Everything you need to know about Maras ice cream

Maras dondurma is a traditional Turkish mastic ice cream. It typically includes the ingredients cream, whipped cream, salep, mastic, and sugar. The ice cream originates from the city and region of Kahraman Maraş and therefore is known as Maraş ice cream.


According to the legend, the Maras ice cream was discovered by accident whilst the founder was trying to make another type of ice cream dessert called “Karsambaç.” 

What is Karsambaç

Karsambaç is a fruit ice cream made in Maras, Turkey. Traditionally the ice cream would be completed by mixing the snow from the “Ahir” mountain with grape syrup. 

The founder of Maras ice-cream

The founder of Maras ice-cream was a man named Osman Ağa, who used to sell wild orchids (salep) to the Ottoman palace and other noble families. One day Osman buried the remains of saleps and a mixture of milk and sugar in the snow. When checked on his mix the next day, he realized that the blend of milk, sugar, and salep resulted in a dense consistency that stretched like chewing gum. Realizing he had found a unique taste, Osman Ağa started the Maras ice cream tradition.

Maras in winter

What is special about Maraş ice cream?

First and foremost, goat milk! The lack of any artificial additives underlines the naturalness of the Maraş ice cream. Secondly, the traditional Maraş ice cream also contains salep(which is extracted from the tubers of certain terrestrial orchid species) as a binding agent. 

Since certain terrestrial orchids and their derivatives are prohibited worldwide (or are subject to strict regulations), the Maras ice cream could not be imported from Turkey like other Turkish food products. 

Maras ice cream

The lack of salep as a binding agent can be compensated by using conventional binding agents such as guar gum and locust bean gum. In some cases, salep is also replaced by the cheaper tapioca starch.

Where can you find traditional Maras ice cream in Australia?

There are various shops and cafes that specialise in Maras ice cream in Melbourne and Sydney. 

Sydney’s Auburn once was the home to an off-shoot of Turkish Mado, a famous Turkish maras ice cream chain, from late 90s and the early 2000s. Mado had become the go-to-place for everything you’d expect from a cafe in Istanbul; ice cream, baklava, Turkish tea & coffee and even more. However the restaurant shut down after 2010.

Hakiki Turkish Ice Cream in Newtown Sydney

Nev and Zeynep Bagriyanik, decided to bring Maras Ice cream to Australia. They started their small manufacturing plant in Castle Hill and eventually opened Hakiki in Newtown Sydney. Hakiki quickly became a hotspot in the bumbling Newtown dining scene.

Maras Ice cream in Melbourne

Cuppa Turca Dondurma and Desserts is a new ice-creamery in Northcote, Melbourne. Harun Yalcin, a former tour guide in Cappadocia in central Turkey, noticed the gap in the Melbourne Turkish dining scene and started Cupp Turca.

Cuppa Turca combines botanical ingredients with cow and goat’s milk (or coconut milk for a vegan option) and natural flavourings.

Cuppa Turca Dondurma & Desserts is located on 244 High St Northcote VIC.


What is Turkish Delight?

Turkish delight is a staple delicacy. From the Turkish delight flavoured Cadbury chocolate bars to little sweet-smelling soft sweets from The Chronicles of Narnia, you can see Turkish delight in all parts of our everyday life.

Turkish delight in The Chronicles of Narnia

How did Turkish delight come to be known as such worldwide? Put all puns and semantics aside, the real story of Turkish delight reveals a fascinating story about how this simple but adorable recipe managed to win hearts and those with a sweet tooth around the world.

First of all, let’s explore “the legend of the Turkish delight.”

The legend of the Turkish delight

There are several stories about the history of Turkish delight. The most popular and one of the most mythical beings was an Ottoman sultan angrily calling his Şekercibaşı (chief pastry chef) in the imperial kitchens at Topkapi Palace. The Sultan then orders him to prepare a sweet delicacy that soothes the throat and ensures it is not too hard on his tooth. He previously chipped his tooth on candy. But this report and the less certain information of another sultan, who carried Turkish delights with them to woo the ladies.

The imperial hall in the Topkapi Palace

As fun as imagining the Sultan grilling his kitchen staff over candy or wooing potential lovers with candy, these contradicting accounts are far from the truth due to the lack of documented historical accounts and widely controversial and considered a myth among Turkish historians.

However, the delicacy has been around for centuries. The mastery of getting just the right viscous consistency has been passed down from generation to generation – not to mention maintaining traditional recipes, ingredients, and methods, as well as increasing sophistication with well over 100 different flavors. This time everything is documented.

The real Turkish delight

The oldest and best-documented account of Turkish delight traces back to an Anatolian man named Bekir Efendi, later titled Hacı Bekir, after fulfilling his pilgrimage duties. Hacı Bekir emigrated to Istanbul to found his now-legendary pastry shop in 1777, which is still in the Bahçekapı district today. In fact, this very first shop owned by Haci Bekir and himself, who served an Ottoman mother with their two young children, was the subject of a watercolor painting by Amadeo Preziosi, a Maltese painter best known for his paintings of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans in the 18th and 19th centuries. The picture is currently on display in the Louvre in Paris.

A Turkish delight merchant in Istanbul

Hacı Bekir’s soft and fragrant Turkish delights quickly became popular with the locals, and it wasn’t long before the news reached the palace. He was soon appointed Şekercibaşı (Chef pâtissier) of the Imperial Kitchen of the Topkapı Palace, which hosted daily feasts for the palace’s residents, including the royal family and prominent diplomats of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. Since then, Hacı Bekir’s Turkish gourmet recipe has received countless awards at home and abroad in Europe, which has been decorating the walls of its shop for almost 300 years, along with branding inspired by the Ottoman Baroque.

Lokum “Turkish Delight” in Europe

Turkish delight is known among Turks and many Middle Eastern cultures as lokum ( from the Arabic influenced Ottoman Turkish word rahatü’l-hulkum means “soothes the throat or comforts the throat”).

With the influx of European travelers to the exotic land of the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century, travelers were led to Lokum in Istanbul and brought boxes of delicacies. However, the term Turkish Delight was coined by the British merchants who first imported the little bits of sugar-dusted soft candy on the shores of Britain as their fame grew. Ultimately, Lokum found its way into the handkerchiefs of the European elite as a rare, expensive delicacy that could be enjoyed and only made available to the right people.

This is how Turkish delight made its way into popular Western literature in the 1800s and appeared in many diaries kept by those fortunate enough to stumble upon these “lumps of joy.” In fact, much earlier than the popular CS Lewis novel, The Chronicles of Narnia in Edwin Drood’s book The Secret of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens referred to Turkish  Delights as Rosa Bud, Edwin mentions a shop called “Lumps of Delights” where he “has a Turkish Bonbon, sir” works out.

What’s in a Turkish delight?

The basic ingredients of Turkish delight are corn starchpowdered sugar, and various oils and flavors, along with any dried fruit or nuts, depending on your taste. Most modern iterations have also used gelatin as a setting agent. You can find numerous recipes that recommend its use. This is almost blasphemous for any artisan who wants to create authentic Turkish delights traditionally. You can only get the perfect texture using this traditional method, resulting in a gradually melting Turkish delight as it settles towards the throat and slowly releases a heavenly blend of flavors from the oils and fruits.

How is Turkish delight made?

The secret of Turkish delicacies lies in the laborious process of slowly cooking cornstarch and sugar syrup over low heat for several hours. This results in dense jelly-like sticky bits of flavored candy. The soft jelly mixture is then cut into small cubes and dusted with powdered sugar. To achieve the perfect crossover, you need that special Turkish recipe that was reported by a French traveler who has witnessed how it was prepared in the imperial kitchen.

Flavors of Turkish delicacies

A whole range of flavors is now available. The most traditional and oldest are Turkish delicacies with rose water and orange blossom water flavor. The Turks can coat themselves with crushed nuts. The most popular are roasted pistachios, hazelnuts, and coconut flakes, which are added to the mixture and rolled layer by layer for a sushi-like presentation.

Flavours of Turkish delights

There are well over a hundred varieties and combinations of Turkish indulgence (possibly even more, including limited editions or seasonal flavors, mainly made during the months of Ramadan). The most popular flavors of Turkish delicacies are rose, lemon, orange, pomegranate, mint, mastic pistachio, hazelnut, walnut, and cream. More recently, chocolate-covered Turkish delicacies, as well as other exotic flavors such as coffee, have also gained popularity.

How to best enjoy Turkish delight

Turkish Delight in Turkey is primarily consumed in moderation and on special occasions, as is the custom of making Turkish delight a joyful experience such as the birth of a newborn baby, friend, and family during the festive months of Ramadan.

Turkish coffee with Turkish delight

However, having Turkish coffee is also an occasion for the Turks, and that is an occasion that is often associated with a luxurious Turkish treat. Turkish coffee is usually served with a cube or two of double-roasted pistachio delights at most farms and households. It is common to take Lokum before and after coffee and to clean the palette with water every time.


Roasted banana peppers with tahini meze

Just as every recipe with paprika is wonderfully delicious, this recipe is perfect. It is so delicious that you will say I wish I had more, you will not be able to get enough of the meal. An appetizer that is easy to prepare comes to your table. Introducing: Banana pepper appetizer with tahini and embers!

This appetizer, accompanied by the wonderful smell of roasted peppers, cheese and walnuts, almost plays to the top with the tahini you sprinkle on it. You can add different greens to it if you wish. It will be one of your favorite appetizer recipes! 

Ingredients for Roasted banana peppers with Tahini meze

6 banana peppers
5 walnuts
30 grams of feta cheese
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of pomegranate syrup
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pinch of parsley
2 tablespoons of tahini

Step by step instructions for Roasted banana peppers with Tahini meze

Wash the peppers and place them on a baking tray, on which you laid greaseproof paper, after making a hole with a knife.

Roast in a preheated 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Peel the roasted peppers and chop finely and put in a bowl.

Add crushed feta cheese, crushed garlic, chopped walnut kernels, finely chopped parsley, olive oil, pomegranate syrup and vinegar.

After adding the salt, mix the peppers well. Put the peppers on a serving platter and sprinkle tahini over it and serve.



Walnut & pepper meze recipe

Walnut & pepper meze is one of our favorite dishes with its simplicity, practicality and taste. This delicious flavor-bomb, which you can consume as a kind of side dish or salad, is so delicious and satisfying that it can be used as a main dish for those looking for a light meal.

It is not easy to find a recipe which involves and takes so little. Walnut & pepper meze takes only about 15 minutes to make.

Ingredients for Walnut & pepper meze

500 grams of pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tea glass of olive oil
2 tablespoons of walnut kernels (coarsely ground)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1.5 cups of yoghurt
1 teaspoon of salt
1 wipe teaspoon ground chili or paprika
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Step by step – how to make Walnut & pepper meze

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.

Coarsely chop the banana peppers and remove their seeds.

Pour the olive oil in a deep pan and first cook the chopped garlic pieces. Once the aroma of the cooked garlic comes out, add the chopped peppers and fry for 5 minutes together.

Once the peppers are sufficiently cooked, add the walnut pieces and the spices. Add some water, close the lid and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the peppers absorb the water.

Turn off the heat, add vinegar and mix it. Once it cools down, add some yoghurt and decorate with walnuts.



How to make menemen eggs

Menemen is a traditional Turkish dish which includes eggs, tomato, green peppers, and spices such as ground black and red pepper cooked in olive oil. Cheese, and other charcuterie products such as sucuk or pastırma may also be added. Here is our menemen recipe.

Mixing peppers, tomatoes and eggs

Ingredients for Menemen eggs

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 banana peppers (after cleaning the stem and seeds, finely chopped)
  • 3 medium size tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Optional: a few slices of cheese

Instructions for making Menemen eggs

Pour the olive oil in your pan.

Add the peppers to the pan and fry them until the peppers change color.

Add the finely chopped tomatoes.

Close the lid of the pan on the low stove and wait for the tomatoes to cook well.

Once the tomatoes are cooked you can add the eggs.

You can whisk the eggs in a separate bowl while the tomatoes are cooing and add them, or you can break the eggs directly into the pan and mix them in the pan.

Add salt and wait until the eggs are cooked.

You can also add cheese after adding eggs.

Serve menemen hot.


Legendary recipes with Banana peppers

Banana peppers are the cornerstone of many traditional Turkish dishes.

Looks like the chili but milder in taste, this is a vegetable that adds irreplaceable flavor to dishes. 

With its crunchy texture, it also goes well with salads. 

Here are three recipes you can use with Banana peppers



7 things you should know about the quintessential Turkish barbeque Ocakbasi

At the heart of any Turkish community anywhere in the world is an unquenchable love of the grill. Like Aussies, Americans or Latin Americans, Turks love their BBQs. As well as grilling food outside, Turks also have a very specific type of charcoal barbeque called Ocakbasi.

Ocakbasi literally translates to ‘fireside’ or ‘by the grill’ and Ocakbasi restaurants typically have one large hooded charcoal barbeques in the center of the restaurant. Small tables filled with customers surround this massive central barbeque giving the patrons opportunity to enjoy their drinks, conversate while watching their kebabs cook.

Ocakbasi is a tradition that goes all the way back to ancient times of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. From the ancient times, where horse-riding Turkic raiders gathering around the fire at their camps in the steppes of Central-Asia to Hun fighters or Ottoman raiders gathering around fire, watching shish kebabs cooking at their mobile camp fire in the middle of some forest in Central-Europe; Turks loved enjoy gathering around the fire, conversate and sip their drinks whilst watching meat cook.

During weddings and celebrations, there is always a cohort of folks, more interested in the lambs or something large, a camel rotating on spit, cooked for the guests than the celebration itself. The Ocakbasi is the celebration!

1. The commercial Ocakbasi first emerged in the late Ottoman period

During 19th century, commercial Ocakbasi restaurants were available in the Ottoman cities like Adana, Hatay and Gaziantep as well as Kirkuk (in Iraq) or Aleppo (in Syria).

2. Real estate prices helped kick start the commercial Ocakbasi

A catalyst to commercial Ocakbasi was rising real estate prices. The restauranteurs who couldn’t afford large spaces to fit in kitchen, oven, grill Iman Rajab Bachaand seating space adapted the current Ocakbasi design. They up their grill, lined chairs around it and sold their kebabs in this way. This has led to the creation of an industry where people gather around a stove and eat their meals without tables and kitchens.

3. Industrialization spread the Ocakbasi culture

The rapid industrialization in Repulican Turkey affected the social fabric of Anatolian towns. Many local craftsmen had to move to bigger cities. Many kebab masters from Adana, moved to Istanbul which helped introduce Ocakbasi reach a wider audience.

4. Ocakbasi has become a social forum in time

Although lack of space was the catalyst for Ocakbasi, sitting and eating in this tight space by the same fire has made it a place for socializing over time. The tight space and sharing the meal, made Ocakbasi the ideal place for the most intimate conversations.

5. Enter alcohol

Whilst the early kebab masters served turnip juice or ayran with the kebab; over time Alcoholic drinks took over as the ideal companion to kebabs. Along with alcohol, meze appetizers were added to the Ocakbasi culture as well.

6. Ocakbasi is for all socio-economic backgrounds

Whether you want to experience Ocakbasi at a shabby or a luxurious venue; the setup is more or less the same. The price is different but the layout, the food and the spirit remains the same.

7. The rise of self-service

With personalization becoming a staple of every service or product that is offered; Ocakbasi culture too got affected. There are many venues where you can personally pick your own selection of meats, put your own shish kebabs or other goodies on the barbeque and take it to your own table around the fire to share with your mates. Imagine the Aussie BBQ, in a commercial space in the city centre where you and your mates grab your choice of your meat, cook it together and share it around the fire.


Balik-Ekmek, Istanbul’s favorite street food.

Istanbul’s Eminönü district is home to many historical landmarks. The Spice Bazaar, Yeni Mosque, Gulhane Park and the Basilica Cistern are among the places frequented by local and foreign tourists.
There is another point of attraction Eminönü hosts; the balik ekmek (fish and bread) boats on the pier.
Balik-ekmek, an Istanbul snack that is fondly loved by people from all walks of life, has been made and sold from these boats since the early years of the Republic.
Balik ekmek vendors
Balik-ekmek boats used to roam around Galata Bridge earlier in the 20th century. The city council decided there were commercial and legal problems with this setup and gave a few major boat operators license to open stall permanently on the shore, provided they moved from Galata Bridge to Eminönü pier.
Although the location of the boats has changed, the taste they offer and the interest they receive have never changed.
Fishing in Istanbul 
Balik-ekmek sales continue on these custom-made boats, which are completely decorated with wooden and handmade carvings, thus creating a nostalgic atmosphere for their customers.
It is a must-do for those visiting Istanbul to snack Balik-ekmek and of course take selfies at these Balik-ekmek boats.
The Balik-ekmek boats, still attract great attention from visitors at all hours of the day. They open their stalls at 9 am. Sales continue until late in the evening.

Baklava recipe

Different parts of Turkey use different nuts for home-made Baklava; pistachio is used in the South-east, hazelnut is used in the Black-sea region,wallnut is used in central Anatolia,almond is used in the Aegean west, and sesame would be used in the Thrace. Sometimes baklava is served with thickened cream (kaymak).

Ingredients for Baklava

  • 3/4 Pound Butter (3 Quarter-Pound Sticks) Cut Into 1/4.Inch Bits
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 40 Sheets File Pastry;
  • Each About 16 inches Long And 12 Inches Wide; Thoroughly Defrosted If Frozen
  • 4 Cups Shelled Pistachio Pulverized In A Blender Or With A Nut Grinder

Step by step – how to make baklava

Melt the butter slowly over low heat without letting it get brown; skimming off the foam as it rises to the surface. Remove the pan from the heat; let it rest for 2 or 3 minutes; then spoon off the clear butter and discard the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degree and stir the vegetable oil into the clarified butter. Using a pastry brush coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-by-2 1/2inch baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of the mixture.

Fold a sheet of filo in half crosswise; lift it up gently and unfold it into the prepared dish. Press the pastry flat; fold down the excess around the sides and flatten it against the bottom. Brush the entire surface of the pastry lightly with the butter and oil mixture; and lay another sheet of filo on top; folding it down and buttering it in similar fashion. Sprinkle the pastry evenly with about 3 tablespoons of pistachio.

Repeat the same procedure using two sheets of buttered file and 3 tablespoons of the pulverized pistachio each time to make 19 layers in all. Spread remaining 2 sheets of filo on top and brush the baklava with all of the remaining butter and oil mixture.

With a small; sharp knife score the top of the pastry with parallel diagonal lines about 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart; then cross them diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degree and bake for 45 minutes longer; or until the top is crisp and golden brown.

Recipe for the Baklava Syrup

Ingredients for the Baklava Syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Step by step – how to make baklava syrup

Combine the sugar; water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and; stirring constantly; cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and; timing it from the moment the syrup boils; cook briskly; uncovered; for about 5 minutes; or until the syrup reaches a temperature of 220 degree on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey. Pour the syrup into a bowl or pitcher and set it aside.

When the baklava is done; remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over it. Cool to room temperature; and just before serving; cut the baklava into diamond-shaped serving pieces

Afiyet olsun !


Australia’s best Turkish delight recipe

I have been trying to make Turkish delight for two weeks and have used approximately 5 kilograms of sugar in coming up with this recipe. When you don’t boil the mixture well enough, the Turkish delight doesn’t turn up firm enough, when you boil it too much, the mixture turns out too hard.

Turkish delight with hazelnut

Another important factor is the cooker you use. The timings given below are for gas cookers, it might take longer to cook Turkish delight on electric cookers.

So, don’t be discouraged in trying your skills, give the recipe a go. Enjoy !

The ingredients for making Turkish delight 

  • 1 kg white sugar
  • 4 cups of water ( 1 cup = 350 ml )
  • 90 gr starch (corn or wheat)
  • 1 tea spoon cream of tartar
  • Another cup of water
  • hazelnuts, walnuts, shredded coconut
  • 2 spoons of rose water
  • additional coloring and flavour of your choice
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 cup of additional starch

Turkish delight is also popular in Europe, Balkans and the middle-east

Step by step – how to make Turkish delight

Boil 4 cups of water with sugar. Ensure the mixture stays on fire until the sugar melts properly. Once the mixture (syrup) reaches boiling point, keep the mixture on medium heat for another hour.

Mix starch with 1 cup of water in a deep mixing bowl

Get rid of the foam on your syrup. Add 2 cups of your warm syrup into your starch-water mixture to ensure your starch-water mixture warms up a little bit.

Add your starch-water back into your syrup and cook it again on high until it boils. Once it reaches the boiling temperature, bring the heat to minimal and further cook your syrup for 70 minutes (1 hour and 10 minutes).If you have a sugar thermometer, you can check the temperature of your mixture after cooking it for an hour. For best results, make sure it reaches 113 Celsius. If you would like to use the rose-flavour, you must add the rose water in the last 10 minutes. Ensure you give the mixture a good stirring every now and then with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture sticking to the base of the pan

Once the mixture turns golden and thickens, add your desired food coloring, aroma, hazelnuts and walnuts.

Prepare a hosting tray for your mixture. Make sure the base of the tray (or pan) is covered with a very thin layer of butter (or canola oil) and cover the base of your tray with cooking (parchment) paper. Spray some oil on your paper as well.

Pour your mixture into your tray. Sprinkle the additional 1/2 cup of starch onto your mixture and leave it to cool down place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until firm. Leave it for 24 hours for best result.

Once you’ve done all these, mix 2 cups of icing sugar with 1/2 cup of starch. Sprinkle some flour and starch on a cutting board. Roll your (now thickened) mixture on the cutting board and then slice it into cubes.

Pour the icing sugar-starch mixture in another tray and put your cubes into this second tray. Let it wait for another 24 hours.

You should end up having approximately 100 cubes of Turkish delight!

Afiyet olsun !