Turlu (Tirşik): Turkish vegetable stew

turlu recipe Turkish vegetable stew

You know those recipes that make you wonder what's so special about them? No special ingredients, no special approach - why should you love it so much? Well, often the simplest things are also the best (maybe sometimes, not often...sarma, manti, katmer...we mean you). The same goes for today's recipe, which really doesn't need a lot of frills. All you need? Delicious vegetables. Please read on anyway!


Simply good vegetables doesn't sound promising outside of salad recipes. But we mean it! Because today we have Türlü (trull recipe) for you.


What is Turlu?

Türlü means nothing more than "all different kinds of" in Turkish. For example, if the table is set with lots of different dishes, people also say "There are türlü türlü yemekler", meaning all kinds of dishes. Or a shopping center with türlü türlü stores simply contains all kinds of stores. 


In our turlu recipe, it is the vegetables that are "türlü türlü". Because it is quite simply a Turkish stew with all kinds of vegetables. You don't need much more than a little fat, water depending on the vegetables and a really good salca* (paprika and/or tomato paste). 


What is essential for the Turkish vegetable stew?

Ok, "all kinds of vegetables" is very broad. So what absolutely has to go in the turlu recipe? No matter which turlu recipe you use, you will find different types of vegetables in it depending on the region and season. Basically, however, the Turkish vegetable stew is a typical summer dish in Turkey, in which you use the beautifully juicy tomatoes and fresh summer vegetables. However, a few vegetables must be included in the turlu recipe:

  • Eggplants
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • garlic

This is the basis for every Türlü recipe, whether vegetarian or with meat. The following vegetables are also often added to the Türlü:

  • onions
  • green beans
  • fresh okra
  • zucchinis
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • peas

Does a Turlu recipe have to be vegetarian or with meat?

It doesn't have to be... Basically, you can prepare Türlü with meat as well as vegetarian or vegan. However, we would say that Türlü recipes should be vegetarian. If meat is included, it is called "etli türlü", i.e. Türlü with meat. Our Turkish vegetable stew is therefore also vegetarian or actually vegan. 


Türlü vs. tirsik: different turlu recipes

There is one more thing we need to clarify before we start our great and simple Türlü recipe. Are we really cooking Türlü or Tirşik? Tirsik is a türlü-like dish from the south-east of Turkey. It is more or less important that no onions are added to the pot and nothing is fried. Instead, the ingredients are all put together in the pot and cooked - done. It is also important that no water is added and that the liquid comes from the juicy tomatoes alone. 


The "problem" with this? It all sounds very similar to the classic Turkish vegetable stew turlu. To be fair, however, we would say that a tirsik can also pass for a Türlü. However, a Türlü is not a Tirsik per se. For our turlu recipe, we copied a few things from the Tirsik and it turned out really delicious. It's super easy to prepare, full of flavor and an all-round taste experience that should make it onto your plate more often.


Incidentally, you can vary the recipe and, for example:

  • Add meat
  • use butter or sheep's tail fat instead of olive oil
  • chop in fresh herbs
  • experiment with spices

After all, that's the beauty of such a flexible "all sorts" recipe. By the way, it goes well with typical Turkish bread and yoghurt. Afiyet olsun!


Turlu recipe: Turkish vegetable stew


Ingredients (approx. 2 people)

  • 1 eggplant 
  • 1 potato 
  • 1 red pointed pepper 
  • 1 green pointed pepper
  • 1 large carrot 
  • 2 tomatoes
  • a few frozen peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • approx. 200 ml/1 cup water
  • 0.5 tbsp paprika and/or tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a little cumin
  • Dried oregano (better said: Kekik*)
  • Pul Biber* if you like it spicy



Step 1: Peel the potato and carrot and cut them into cubes. Similarly, cut the eggplant and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into slices. Put the vegetables in a pan. Finally, chop the tomatoes and add them to the pot last.

Step 2: Pour the spices and oil over the vegetables. Mix the water with the tomato and/or bell pepper puree in a bowl and pour it into the pot.

Step 3: Allow the door oil to cook over a medium heat with the lid on without stirring. It should be ready after about 20 minutes.

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