Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mısır Çarşı

SpiceMarket-MisirCarsisi-IstanbulImage via WikipediaThe Mısır Çarşı, aka Egyptian or Spice Market, of Istanbul is a great place for someone who loves to bake or cook. Since it's the season of eating (My friend Anne's definition of the holidays), I thought we'd take a tour.

The Turkish spice trade calls the market home and in days past, ships from Egypt (hence the name "Egyptian Market") and various other ports of call stopped here with their goods. Istanbul was central to the Spice Routes and the Silk Routes. When the Ottomans boycotted your country, there was no pepper for your roast, no silk for your wife's new dress. Forget about tea and coffee. Hence the Age of Exploration, Columbus and *ahem* the New World.

But back to baking...the halls of the market are full of yummy things besides spices, like teas, dried Turkish apricots and pistachios or Turkish Delight. Perfume oils and inscense are down at the end of the L shaped building and tobaccos (flavored and not) are in there somewhere too, if you need some for your pipe or Narghile.The Mısır Çarşı is much smaller than it's cousin, the Grand Bazaar, but a delight for your sense of smell you shouldn't miss.

Note: US Customs doesn't allow entry of food or'll have to eat it all in Istanbul.
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Here's a pretty good tourist video of the market. They start outside at the Eminonu market stalls, then have tea with narghile at a café and end up at the Sarnic restaurant (inside an ancient cistern). It's a decent way to spend 5 minutes in Istanbul today!


Avo said...

Hey there! Spice markets are awesome!
Isn't that the rolled variety of baklava I spy in that picture? Looks like it... I've made some myself quite a few times- well, tasty bastardized spin-offs at any rate.
I was wondering if you have any insights about this delicious calorie bomb?

Jules said...

I love my spices! Helps cut down on the salt, which bad hearts need, less salt :)

Have a good one :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Avo said...

@Jules: just a passing thought, have you tried sumac? Super common in middle-eastern cooking. Yummifies meat or fish dishes splendidly... It's good in several places where one would use salt.
It has a slightly tart/astringent taste that brings out flavor.
You may have come across it without knowing it, it's often used to finish a plate of hummus.
Cheers. : j

LTM said...

wow! I love that picture. It's so cool... thank goodness for Colombus! Must have my coffee.

Now do you make any Turkish delights for Christmas??? :o) <3

Carolyn Abiad said...

Haha! Guess I have my post for next Friday! Turkish baklava. (Tomorrow's post is about the Ataturk Flower.)

@Alesa - I only make the walnut kind, because unsalted & shelled pistachios are hard to come by here in the states. I've never made the roll either, just the regular "baklava" shaped ones. I suppose you just roll the layers? I'll see if I can find a method someplace.

Avo said...

Yep that's exactly how it's done.

Try using pecans... And replacing part or all the simple syrup or honey with maple syrup. Then use good french butter, or use what is billed as "Irish butter" in US stores. Guaranteed success!

Or for a lighter version, I have friend who uses brushed peanut oil... It's good too, and definitely lighter, but... Shrug.
If you want to diet you shouldn't be making baklava, right? : j

In some parts of the world they use peanuts... Because both walnuts and pistachios are too expensive... The result is interesting. Not my fav, but quite tasty.

Old Kitty said...

How does one pronounce Misir Carsi?!!? How lovely and exotic and so historical!!! It would be a shame not to eat everything bought in this wonderful market then and there!

I'll watch the clip when I'm at home!

Take care

Ayak said...

It's on my list of "must visit places"...hmm wonderful.

Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like an amazing place!

Hart Johnson said...

I'm not much of a foody, but that STILL looks fabulous to me. I love big markets like that, and I do love spicy stuff. So interesting on the politics of exploration. I know I'd heard that, but you don't think about it much--that the trade of rich men drove the exploring.


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