Turkish delight, in Turkish ‘Lokum’, is a soft and chewy candy, which has been known as Turkey’s traditional sweet for centuries. Turkish delight is a very famous light sweet that basically made of sugar, water, starch, and lemon juice.
Turkish doctors say Turkish delight (Lokum) has many benefits for the human body. They say; instead of consuming heavy desserts after meals, you can consume Turkish delight. The doctors say that you can consider it as a light dessert, which has many benefits. In Turkey, it is very common among the youth to eat ‘Lokum’ to cure acne and scars. Most dermatologists recommend it for curing acne and scars besides using acne curing creams. I have also tried that when I was young and it helped.
The Story of Turkish Delight
‘Lokum’ has an important place in Turkish cuisine and it dates back to the 18th century. It has found in İstanbul and spread to western and eastern lands through the Ottoman Empire ruling period. In the Ottoman-Turkish language, it is called ‘Rahat ul-hukum’, which means ‘throat reliever’ in English.
During the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire had increased the trade relations with foreign countries and this sweet has started to be known as Turkish delight because spelling ‘Rahat ul-hukum’ was not easy for the foreign merchants who are importing this sweet to their countries. Since then, it has been known as Turkish delight.
According to hearsay, there was a disorder in the Sultan’s harem and he knows how much his harem likes to eat dessert. For this reason, he ordered his private cook chefs to make a sweet treat that can easily be reachable whenever it is wanted by his harem members. As a result, it has been said that this is how Turkish delight has been found.
What are the types of Turkish Delight?
In Turkey, most cities have different varieties of it. For example; Afyon city is the most famous city for its ‘Lokum’. You can find it with pistachio, walnut, rose petals, pomegranate, and hazelnut variations in Afyon city. I even heard that if you request, they roll your ‘Lokum’ with gold leaf, but I haven’t tasted it yet.
Where to eat Turkish Delight?
If you ever come to Turkey and visit İstanbul, ‘Hafız Mustafa’ is the best place for eating traditional ‘Turkish delight’.
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 1/2 cups drinking water
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups cornstarch
- 1 tbsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 tsbp food grade rose water
- 3 drops red food coloring
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Put aluminum foil into the 9 inch pan and spray it with cooking spray and put aside on the counter to use at a later.
Put the sugar, 1.5 cups of water and lemon juice into another pan and stir them at medium level heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture to a boil.
After the mixture boils, stop stirring it and allow the sugar mixture continue to boil until it reaches to softball stage (235 F or 112 C) on the candy thermometer.
While the sugar syrup is reaching to 235 F, start to add remaining ingredients into another saucepan. Put the remaining 3 cups of water first and then add the cornstarch and cream of tartar. Bring the heat to medium level and stir them until cornstarch dissolves and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once the sugar syrup reaches at 235 F, remove it from the heat and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture. And then whisk them until they fully mix each other.
Lower the heat level and whisk it every 5 to 8 minutes for 1 hour, until it has reached a light golden color and very thick and sticky form.
After 1 hour passed, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the food grade rose water and red food coloring.
Pour the mix into the prepared pan and allow it to rest overnight without covering the top.
Next day, dust your counter with powdered sugar and roll the candy back and forth on the powdered sugar.
Use a sharp knife to cut the candy into small squares and then dust all over the squared candies with powdered sugar. Now your Turkish delight is ready to serve.