The half-forgotten traditional flavor of Turkey’s Hatay ‘kurkaz’ revives

Having been included in the list of gastronomic cities by UNESCO, the traditional Hatay dish “kurkaz” is offered to locals and foreign tourists in the historic 250-year-old mansion. The dish, which fell into oblivion in the last century, is reborn from its ashes in Turkey.

Wild yam, which is the main ingredient of the kurkaz dish, is dug out of the ground while growing in humid areas. The roots of this plant are considered of great value in ancient cultures for their healing properties. Attracting attention with its appearance of ginger rather than an ordinary apple, wild yam offers a unique flavor, a combination of past and future.

Raw wild yam, Hatay, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (IHA Photo)

Director of UNESCO Hatay Gastronomy House İpek Aslan said that they offer all the must-have, long-forgotten Hatay dishes to their guests at Hatay Gastronomy House.

UNESCO Hatay Gastronomy House Director İpek Aslan, Hatay, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (IHA Photo)

UNESCO Hatay Gastronomy House Director İpek Aslan, Hatay, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (IHA Photo)

“As the UNESCO House of Hatay Gastronomy, we continue to work to find the forgotten dishes. Kurkaz, known as yams, is one of them. We continue to serve all these dishes for seven days in our 250-year-old historic mansion. We have completed our third year in our house of gastronomy, where local and foreign tourists can find all the specialties of the region. Throughout the process, we have added more than 400 dishes to our menu she told the Ihlas News Agency (IHA) reporter.

UNESCO Hatay Gastronomy House Chef Süleyman Demirel, Hatay, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (IHA Photo)

UNESCO Hatay Gastronomy House Chef Süleyman Demirel, Hatay, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (IHA Photo)

Highlighting that she carries on a tradition through “kurkaz”, which has an ancient history, Hatay Gastronomy House chef Süleyman Demirel gave some tips from his local secret recipe. “It can be made with olive oil and meat. We fry the onions with butter, we add the meat after it is well roasted. Then we add the tomato paste and the wild yams peeled. You can use spices if you wish. Serve it after leaving it to boil for a few minutes.” he said.

Sabah’s daily newsletter

Keep up to date with what is happening in Turkey, in its region and in the world.


You can unsubscribe anytime. By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sharon P. Juarez