I was wondering around the city center of Diyarbakir last weekend when I saw a great shopping arcade with many small shops selling various foods special to the region. As a foodie, I almost barged into it without hesitating as everything looked so tempting! The first thing taking my attention was what we call menengic. I searched for its English meaning and found that it is called terebinth berries. These green berries are one of my childhood favorites. We used to snack on them about 20 years ago when chips or crackers were not that common. My grandparents had a terebinth tree in their yard, and they would always bring a full bag whenever they visited us. We don’t have it where I live now, so it was great to see them in Diyarbakir!
I couldn’t wait any longer and threw a few into my mouth, it’s a typical way to start shopping in a Turkish food shop. It was the same flavor as I had as a kid. If it’s the first time you try it, you may not love its bitterish-sourish flavor and its crunchiness. Menengic is one of those foods you either love or hate. I suggest you to have a few berries at one time to feel the flavor, you can’t get it with just one. I did the same warning to friends with me there and they found it ‘interesting’. Right, the word ‘interesting’ would be the best word to describe the flavor of terebinth berry, which is also known as the wild version of pistachio. You know, the flavor of wild foods are stronger.
I saw a jar labeled ‘menengic coffee’ in the same shop and I was intrigued, so I bought a jar to try. I just couldn’t imagine how these berries could turn into coffee. I learnt from the vendor that menengic berries are picked, dried in the sun and roasted until they turn dark brown. After this roasting process, they are mashed until it becomes paste. I thought it was like powder, but no it is like a melted chocolate.
This coffee is made either with milk or water, but I like it with milk as it softens the strong flavor of menengic. It is optional to add sugar; if you like your regular coffee sweet, then you should add sugar. I don’t think it needs any sweetness though if you make it with milk.
It has a softer flavor than regular Turkish coffee, so if you find Turkish coffee very strong, I’m sure you will love this cafein free coffee. It is almost the same to make these two coffees. They are both boiled in a special coffee pot over low heat. And you should be vigilant as it might rise very quickly and might boil over. You know having foam on top of cups is very important when making regular Turkish coffee but menengic coffee doesn’t have foam, so no worries! It is also served in demitasses just like Turkish coffee.
I thought it would be great to serve it in the copper coffee cup set I bought from Diyarbakir. Diyarbakır menengic coffee in Diyarbakir coffee cups, great!