Un kurabiye – Turkish shortbread

These delicious little shortbreads or kurabiye  are easy to make and go so well with a Turkish coffee or cup of tea. I am giving you the basic recipe but I also ( of course) add to that. I add orange or lemon peel and a little orange juice. I have added dry fruit, I especially love cranberries. I have also used a mixture of flour and ground almonds and although nice can be a little crumbly.

Basic Recipe:

  • I cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour ( + 1 teasp baking powder)
  • 2 x 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teasp vanilla essence or alternate flavouring.


  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl
  • Add the butter & vanilla ( I add peel at this point if I am using it)
  • Cream together
  • Slowly sift flour and baking powder in, gently mixing with a wooden spoon.
  • Once combined, take one teasp of dough and shape into a ball.
  • Place on a baking tray with a little space between.
  • Cook in 160 deg C for 15-20 mins until firm yet they remain pale in colour.
  • Dust with icing sugar straight from the oven. let cool and dust again with icing sugar.

I made them some years ago with a Turkish neighbour of mine for her birthday tea. We had spent the afternoon baking and preparing food, there was about 4 or 5 of us ladies and we had a great time. It was summer and hot so after everything was ready we decided to go shower and change. When I returned I found her husband and brother sat in the salon looking quite woebegone. Ayse, my friend was really giving them a telling off, then I saw why; both had white moustaches! Yep they had been eating the kurabiye and the icing sugar had coated their real moustaches, they looked so funny.

Now the Turkish people don’t often make variations as the basic recipe is so delicious but I cannot help myself and the feedback I have had from family and Turkish friends has been very positive. In fact feeling nostaglic for a taste of  orange un kurabiye, so i am off to make myself some.

Afiyet olsun



Tavuk sote or ‘Chicken Pan’

A delicious Turkish chicken ( or any meat) saute, a taste of the Med
Tavuk Sote or chicken saute

I was visiting with my daughter last week and she asked me to make her favourite dish from Turkey. Now this meal is popular in the tourist Turkish restaurants but is also made in the homes. It actually just a saute using either chicken or lamb and occasionally steak. Sometimes a combination of all three, and if I am making in the UK  I even add some pork but mainly my family prefer chicken. I think what makes it special for my daughter is it evokes great memories of holidays spent in Alanya Turkey and eating with friends in restaurants; smelling it cooking is evocative she says of hot nights and raki!

The ingredients for this ‘Turkish pan’ as she calls it is;

1 kilo of meat chopped into bite sized cubes,

2 onions, red peppers, mushrooms ( chopped and sliced to your preferences but not overly large pieces)

Tomato paste and chopped tomatoes (tinned or fresh)

Garlic ( 2-3 cloves depending on preference) sliced not pressed

Oregano; chili pepper, salt and black pepper.

Olive oil

I fry the onions, peppers for a few minutes in the olive oil, then add whichever meat I am using.

Once the meat is brown I turn down the heat and add in the garlic and seasoning seasoning -again this is preferences. I use about 2 teaspoon of dried oregano and a good handful if fresh. The chili depends on how hot you want it to be and how good your chili powder is – I do not like overly hot so use 1 teaspoon. Mix in well and add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, followed by the chopped tomatoes, add enough water to cover (the tomato paste thickens it). I add the mushrooms at this stage if I am using them.

Leave to cook for about 20 mins until the meat is ready and the sauce has thickened.

I normally make in the morning for the evening meal as I like the saute to stand and flavours to develop but can be eaten straight away. Serve with rice and a crisp green salad and fresh crusty bread. Some tzatziki dip adds to the meal.

I have a special saute pan I bought over from Turkey, it is like a wok but much flatter and just perfect for cooking this meal, not sure if it can be bought in the UK, if anyone knows where one can be bought maybe they can let me know