A raft of recent cookery book releases are touting Turkish food as the latest ‘now’ food. And according to supermarket chain Waitrose, sales of Turkish ingredients are on the rise.
Waitrose executive chef Jonathan Moore said: “While 2013 was the year of Ottolenghi, customers are now branching out to other Middle-Eastern inspired cuisines – and Turkish food is the latest trend to inspire our shoppers. With such a vast range of influences, it allows us to bring exciting new dishes and ingredients to our customers and, judging by the sales stats, they’re continuing to really embrace these new flavours.”
The grocery multiple notes that sales of rosewater – which is used in Turkish delight and can be added to cakes, ice cream and rice pudding – are up 67%. Sticking with the sweet theme, baklawa – a pastry made from layers of filo filled with chopped nuts, and held together with honey – is one of the fastest growing ranges on the Waitrose patisserie counter with sales up 19%. The most popular flavours include a cashew flake baklawa and pistachio baklawa. Customers also appear to be making their own baklawas at home, with pistachio sales up 146%, almonds up 22% and walnuts up 17%.
One of the key fruits in Turkish cuisine is the pomegranate. Sales of pomegranate molasses – a thick, sour and sticky sauce made by reducing pomegranate juice and often used on chicken dishes – are up 17%. Sales of fresh pomegranates are also up 8%.
Used in North African, Greek, Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine, tahini paste – which is made from ground, hulled sesame seeds and can be served as a dip or as an ingredient of houmous – is proving popular, with sales up 9%.
Meanwhile, bulgur wheat and red lentils – which are key ingredients in Turkish salads and soups – are enjoying a lift in sales of 12% and 10% respectively.
Finally, when it comes to meat, sales of essential Waitrose lamb meatballs are up 89% – the central ingredient to the traditional Turkish dish firinda kofte: meatballs baked with potatoes and tomato.