Last night after dinner in the Nişantaşı neighborhood of Istanbul, my friends Emre and Karpat took me to a place for coffee and dessert. I pointed to something on the menu I didn’t recognize and they got all excited to order it for me to try, so we did. It came and looked like a kind of pudding, and as I put the first bite in my mouth I thought it was closest to the texture of Japanese mochi that I have had before. Then they asked me to guess what the main ingredient was.
“Rice”, I said, with some certainty. They told me that no, that was not it, and to guess again.
“Gelatin? Some sort of starchy vegetable?” Wrong again.
When they finally told me the correct answer was “chicken breast”, I was pretty surprised and maybe just a touch queasy. The dish is called “Tavuk göğsü“, and it was pretty yummy once I got over the cognitive dissonance of having chicken for dessert.
Turkey has been great all around at challenging culinary assumptions, in fact. Just last week we had a dessert made from whole (shell included) candied walnuts and baby eggplant, and it was likewise delicious.