World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ottoman cuisine

Article Id: WHEBN0007261681
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ottoman cuisine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Turkish cuisine, Greek cuisine, Börek, Middle Eastern cuisine, Khash (dish)
Collection: Historical Foods, Mediterranean Cuisine, Ottoman Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ottoman cuisine

Ottoman cuisine is the cuisine of Ottoman Turkey, predecessor of the Republic of Turkey, and the successors of the Ottoman State in the Balkans, part of the Caucasus and much of the Middle East and North Africa.


  • Origins 1
  • Description 2
    • Ottoman palace cuisine 2.1
  • Regional culinary influence 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


It is clear that Ottoman cuisine was unified and refined in imperial Istanbul, but the ultimate origins of many of its component parts are less clear.

It is a matter of mere speculation whether the origins of this imperial culinary legacy are to be traced back to Greek antiquity, the Byzantine heritage, or the Turkish and Arab nations, not forgetting Phoenician and Jewish traditions; nowadays you may find support for any of these claims in various countries in the Balkans and the Near East.[1]

The food historian, Iranologist and Ottomanologist Bert Fragner emphasizes the importance of New World foodstuffs in defining Ottoman cuisine, which adopted them more rapidly than France, Italy, and northern Europe.


The center of Ottoman cuisine was Istanbul, the capital, where the imperial court and the metropolitan elites established a refined culinary tradition bringing together elements of regional cuisines from across the empire:

...despite the disintegration of the Ottoman political empire, we can still see the survival of a large region which could be called the Ottoman culinary empire. The Balkans, Greece, Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent... are common heirs to what was once the Ottoman life-style, and their cuisines offer treacherous circumstantial evidence of this fact. Of course, they represent at the same time a good deal of local or regional culinary traditions. Besides, one should not forget that it is typical of any great cuisine in the world to be based on local varieties and on mutual exchange and enrichment among them, but at the same time to be homogenized and harmonized by a metropolitan tradition of refined taste.[2]

Ottoman palace cuisine

This diverse cuisine was amalgamated and honed in the Imperial Palace's kitchens by chefs brought from certain parts of the empire to create and experiment with different ingredients. These chefs were tested and hired by their method of cooking rice, a simple dish. They were brought over from various places for the express purpose of experimenting with exotic textures and ingredients and inventing new dishes.

Each cook specialized in specific tasks. All dishes intended for the sultan were first passed by the palate of the Chesnidjibashi, or imperial food taster, who tested the food for both poison and taste. The creations of the Ottoman palace's kitchens also filtered to the common population, for instance through Ramadan events, and through the cooking at the yalis of the pashas, and from there on to the people at large.

Some of the more extravagant dishes remained as palace specialities and have had only limited diffusion:

  • Roasted pigeon[3]
  • Ayva dolma[4] and kalye (vegetable -or fruit as in this case- cooked without meat, with olive oil and tomato "salça" after a short sautéing)
  • Kavun dolması (Stuffed melon)[5][6]

Regional culinary influence

The traditions of Ottoman cuisine continue in Ukrainian cuisine, Cypriot cuisine, Balkan cuisine, Romani cuisine, Sephardi cuisine, and Middle Eastern cuisine.


  1. ^ Fragner, p. 53
  2. ^ Fragner, p. 52
  3. ^ Mehrdad Kia (2011). Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire. ABC-CLIO. pp. 230–.  
  4. ^ Coşkun Yılmaz; Necdet Yılmaz (2006). Health in the Ottomans. Biofarma. 
  5. ^ Jean-Paul Labourdette; Clémence Bonnet (4 February 2009). Petit Futé Istanbul. Petit Futé. pp. 186–.  
  6. ^ Tarım ve köyişleri bakanlığı dergisi. Yayın Dairesi Başkanlığı Matbaası. 1998. 


  • Bert Fragner, "From the Caucasus to the Roof of the World: a culinary adventure", in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.