tahini_ekmek

Ramazan (the name for Ramadan in Turkey) started on August 19. For the preceding 2 weeks, I interrogated everyone I encountered about their Ramazan food memories. I wanted to know what recipes and dishes people associate with this month of fasting. I think most non-Muslims immeditaely think of Ramazan as ritual fasting alone, overlooking that food and feasting are a huge part of the holiday. There are countless dishes that are only prepared during this month and served before the first call to prayer in the morning and to break the fast in the evening. Of all of Ramazan dishes I head about, I was most interested in tahinli ekmek (a sweet bread made with tahini).

You may already have read about my love of tahini helva, and this new use of sesame paste was intriguing. It would not be until the day Ramadan started that I would see this magical spiral flatbread in a bakery in Ürgüp, Cappadocia. My friend Susan had driven me there to take the bus to Kayseri and we had an hour to kill before my departure so I suggested trying out a bakery I had seen on a previous visit. The bakery was in the bus station square, which in my mind, doesn’t scream quality. But then again, my impressions of bus stations were shaped by the Port Authority in NYC, one of the scariest places on the planet. In Turkey, it is different. This place was proof.

A half-dozen bakers worked at the stone oven making pide for a huge crowd of customers. I was thrilled when I saw a flat flakey spiral bread piled high on a table near the register. Could this be it? I enquired “tahinli ekemek mi?”. Hypothetically, this means is this tahini bread? At least that’s what I think it means after 10 Turkish lessons, but I must have gotten close enough because the cashier responded. Evet, yes. We ordered our pide, baked to order, and I picked at the sweet tahinli ekmek as we waited. The oil of the tahini and the flour make friable glutinous bonds that flake easily and you just pull a bit of the bread and it crumbles lightly between your fingers. It is best eaten by biting into it rather than tearing, but I really don’t discriminate against either method.

Explore related categories:
Gastronomic Traditions · Sweets & Dessert · Turkish Cuisine

4 Comments:


  • Katie, you so totally rock. I just got so lost in this blog I almost forgot to serve breakfast (not a good thing when you own a B&B). I am coming back again and I am going to link you up to me. I adore Turkey, have had the pleasure of traveling there a few times — I lived in Germany, and when you live in Germany, you make friends with Turkish people, it’s the largest majority (you probably know that). Anyway, would love to meet up with you sometime when you are back on the boot (maybe in Lerici with my girl Megan….!)

    This dish looks delicious. I used to buy hunks of helva in Hamburg at the turkish store — spun light with honey, loaded with sesame flavor. It all came back to me when I started reading your blog this morning.

    I HAVE to go check on the guests now :) :)

  • Katie

    I have been informed by the lovely and talented Cem Unal Erzen of the following: “it is tahinli pide not tahinli ekmek”. so much to learn…who wants to be my turk mutfaga usta?


  • ahem I meant the largest minority of course.


  • [...] (with the name kaşar – which literally means ‘old whore’) and my favourite Turkish pastry tahinli – sweat bread with sesam paste. Tahinli is quite crumbly. When a pack of pigeons appears, I [...]

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