Turkish-Cypriot Cuisine
North Cyprus  

  Turkish Delight (Lokum)
  Total first-day time: 3 hours
Aging: 2+ days
  The best Turkish Delight is made by the Turkish masters of its art; but a delicious approximation can be made at home. Its secrets are uninterrupted stirring and careful aging.
  • Turkish Delight (Lokum)4 cups sugar
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. rose or orange flower water, orange juice or lemon juice, or vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla or other extract or essence
  • Several drops food coloring
  • cup almonds, skinless pistachios or walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted (optional)
  • cup powdered sugar
  • cup cornstarch

Combine sugar, 1 cup water and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes, until the syrup reaches 240F on a food thermometer, or forms a soft ball when a bit is dropped into cold water. Turn off the heat.

Using a blender, food processor, or whisk, combine the cornstarch and cream of tartar, then gradually add 3 cups of water, stirring vigorously to fully combine the ingredients and prevent lumping. Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. If any lumps form, scoop them out of the pan; don't try to break them up to make them smooth. It won't work.

Once the cornstarch mixture has come to a boil, pour in the hot syrup in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 1 to 2 hours, stirring constantly, until the mixture has turned a pale gold. Turn off the heat. Stir in flavouring to taste, and food colouring, if desired. Blend in the nuts, if desired.

Using a flavourless oil, lightly oil a 9" square baking pan, then line the pan with lightly oiled baker's parchment. Pour the Lokum into the pan, then tilt it to distribute the mixture evenly. Wait until the Lokum has cooled completely before covering the pan with plastic wrap. Do not allow the plastic to touch the surface of the Lokum, or it will stick mercilessly.

Let the Lokum rest for at least two days before cutting into 1" wide strips with an oiled kitchen knife (not serrated). Clean and oil the knife after every cut. If the Lokum is too gummy to cut, let it age longer. Lay out the strips on a lightly oiled tray and let them rest for another day or two before cutting into small squares.

Combine one-half cup each of cornstarch and powdered sugar in a tightly covered container. Put 2 or 3 squares of Lokum into the container, cover and shake to coat them with the mixture. Store in an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment, waxed paper or doilies.


  • Vegetarian dishes have been marked with sign
  • Albrecht, M. (1994), Turkish Cypriot and Mediterranean Cookery, Havellia Publishing, London.
  • Salaman, R., (1991), The Cooking of Greece and Turkey, Sainsbury Cookbooks, London.
  • Jemal, H., Cyprus Today, various.

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