Saturday, November 12, 2011


My grandfather, the esteemed Memli Seven, is infamous among those close to him for being difficult to please. I’d say that for his whole life, whenever the discussion turns to food he actually enjoys eating, he becomes extremely finicky. So maybe you can guess how huge a step it was for me, but in the quest to give life to Kurdish cuisine, I had to pass a most difficult test.

Two weeks ago, we gathered over a meal of that quintessential Kurdish dish, keşke. I had gotten the recipe first from my mother and then my aunt, adding a few of my own flourishes. Dede was also over that evening for dinner. He devoured the first bites without comment or expression--and also, without cease. Then he said, ‘I want this, too.’ In other words, I would be allowed to come to his house and prepare it for him! As almost an afterthought, he said ‘It’s delicious!’

I nearly fell out of my chair.

I repeated the recipe this afternoon, taking careful measurements to make sure of everything, and decided to put it up on my blog. So here it is, the apparently miracle-working recipe for keşke.  

Keşke (Keshke)

Ingredients (serves 3)
·         1 cup bulgur wheat (200 g)
·         2 cups slightly plain sour yoghurt (400 g)
·         3 cups water (600 ml)
·         2 tablespoons wheat flour (40 g)
·         1 teaspoon salt (10 g)
·         4 tablespoons butter (50 g)
1. Whisk well the yoghurt, water, salt and flour and pour the mixture into a deep pot.
2.    Add the bulgur wheat and turn on the heat. Cook half-covered over a high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  After a while, the mixture will assume the consistency of a soup and start to boil. Reduce flame to medium and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off the flame, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
4.     Pour the keşke into a wide, deep serving bowl and open a large hole in the middle. Melt the butter and pour it into the hole.  Eat with a spoon, scooping some of the butter together with the keşke..

Note 1: The yoghurt should be slightly sour to soften the effects of the butter. If you are cooking in the West, I would buy a high quality yoghurt from a Greek or Turkish grocery.
Note 2: Dishes made with flour and bulgur stick easily to the bottom of the pot.  Be careful!

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