

It is made with meat or chicken, but it best suits chicken. It is a very popular dish in Syria.


Yalangi (stuffed leaves) يالنجي

2 cups of rice

1 tablespoon of red pepper

1/2 tablespoon of dried mint

1/2 tablespoon of black pepper





1 tomato sauce

1 potato

2 onions

1/2 tablespoon of coffee

 1/2 cup of olive oil


Put onions in a bowl of washed rice, cut into small slices, add finely chopped parsley, tomato sauce, salt, all of the spices, olive oil, mix well, then put a little bit of this mixture on a leaf and wrap it in the form of a roll.

Put the potato slices under a pan first, then put the wraps side by side until all of them are finished. Put the pan on the stove, add water. Put a plate on the wraps to keep it steady, add a pinch of salt and when the water is over, add lemon, the yalangi is ready.


Kibbeh كبة مقليه

For the stuffing

750 g minced meat

2 onions


Seven kinds of spices and salt

Let's cook small chopped onions in a pan with oil. Then add the minced meat, spices, and salt. Add walnuts to the cooked mixture and mix it. Put the mixture into a bowl.

For the crust

4 cups of fine bulgur

2 onions

Zest of 1 lemon

200 g chicken breast

Salt and spices

2 glasses of hot water

First, I wait for the bulgur to swell for 10 minutes with 2 glasses of hot water in a tray. Then I mix the spices, salt, chicken breast, lemon zest, and onion. We chop well. Now we can shape it. We wet our hands with cold water on a plate, get the bulgur, and roll it. We fill the bulgur with minced meat and close it. We continue until all the mixture is finished. Then we fry them in oil.

It is definitely done on birthdays and important days.


From Turkey

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Mangır Pasta

Ingredients and Instructions

I prepare the dough with flour, salt, and water. Like ravioli dough. After letting the dough rest for a while, I roll it out, spread it on a rolling pin, cut it into little triangles and boil them like ravioli. For the sauce on top; I cook 3 onions in oil, add salt and pepper. Then I break and cook 4 eggs. After boiling my pasta, I pour the sauce on it.

It is a dish from Kastamonu. Optionally, walnuts can be added to the sauce, it can be made with minced meat or pieces of meat, but onion sauce goes well with it. Enjoy your meal.


Cranberry Soup (Cranberry Tarhana)

In our house, its name is purple soup.


Ingredients and Instructions

Cranberry fruit will be cooked with salt, then kneaded with flour when cooled, dried on cloths, and turned into powder. During the cooking phase, garlic is grated and cooked in oil for a little while. Then add cranberry tarhana and cook, add black pepper if desired.


It is made with feverish work in the summer and eaten in the winter. It is very healthy.

Photo is of the cranberry Tarhana dough drying before it is turned into the original instant soup powder... In this case not so 'instant' when you look at the process involved.



Ingredients and Instructions

Yoghurt, milk, mint, dill, parsley, celery, onion, red pepper, green pepper, carrot, tomato, and flour.

Onions, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes are cooked, made into a dough with flour and dried on cloths.

(This dried powder is then mixed with water and then heated)

nurgul - gomec.jpeg


It is an unleavened bread

Ingredients and Instructions

2 onions


2-3 cups of einkorn* flour, wheat flour

Black pepper, salt, water

1 teaspoon of baking soda or 1 pack of baking powder


Onions will be diced. Walnuts, black pepper, salt, and flour will be mixed with water slowly. It won't be very doughy, it should be a little more solid. That's the trick. The tray will be greased, the dough will be put on the tray, and decorated with almonds and walnuts. It will be cooked in the oven and served. Enjoy your meal.

This is a recipe passed from my grandmother to my mother, from my mother to my sister and me. It is served with tea. It can also be made with different nuts.

*einkorn flour is an Anatolian staple wheat flour locally called Siyez.


From Turkey

Living in Balat


Online Gathering




Hasanpaşa Meatballs

Ingredients and Instructions

I kneaded the meatballs as we know.

(we can assume that Zeliha used minced beef, a grated onion, maybe an egg to bind, some herbs such as fresh parsley finely chopped and dried oregano and spices such as cumin, salt and pepper, some people also add bread crumbs)


I shaped them into bowls. I put them in the oven a little bit, waited for the meatballs to pick up, and then I took them out. I made tomato paste sauce and poured it on top of the meatballs. I put the mashed potato in the meatballs and put them back in the oven.

The meatballs remained in the oven until they were cooked, I took them out and put cheese on top. The meatballs stayed in the oven for another 5 minutes and I took them out to serve. Enjoy your meal.


Yogurt Soup with Noodles

Ingredients and Instructions

1 onion

Butter and oil mixture

Half a kilo of yoghurt

2 tablespoons of flour

1 egg 

1 tea cup of noodles

Water and dill chopped on 3 cloves of garlic

We saute the onion in oil, add the flour. We put the water on it and add the noodles. When the noodles soften, we pour the yoghurt, egg and garlic mixture. Finally, we add dill.


Minced Meat Stuffed Courgettes and Peppers

Ingredients and Instructions

A stuffing is prepared from bulgur, rice, onion, minced meat, tomato paste, tomato, and pepper and filled into carved zucchini. Butter and oil are melted together in the pan. Stuffed vegetables are lined up and cooked on low heat with a little water. When serving, it is decorated with dill.

These recipes are shared in the way that the women shared with us, some are more explanatory than others. Please remember that many recipes were passed down (often from mother to daughter) and no written records exist between them. The women instinctively know the cooking times, how to make pastry or when to add which ingredients and it is so natural to them that they expect us all to know too!

The way of showing and making together is a beautiful way, those of us from a written word culture are sometimes inclined to see a lack of written records as inferior but we invite ourselves to see that the oral and participatory culture is a vast richness in human experience and times spent sharing the pleasure of cooking together is both precious and informative. It is also the gift of our cultural heritage through participation.

If you find a recipe that you are curious about is lacking in essential information, please contact us and we will do our best to provide clarity.

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