Kurdish cuisine includes a variety of regional cooking styles and culinary specialties of the Kurds in an area that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the northeastern Persian Gulf. It is based on an ancient tradition and is influenced by the neighboring cultures.
Geographically, the territory of Kurdistan lies in parts of Anatolia and Mesopotamia and was formerly known as the “granary of the Middle East”. Thanks to the largeness of Kurdish settlements and plant diversity; large variety of vegetables, meat and cereals can be cooked and eaten. As many Kurds earn their livehood from agriculture, dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt are also staple foods.
The breakfast usually consists of traditional Kurdish bread, olive, various cheeses and tahini with date or grape syrup. At breakfast, eggs are also popular: cooked, fried or scrambled. At the same time, black tea or buttermilk (dew or mastow) is drunken. Butter with honey is another popular component of breakfast.
The lunch usually consists of soup, vegetable (mostly tomato, pepper and eggplant) based slops and bread.
For dinner, middle and upper class Kurds prefer meat-based diet. Traditionally, pickle is more popular than salad. After dinner, various kinds of sweets are eaten.
Rice and wheat
Rice is one of the staple foods in Kurdistan. Furthermore, cooked bulgur is consumed with side dishes such as meat or vegetables. Both bulgur and rice are often formed into balls and filled, especially with minced meat, almonds, herbs and other spices. A well-known example of this is the Kibbeh. This can be prepared with both rice and bulgur. The Kurdish variant of Biryani is often prepared at Newroz.
Meat and Fish
Lamb, beef and poultry are the main types of meat eaten in Kurdistan. Among the others, chicken is the most common one; but goose, partridge, turkey and duck are also often eaten. Rabbit, roe and goat meat are also popular Kurdish meats. Raw meat, except Ecîn which is known as Çiğ Köfte, are rather unpopular. Top consumed fish spacies are Darex (known as Tarek or scientifically Alburnus tarichi) and Euphrates trout (scientific name: Salmo euphrataeus). Many Kurds also like to grill, various dishes such as chicken or minced meat skewers (kebabs).
Vegetables are often filled (eg stuffed peppers or stuffed eggplants), cooked, grilled or served as a side dish. Potatoes, peas, beans, eggplant, zucchini, tomato, green beans, cucumbers, olives, peppers or okra are the most common. Roasted onions are often served with meat dishes and processed in many dishes.
Spices and Herbs
Most preferred spices are chilli powder (îsot), sumac, black pepper and coriander. Among the herbs; parsley, lettuce, basil and cress are popular.
Dairy products are widely used in traditional livestock farming areas. In addition to various cheeses, including cottage cheese, feta cheese or sheep’s cheese, there are various types of yoghurt or buttermilk-like products such as dew (or mastaw), which is often drunk for eating.
- Amed braided cheese
- Wan herbed cheese
- Kars kasseri
In Kurdistan, there are various types of bread, especially white bread and Naan made from leavened dough.
- Lavash (Nanê Loş)
- Rye Bread (Nanê tarîganê)
- Yufka (Nanê tîr)
- Nanê Tenûr
- Simit (Kilorîk)
- Bastiq (Pestil)
- Eşûran (Ashura)
- Helaw (Halva)
- Kulîçe (Kurdish cake)
- Loqme or Bamik (Lokma)
- Paklawa (Baklava)
- Şilikî (Kurdish Crepe)
- Şîrîna kûçe
- Xoşav (Compote)
- Kurdish coffee (Qehweya Kezwanê or Kafêya Kurdî)
- Ava Sûsê
- Gulav (Rose Water)
- Kishmish av (Raisin drink)