Turkish-Cypriot Cuisine
North Cyprus  

Poultry based dishes
Cherkes Tavugu (Circassian chicken)
   Preparation time
  • 30 minutes + 1 hour
  • Serves 6 as a main course, or 8 as a starter
  • 1.5-1.75 kg (3 and ˝ -4 lb) chicken -jointed
  • 2 carrots -peeled and quartered
  • 1 onion -chopped
  • 250 gr (8 oz) shelled walnuts or walnut pieces -ground finely
  • 175 gr (6 oz) white breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 40 gr (1 and ˝ oz) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt

Cover the chicken joints with water; add some salt, bring to boil and skim. Add the vegetables, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Take out the joints, reserve the stock, and when the joints are cool, skin and bone them, shredding the meat into large mouthful morsels. Cover the meat to prevent it from drying and set it aside.

Boil the stock until it has reduced to about 300 ml (˝ pint) and discard the carrots. Mix the walnuts, breadcrumbs and half the cayenne in a small bowl. If you are planning to serve the dish hot, stop at this stage and prepare the rest shortly before it is to be served. Otherwise just continue.

Add enough hot chicken stock to form a smooth paste and mix well. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the chicken pieces in it until they start to brown. Withdraw from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of the walnut sauce and a little more salt and mix well.

Pile the chicken on to a platter and use the remaining sauce to cover the whole surface smoothly. Mix the olive oil with the remaining cayenne and decorate the surface by dribbling the oil in decorative patterns


  • 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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