Turkish Food – Loving Süzme Yoghurt

We’ve already written a post about how, since moving to Turkey, we have grown to love yoghurt – it’s been quite a long journey – and we’ve posted a recipe for the famous Turkish yoghurt dish, cacık; a refreshing mix of natural Turkish yoghurt, cucumber and mint.

There are different types of natural yoghurt in Turkey – full fat, half fat, 1% fat, kaymaklı (creamy), to name a few – but our favourite has got to be süzme yoghurt.

‘Süzme’ means ‘strained’ and the result is a thick, creamy, yoghurt that goes great with mücver (courgette fritters), grilled meats, it can be mixed with chillies, garlic, herbs and eaten as a meze…it’s just gorgeous and, as you can see, versatile. It’s a very rare occasion that there isn’t some in our fridge.

Süzme Turkish Yoghurt

Süzme yoghurt is a strained yoghurt that is thick and creamy

You may remember that we posted a recipe for fırında mücver, (oven-baked mücver) back in February. Well, the traditional way to make these fantastic courgette fritters is to fry them. I made them the other day (as you can see in the photo) and we ate them with the süzme yoghurt (we grated a bit of garlic into it).

Just a brilliant late summer lunch. Of course, I took a few photos of the fritter making process so we’ll post about that tomorrow.

If you are in the Fethiye area, homemade süzme yoghurt can be bought from the Fethiye markets. It’s sold on the cheese stalls from huge, plastic tubs (basically, small dustbins) and is sold by weight.

The other place to get your hands on the home made stuff is from the cheese and olive shops surrounding the fish market in the centre of Fethiye. Of course, you can get the factory produced branded yoghurt from the supermarkets but we prefer the locally produced version?

Turkish Food Abroad

If you aren’t in Turkey, just a question for you: Would you be able to buy a product called ‘Turkish Yoghurt’?

Whichever part of the world you are sitting in, while reading this post, have you ever seen yoghurt / coffee / any other products specifically marked with the label ‘Turkish Yoghurt,’ ‘Turkish coffee,’ ‘Turkish Bulgur’ etc?

We know the main supermarkets in the UK don’t sell any products like this (apart from the horrendous Fry’s Turkish Delight – but let’s not go there). It’s something we’ve thought a bit about recently and, coincidentally, the issue was discussed in an article about simits in the Hürriyet newspaper yesterday.

A Turkish company is going worldwide with its simit production. Great! However, Turkish cuisine is recognised as one of the best cuisines in the world. Why is the whole Turkish brand not exported more?

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  1. this looks and sounds delicious ! thanks for visiting my blog~ 🙂

  2. @serap_tweets says

    I think real lokum is also known as Turkish Delight all over the world (except for here, where it is ridiculously called Cypriot Delight!). Otherwise it’s a tough question because so many Turkish foods are also eaten by other countries nearby, so I guess it a matter of who exported it first?

  3. Never heard of Cypriot Delight before. 🙂

    You’re right, surrounding countries are all eating similar foods – we just wonder why Turkey doesn’t push its cuisine more, like other countries do. Whenever we invite (non-Turkish) people round for food, they always recognise the Turkish dishes we make by other names.

  4. I think Turkish coffee, and Turkish delights for sure, then of course my lovely Turkish eggplants, but I can’t say I have ever seen yogurt! I would love to try the many types of yogurt you described! Now I just have to find them!!

  5. You can get almost anything Turkish in Stoke Newington and Hackney. There are big Turkish Cypriot communities in these areas of North London.

  6. Dennis, Turkish eggplants are amazing aren’t they? As for the yoghurt, Greece has been very good at exporting the brand. Turkish yoghurt is the same.

    Alan, there is a Turkish supermarket in Manchester too. It would just be nice to see Turkish goods becoming famous outside of Turkey and on the regular supermarket shelves. Greece have been very good at this and have cornered the market for cheese and yoghurt.

    Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  7. Hmm, sometimes I think that might be a bit deeper … Why is Turkiye changed to Turkey (people still make jokes turkey-Turkey) in English? Why calling something Turkish Delight, when word Lokum is not difficult at all and I’m sure it would have been easily pronounced and remembered by English speakers as Turkish Lokum. As a matter of fact, I always called it Lokum until moving to North America. Sometimes I think that it might be better for Turkish products not to be labeled clearly as such in the Western countries as I think there is still quite a bit of that negative attitude towards countries such as Turkiye, unfortunately.

    Thank you so much for posting all of these great recipes. I love yogurt, and even though I can’t find Turkish kind here, I’m quite happy with the ones they sell in specialty supermarkets as long as they’re organic. As anyone who ever lived in North America would know, food here is full of hormones, preservatives, additives, chemicals and who knows what else, so my goal is just to find real and pure products.

    So all of you living in Europe, enjoy the real food regardless of the which cuisine it is 🙂

    Hatidza Z.

  8. Hi Hatidza, thanks for your great comment.

    I agree with you about the negative attitudes, but don’t you think those would start to change for the better if Turkey (Türkiye) started to export itself more?

    Thanks, we will continue to enjoy the fabulous Turkish cuisine – and the cuisine of all the other countries of the world! 🙂

  9. Hi Jay,

    Yes, you’re right. Turkey has so much to offer, but not sure if they even realize that. I was there only once, but sure am planning to go back, and hopefully move there for good one day.

    The bizarre thing is that they are so many products from Turkey sold in Canada, but they are never clearly labeled as Turkish food. You can pick up Pinjur and Ajvar almost at any supermarket, but none of them are labeled as Turkish products. You can only see that in a fine print, since the country of origin must be printed on a product.

    I think if they just added Turkish to Ajvar/Coffee/Kofte/Apple Tea/Raki (loved raki) etc., it would intrigue shoppers and make them want to try these products, just to experience authentic Turkish cuisine, as people here are adventurous when it comes to food. Baby steps 🙂

    All the best,

  10. Your blog was a great help to us in Turkey and we bought this yogurt it was lovely,thanks.

  11. @Anne Mackle: So glad you tried the Turkish yoghurt and enjoyed it! Spread the word. 🙂 Thanks for all your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

  12. When we first moved to Frankfurt, I was pleased to find in our closest supermarket a Turkish section – red lentils, sarma in a can, bulgur, helva, nohut and boxes of manti. Not surprising, given the number of Turks living in Germany.

    I’ve seen plenty of dairy products with Turkish labels but this week was the first week I’ve found suzme yogurt! I was so excited!


  13. @ Stephanie J: Yes, not surprising at all given the number of Turks in Germany. Glad there are such decent Turkish food sections in the supermarkets, though – and of course, that’s a bonus for you, too. Great news that you found süzme yoghurt. Things are looking up, it seems. 🙂

  14. I lived in Yalikavak, near Bodrum for a few years. I always bought suzme from the pazars. I liked the creaminess too, but, as a nutritionist I know how important whey is to glutathione production and growth hormone, so one day I asked my vendor for the whole yogurt. She told me they fed the whey remaining after straining to their kids and made fat-free cheese from it. This whey cheese is pretty common there. Anyway I got the impression the whey is more like gold to them and they didn’t want to let it go in the form of yogurt, especially if they had kids to feed.

  15. @ Linda: Thanks for this comment. Really interesting. They’ve started to sell low fat süzme yoghurt on the pazar now but we always go for the full fat one because we figure if we’re eating it, it might as well be as near to the original as possible. 🙂 Not sure we’ve ever seen the whey cheese – or maybe we have and just never noticed it.

  16. I am so lucky where I live, I can get almost all of my Turkish favorites in Boston. The only thing I can’t get is the all pistachio baklava that is like a finger and has very thin dough – like only 1 sheet. There are only a couple of Turkish owned markets, but Turkish brands are at many of the Egyptian, Moroccan, Russian, Serbian and Indian markets in the area. I can get yogurt, cheese, butter, everything Tamek, ayran, olives and cherry juice. In spring I can even get little green plums!!(they are the best!)
    There is an Afghan baker who had a Turkish wife who makes a lot of Turkish desserts. Yay Tulumba!!

    • Thanks for your comment Sioux – and great to know there is so much Turkish produce available in your city. Sounds like you’ve got a good international mix there as well as Turkish. Fab! 🙂

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