Famous Tastes of Turkish Cuisine: Traditional Sanliurfa Dishes
The lesser-known Şanlıurfa dishes, the traditional Şanlıurfa cuisine, is almost the representative of the southeastern Anatolian cuisine. The rich tomato paste, hot, spicy and meaty dishes of the local people also form the basis of the Urfa dishes. Hosting guests is an important event in Şanlıurfa, where it is believed that the abundance of the tables increases with the meals eaten with the crowd. Due to our geography, which has a deep-rooted history, the mixture of cultures has been effective in Şanlıurfa, as in many other provinces.
Today, Muslims, Christians and Jews live in Urfa in harmony and understanding. What inspires and provides diversity to traditional Şanlıurfa dishes is the blending of Turkish, Yezidi, Armenian, Syriac and Arab cultures and shaping them in skillful hands. In Şanlıurfa, you will see that the crowded table manners, which reflect the generosity of the hand and heart of Prophet İbrahim, continue. The term ‘Halil İbrahim’s table’ also indicates the continuation of this tradition.
Traditional Şanlıurfa dishes, which have contributed a lot to the famous tastes of Turkish cuisine, are not just food. For the local people who love to cook, eat and feed, it means festival, wedding, association and gathering. In addition to the well-known sira nights, there are dinner meetings called supha dinner, sahaniye, pilgrimage dinner, condolence dinner and clothing dinner.
Lesser known Şanlıurfa food names
- Sira Night Dinner: It is one of the most known events in Şanlıurfa, which is the center of attention as cultural and religious tourism. According to the local people, sira nights, which are also called ‘rowing’, are friend nights where groups of friends gather at someone’s house every week, chat and talk about every bittersweet subject, and help each other in events such as death, wedding, circumcision. However, with the effect of tourism, it has turned into a fun activity with more saz, oral plenty of food, raw meatballs over time.
- Supha Dinner: Of course, the weddings of a culture that loves to eat and drink will also have dinner. The main purpose of the wedding dinners held for the crowds is to help the poor as well as to welcome the relatives and friends who come. These wedding meals, which last from morning to evening, are called supha dinners.
- Sahaniye Dinner: It is one of the beautiful traditions made for socialization. It happens when friends gather at someone’s house, like sira nights. Guests bring home-cooked meals, so the meals gathered at the host’s house are eaten together. In this way, friendships are strengthened and sharing is enjoyed.
- Hajj Meal: It is the meal given by those who went to the pilgrimage in Şanlıurfa and returned to welcome them. Generally, it is served for 3 days with rice with raisins and zerde as dessert.
- Condolence Meal: It is the meal distributed by the relatives of a person who has passed away for three days. Meals prepared for both condolences and the poor are usually lahmacun and kebab.
- Apparel Dinner: It is a kind of wedding meal. In this dinner given by the groom, according to the tradition, it is the food served to the spouse who attends the wedding while the groom is dressing his clothes.
The traditional dishes of Şanlıurfa, where there are various kinds of kebabs, delicious raw meatballs, plenty of spices and bitterness, have a history as old and rooted as Şanlıurfa. Some of the dozens of dishes, most of which have crossed the borders of Turkey; raw meatballs, lahmacun, Urfa kebab, bread vaccine, liver kebab, borani, ayran soup, pıtpıt soup, bostana, aya meatballs, rice with flatbread, isot pot, eggplant kebab, plum pan, onion pan, lebeni, semsek, open mouth, Yuvalak meatballs, sıllık dessert, haside dessert, eggplant söğürme, sini scallops, mirra.
3 Different Flavors popular in Şanlıurfa
- Lahmacun: Inherited from Babylon, which is almost as old as human history, owned by many countries, our famous 5000-year-old dish is ‘Turkish pizza’ lahmacun, as the westerners call it. The crown jewel of the famous tastes of Turkish cuisine, a crispy flavor that can be written on, and a taste that can be renewed as you eat. It was in the 1960s that lahmacun, which is frequently made in the east, spread all over the country. Let’s not forget the lemon and greens of the lahmacun, which comes to our tables after the armored meat is blended with spices, onions, tomatoes, isot and parsley are added, then spread on a thin dough and cooked in a special stone oven.
- Uzmeli Rice: You will definitely see this difficult and at the same time very delicious pilaf, which requires mastery and dexterity, at wedding dinners (supha) and pilgrimage meals. Lamb meat, split chickpeas, raisins and molasses are used in the making of the mortar called uzleme. This mixture, which is cooked for a long time, is served on top of white rice pilaf.
- Urfa Style Liver Kebab: For those who are fond of meat and offal, liver kebab is an indispensable part of traditional Şanlıurfa cuisine, which can be consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even sahur meals. Lamb liver cut into small pieces and tail fat are used for this dish, which is prepared by masters. The livers, which are also flavored with powdered Urfa pepper, are cooked in a wood fire by attaching a garbage bottle. Urfa style liver kebab, served with roasted fresh peppers and onions, introduces the famous flavors of Turkish cuisine.