Maraş Tarhana

 Tarhana is found in all regions of Turkey, but the preparation of tarhana is uniquely different in Kahramanmaraş, where it has become an indispensable food. It is produced throughout the region and Kahramanmaraş tarhana is famous for its taste. Tarhana has an important place in Maraş cuisine as a traditional food item. Making tarhana is a group endeavor having strong cultural characteristics. Neighbors come together early in the morning to begin the long production process. Kahramanmaraş tarhana has a distinctive feature that sets it apart from tarhana in the other regions. The production of tarhana begins in July and August. The quality and flavor of Maraş tarhana is attributed to the sunny windy weather conditions of these months. The early stage of tarhana is called ‘firik’. This is the damp leathery stage before the tarhana is completely dried, which is not sold or eaten in any other region in Turkey other than Kahramanmaraş. The production of Kahramanmaraş Tarhana uses the best wheat, which is pounded and crushed. The annual requirement of tarhana for a family is calculated by using the "grade" weight of 22 kg. The crushed wheat is poured into a large open caldron that is filled with water and cooked like rice. When the wheat is thoroughly cooked, it is removed from the fire and the stirring is continued. The cooked wheat is covered and left to further cook from its own steam. Once the wheat has rested and cooled, it is covered with a wet cloth. The cooled cooked wheat is then kneaded well by hand. About 1.5-3 kg of low fat sour yogurt is next added to each 1 kg of kneaded cooked wheat. The yogurt used is oily and slightly sour, which makes the tarhana delicious and crisp. In addition to this, thyme, black dill seed and other spices can be mixed with the yogurt. After this process, the pasty wheat-yogurt mixture is thinly spread on long rolls of straw mats and left in the sun to dry. After 2-3 days it is removed in the morning. Almonds or walnuts are often served together with tarhana. Today, tarhana is eaten in every region of Turkey, but only in Kahramanmaraş can you find the very thin sheets of tarhana the region is famous for.