Cook traditional savory and sweet Turkish dishes lahmacun and künefe at home with Chef Metin Süerkan

Join Metin Süerkan, classically trained chef and founder of Turkey’s cultural tourism company Brand Travel, for a virtual cooking class exploring two of Turkey’s traditional delicacies: lahmacun and künefe.

Chef Metin Süerkan
06/08/2020

The chef will start with the savoury lahmacun, known as “Turkish pizza,” demonstrating how to make dough from scratch, along with a filling of onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and spices, before baking it to perfection. Then, he’ll show the world that künefe can be made at home using everyday ingredients, including shredded filo pastry, sugar, butter, and pistachios.

 

Turkish food is savoured across the world, and few chefs are as talented at cooking Turkey’s traditional cuisine as Chef Metin Süerkan. The classically trained chef, founder of the cultural tourism company Brand Travel and Q Life Magazine’s culinary photoshoot coordinator, has an unrivaled repertoire of cooking skills and a worldly perspective. Now, he’s sharing his expertise in a virtual cooking class where he’ll explain how to cook two beloved national dishes: lahmacun, known as “Turkish pizza,” and the classic dessert künefe. While these dishes may appear complex at first glance, by the time the lesson ends, the chef will demystify how home cooks can approach each one with style and flair. 

 

The history of lahmacun spans 5,000 years, going back to the ancient Babylonians. Now deeply embedded in Turkish culinary culture, with regional versions across the country in cities like Gaziantep and Adana, Turkish pizza is frequently sold by street vendors. Yet it also appears on fine-dining restaurant menus, making it one of Turkey’s most versatile foods. Süerkan will showcase one of his favourite versions, which highlights onion, peppers, and garlic with tomatoes, herbs, and spices.

 

For dessert, künefe and its crispy texture can’t be beat. Believed to have originated in the city of Hatay, this unique dish features the textural harmonies of the crisped Turkish string cheese known as dil, shredded filo dough, sherbet, and rich pistachios. Künefe is typically viewed more as a restaurant recipe because of its supposed difficulty, but chef Süerkan is out to prove it can be made at home using everyday ingredients, along with optional extras that can be added according to personal taste to make it extra special.

 

Watch the demonstration below and use the accompanying recipes to follow along:

 

 

Lahmacun Recipe

 

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Download recipe:  Priceless Cookbook - Chef Metin Süerkan's Lahmacun


Ingredients:

 

  • 100 grams medium-fat minced beef 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon pepper paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper or isot pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 dessertspoon salt
  • Optional arugula, pepper, sumac, lemon, and parsley

 

Directions:

 

1. Preheat oven to 250-280 degrees C.

 

2. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and water in a large bowl and knead it into dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest. 

 

3. Finely chop the onions, garlic, peppers, parsley, and tomatoes and put them in a bowl (alternatively, use a food processor to chop them). Add the tomato paste, pepper paste, ground red pepper, black pepper, and isot and mix well. 

 

4. Adjust the level of heat to your taste. Add the minced beef and mix well.

 

5. Sprinkle flour on the counter where you will roll out the dough. Divide the dough into equal pieces. Roll it very thin, round or long, and add the filling mix. 

 

6. Spread the filling so there’s a small gap at the edges of the dough for the crust. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 4-5 minutes until the dough is crispy.

 

 

Künefe Recipe

 

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Download recipe:  Priceless Cookbook - Chef Metin Süerkan's Kunefe


Ingredients:

 

  • 200 grams wire kadayıf (thin, shredded pieces of filo dough, kataifi)
  • 100 grams butter
  • 200 grams Turkish string cheese or dil
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3-4 drops lemon juice
  • Pistachios and cream

 

Recipe:

 

1. Prepare the sherbet by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan and boiling it until the sugar dissolves. 

 

2. Immediately add the lemon juice after boiling and continue to boil for another 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.


3. Melt half the butter in a pan and set aside. 

 

4. Separate the wire kadayıf into a pot as much as possible. Immediately pour the melted butter on it and mix the kadayıf thoroughly.

 

5. Add half the remaining melted butter to a Teflon or copper pan. Set the heat to low and put half the wire kadayıf into the pan. Press it thoroughly by hand, then crush the cheese on top and distribute it so that it does not overflow at the edges. 

 

6. Cook for a few minutes, shake the pan regularly, and make sure it does not stick and burn. Remove the künefe into another pan or a plate slightly larger than the pan. Add the remaining butter to the first pan, and place the künefe back into the pan with its uncooked side down. Cook this side on low heat for another 8 to 10 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan so that it does not stick. 

 

7. To serve, put the künefe on a plate and pour the syrup on top. Add pistachios and cream or ice cream, and enjoy.