I was looking over previous posts in my blog and realized that I haven’t told about lokum yet. So what am I waiting for? Lokum is known as Turkish delight in English and around the world. However, I will use its Turkish version, lokum in this post. Lokum is a Turkish traditional confection which is like a jelly candy.It has a soft, elastic texture and coated with powder sugar or coconut. You must see its bright jelly when you bite. There are hundreds of variatons, so you can see
lokum turkish delight in various colors, sizes, shapes (in cubes or rolls) and flavors. Some are softer, some are thicker, some are flavored with fruit, rosewater or gum mastic, some have pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts and some are plain. But their main ingredients are the same: sugar, starch, water and citric acid.
Its origin goes back to Ottoman times and it was the major delight for most of its people. Its reputation continued after the collapse of Ottoman Empire. As its ingredients were so simple, it was affordable for everyone and this made it their sole dessert. People would celebrate every important event with
lokum turkish delight. When they had important guests, they would serve lokum after dinner. Children’s eyes would light up when they were given lokum in cute hand made handkerchieves during festivals. People would take a package of lokum to the family of their bride to be at their first meeting. It means they want to have a conversation as sweet as lokum. And it was a good way to persuade the family to approve the daughter’s marriage with their son.
Today it still plays the leading role for important events for tradition lovers. As chocolate has a stronger industry network, it seems like lokum has been dethroned by chocolate. It can be said that tourists visiting Turkey eat lokum more than local people. However, it still keeps its crown for a few events. There is an islamic ceremony called mevlit, which is a poem telling about the birth of the Prophet Muhammed and it is held by most of the people in memory of someone in their family or when they are newly married or when they buy a new house. People invite guests to listen to imam who says this poem aloud with a melodic tone. And lokum is served to guests after he finishes the poem.
Also, it is still the greatest treat to serve with Turkish coffee. If you think chocolate goes perfect with Turkish coffee, I strongly recommend you to try it with
lokum turkish delight. Turkish coffee was served sugar free and people would balance its bitterness with lokum in their mouth. They would keep sucking a cube of lokum in their mouth until they finish their coffee. It’s not the method we use today as sugar in coffee is optional, but it’s still great with Turkish coffee.
Also, lokum is a word used for metaphors in Turkish language. Lokum-like person means a person with a good character, lokum-like peach(or any other fruit) means it is ripe enough, lokum-like lamb(or any other meat) means it is cooked very well.
Finally, I would like to share the recipe of my favorite snack with lokum: Get two biscuits, put a cube of lokum between them and press gently. Your lokum sandwich is ready!
I will not give an exact recipe of lokum as it’s not something we make at home, so try to find it at nearest Asian market or online markets.