Turkish cuisine with Chef Osman Cavus
Cavus teaches at the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at Abant Izzet Baysal University in a small but popular town Mengen, known to be the...
Osman Cavus, the charming Turkish chef is not new to Hyderabad. A few months ago, he was in the city conjuring up some amazing delicacies introducing the meat-loving Hyderabadis to the lamb roast, Doner kebab and the fact that Turkey is as much about kebabs and desserts as it is about its vegetables.
"The three important elements of Turkish cuisine are the zeytinyagli, dolmas and kebabs," says Osman Cavus, who was at Sheraton Hyderabad on an invitation from Turkish Consulate. Zeytinyagli is the name given to vegetable dishes where veggies like the beans are cooked until render in olive oil on slow heat. Then there are dolmas, the centuries-old stuffed vegetable dishes – grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts and veggies, dried eggplants and capsicum stuffed with rice or meat. The eggplant and peppers are dried using traditional methods and Cavus always gets them along with him to ensure authenticity. There are dozens of variants in kebabs – including the popular ones like the Doner kebab (from which came the Shawarma), Seesh kebab, kofte, Adana…
However, the chef is never too happy with the lamb meat he gets in Hyderabad. "The meat is not good enough for the kebabs, it does not have enough fat," he laments on his inability to recreate the kebabs well. In Turkey, the lambs are fed with special grass and barley and are monitored to ensure the right quality. "The right way to cut the meat is also important," he adds.
When speaking of the cuisine, one cannot ignore the pilafs and the mezze – the dazzling array of salads and cold dips - a common feature in the Mediterranean region. "There are many varieties of rice that we use in Turkey. And it is important to get the pilaf right," shares the chef, who also specializes in the mezze.
Cumin powder, black pepper, paprika, dry mint and oregano are some of the commonly used spices in the cuisine, however, the flavour of Turkish cuisine is mild, and cheese and butter are also widely used. Turkey is world-famous for its desserts. There is the Baklawa and the rice pudding Sutlac, and then there are the Kemal Pasha, the sweet fried dumplings. "Kemal Pasha is our Gandhi. He is our Father of the Nation. The dish was named after him as it was his favourite," Chef Osman Cavus shares the trivia.
Cavus teaches at the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at Abant Izzet Baysal University in a small but popular town Mengen, known to be the culinary capital of the country owing to the number of chefs trained in the town. He went around Europe with his food, before settling down in a teaching job. He continues to travel the world as the brand ambassador for one of the ancient and rich culinary traditions.