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Book Review: The Sultan’s Kitchen by Özcan Ozan

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We’ve hit the kitchen to showcase three different Turkish recipes and all three of them have been chosen from the cookery book, The Sultan’s Kitchen – A Turkish Cookbook.

You’ll have to wait one more day to see which recipe we chose to follow for our starter because, as promised, today is all about the book itself.

Welcome to Day 2 of Turkish Food & Recipes Feature Week.

Sultan's Kitchen By Özcan Ozan
Sultan’s Kitchen – lots of tempting photos inside

Review of The Sultan’s Kitchen – by Özcan Ozan

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have wanted this book for some time. So, when our friend very kindly brought it out for us, we were actually a little bit nervous when we opened it.

All that waiting and it could have been in vain…

Well, relief all round because we’ve both poured over the glossy pages, have already made some of the dishes (three of which will be shown this week) and ‘The Sultan’s Kitchen – A Turkish Cookbook’ is already a well-used member of our hefty cookery book collection.

Layout of The Sultan’s Kitchen

Often ignored in other books, the preface and introduction at the beginning of The Sultan’s Kitchen are a good read and make you feel excited to try Özcan Ozan’s Turkish recipes.

They’re filled with tales of how, as a child growing up in the city of Izmir, he used to go to the market with his mother while she taught him to choose the best fruits and vegetables.

His passion for food led to him becoming a chef, and he now has his own Turkish restaurant – The Sultan’s Kitchen – in Boston. Great! We’re learning about Turkish food and recipes from a chef!

After reading the condensed history of Ozan’s life, the reader is then treated to the introduction – a condensed history of Turkish cuisine and its ingredients.

To be honest, we could read a whole book just on this topic but this introduction is a nice little passage to whet the appetite.

Suggested menus for winter and summer follow the introduction along with a little section on sauces and condiments. We like this addition!

And then it’s the recipes – all 143 of them…

Yes, we counted! The recipes are split into sections with a small introduction to each and full-page colour photographs appear on every other page.

Ideally, we would like to see more photography in the book but that’s just us being food-photo-freaks. And here’s the recipe breakdown:

  • 30 Meze recipes (lots of new ones that we’ve never made before – we love Turkish meze)
  • 13 Bread & börek (pastry) recipes (we can’t wait to attempt the bread recipes)
  • 19 Soup recipes (again, new soups that we’ve never made before. This section also has recipes for making your own lamb, beef, chicken, fish and vegetable stocks)
  • 25 Lamb, beef and chicken recipes (our chosen Turkish main meal was taken from this section)
  • 11 Seafood recipes (these days, a lot of the seafood is cheaper than beef and lamb in Turkey so we’re looking forward to getting even more fishy)
  • 9 Pilaf recipes (bulgur wheat and rice recipes. These range from the staples to some more varied ideas of what to do with your rice and bulgur)
  • 13 Salad recipes (Turkish salads are just the best. We’re lucky to have so much fresh produce at the markets to make these salads)
  • 23 Desserts & Drinks recipes (Yes, of course çay and Turkish coffee are included in this section…along with lots of other insanely sugary treats. Don’t show this section to your dentist!)

And what use is a recipe book if you can’t follow the recipes?

We come across that problem with some Turkish cookery books we own, but of the recipes we’ve used so far, we can say we’ve had no problems with The Sultan’s Kitchen.

And we really appreciate the fact that all the recipes have their Turkish, as well as the English, titles.

This might be a personal thing but, for us, there is nothing more annoying than not knowing the correct name for a Turkish dish (but that’s a long rant for another post).

So the book is not just a pretty face, furnishing our bookshelves. It’s practical, too. We’re happy and can’t wait to try more of the recipes!

You can buy The Sultan’s Kitchen from Amazon now!

And, don’t forget, you can find all of our own recipes in our complete Turkish Recipe Index.

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Tuesday 18th of August 2015

I am new here. And allready love your blog. Really inspyring.

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

Glad you like the blog, Rita. Thanks a lot for reading and thanks for your comment, too. :)

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 26th of September 2012

@ A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: I think that's a problem whenever you're writing recipes for a cuisine of a different country.

When we do Turkish recipes on the blog, we're always coming to the hurdle of, "Hmm, I bet people can't get hold of such and such in the UK," or, "This is going to work out really expensive for people in the UK." Hopefully, readers can modify the recipe for their needs, or we suggest alternatives.

We used the thick stems of celeriac instead of celery in our soup recipe. We can actually get celery from the supermarkets in Fethiye - sometimes - but we just refuse to buy supermarket fruit and vegetables unless we're truly desperate. ;)

Claudia Turgut

Wednesday 26th of September 2012

I think I mentioned it the last time you wrote about this book: it looks lovely but I personally don't find his recipes authentic enough eg he uses celery whereas we in Turkey know that celery barely exists. I think he has modified his recipes for his American audiences with ingredients that they are used to.

Ozcan Ozan

Friday 24th of March 2017

Kereviz ( Celery ) you can find in Turkey in winter time and available almost everywhere

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 25th of September 2012

@ Peter M: Would love more Turkish cookery books. The Sultan's Kitchen is proving to be very useful, though. :)

Peter M

Tuesday 25th of September 2012

I brought back a book from Istanbul with a similar focus - Ottoman Palace cuisine but I should get this one too!

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