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Mevlevi Cuisine

Think of a Kitchen. This Is the Place where not only the Food but also the hearts of dervishes are cooked

Veyis Durdu, Researcher on Ancient Anatolian Culinary History and Culture Ancient Anatolian Culinary Arts İnstructor. Writer Gastronomy Consultant.

All cuisine cultures in the world are the common cultural heritage of all humanity.

Undoubtedly, one of the most stable habits of human beings from the first humans to the present day is eating. This habit has also led to the formation of different food cultures in different societies in the following periods. Depending on this culture, many tools and rituals have created different cuisine, cooking and nutrition traditions.

Hundreds of different civilizations and communities have lived in ancient Anatolia until today. As a result of different communities and civilizations creating different food cultures, rituals and culinary schools, a very rich and developing cultural heritage has emerged in Anatolia's geography for all humanity. Located in the city of Konya, which was established in the fertile lands of Anatolia, Hz. Mevlana Lodge is flooded with millions of tourists every year.

This region is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in the world and its history dates back to 9000 years BC. Konya and MEVLANA MEDRESSI This is the region where Çatalhöyük settlement is located.

With this work I have done for you, we will embark on a journey into the mysterious world of the MEVLEVI KITCHEN AND CULTURE, which is a very different and ancient cuisine and food culture.


Let the chefs who prepare the foods in nature with their dexterous hands and mediate them to come to the table should be honored. And let us be grateful for every bite that is granted... We are talking about the Mevlevi Cuisine, which is one of the most special cuisines not only in Anatolia but also in the world. How would you like to get to know this unique cuisine a little more closely, which has inherited us a rich culture as well as a magnificent food philosophy?

Welcome to the Mevlevi Table

“The maturity of love is the union of the lover and the loved one. come closer. Mix like a slurry that consists of mixing the oil and flour so that they cannot be separated again, let your mixture miss each other.”

Book / Divan-ı Kebir 3- Beyit 2131

Huu Somata Salaaa (Come to the dinner table)

MEVLANA is one of the lofty peaks of Turkish-Islamic culture. Mevlana, whose life philosophy says 'I am raw, mature, thank God I burned myself', explains some of his thoughts on the way to reach Allah with food and food symbols. Mevlevi cuisine was sacred to them. Being a dervish in a dervish lodge meant accepting an education that would last a thousand and one days. This training started from the kitchen. The spirit of the Mevlevihane beats in the kitchen. Novice Mevlevi would start his education in the kitchen, completely abandon his selfishness, throw his naivety here, cook and reach a certain maturity. It was a long and difficult process.

The first cook of the MEVLEVI MADRESS was probably Hz. Mevlana's cook Hz. Atesbaz-i Veli; and IN ANATOLIA, THE FIRST TEAM IN THE KITCHEN WAS STARTED IN THE MEVLEVI KITCHEN. The Mevlevi tradition, originating from Hz. Mevlana, who had such a gourmet personality to talk about cooking oyster meat and neck meat together, and serving almond halvah and coffee together, created a very distinguished cuisine. The dishes mentioned in Mevlana's MESNEVI, DIVANI KEBiR, FiHi MA FiH works and living in Konya today are presented with the materials of that period in accordance with their originals. Sirkencubin recipe ( Sherbed ) , Hz. It is one of the rare tariffs given by Mevlana.

Suffering in vinegar grace is like honey. These two are basis of sirkencubin. RUMI – (Hz. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi)

Mevlana and Education

Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi is one of the main sources of the common thought in Anatolia. Mevlevi tradition is very important in terms of art, literature and cultural history as well as its impact on social history with the activities it has put forward since its establishment. Mevlevi is a school of education and training. Mevlevi is a school of education that aims to raise people in an ideal sense, starting with Sufism.

Friend on the rising heart in the kitchen Atezbaz-I veli ( Ates Baz-I - person playing with fire )

In addition to many of his students who were with Mevlana, accompanying and supporting him, there were also exceptional dervishes whom he added to their hearts. One of these valuable dervishes is Ateşbaz-ı Veli, one of the important architects of the Mevlevi order.

Ateşbaz-ı Veli, the first cook of the Mevlevi lodges, was also responsible for the training of the dervish candidates who came to the lodge. In addition to being the place where the kitchen is cooked and the table is set, it is also the application area of the training school.

First step to matbah and somat

Mevlevis used the expression "matbah" for the kitchen and "somat" for the food. Matbah was the place of nourishment both materially and spiritually. Matbah-i Sharif; It coincides with the southeast corner of the Meydan-ı Şerif section of the Mevlana Lodge. The Matbah is the most valuable section, which is of great importance for the dervish lodge and the Mevlevi.

The spirit of the Mevlevi lodges beat in the kitchen. Novice Mevlevi would purify themselves in the kitchen, move away from selfishness and learn the way-method in the kitchen. In order for food to be cooked, a certain transformation had to be made, just as raw food had to be cooked on the stove and reached a certain consistency, the Sufis had to undergo a transformation. This job was an education that started from the heart and covered every aspect of life. Novice dervishes who were raw had to be cooked in the Mevlevi hearth and reached a certain consistency.

Matbah - I sharif (kitchen)

Think of a kitchen. This is the place where not only the food but also the hearts of dervishes are cooked.

Sultan III. The Matbah, which was built by Murad with Dervish ROOMS in 1584, with some parts as two floors, was repaired in 1867. The Matbah, which is entered through a corridor covered with a barrel vault after the low-arched, marble-jammed entrance door, is located on the right side of the Matbah, where the food is cooked, and on the left side, there are the stoves where the food is cooked, and a terraced part called the "Saka hide" under the staircase leading to the second floor where the souls stay. The basement floor of the kitchen is accessed through the wooden door at the level of the beard hide. In the south of the kitchen, there are two sema drill nails showing that the sema practice was carried out in the cross-vaulted section covered with wood high from the ground in the form of a bench. In the Matbah, which has eight windows opening to the east, south and west, today Kazancı Dede, Pazarcı, Nevniyâz, dervishes who practice sema, and the Mevlevi table and conversation etiquette are revived.

1001 Days of sufism training started in the kitchen

The island that started the ordeal was first told to sit on the fur on the left side of the kitchen door. For three days the candidate stood on his knees as an observer, observing the services of those who had suffered before him. In a way, it was time to carefully observe what was going on in that place. During this time, he would not get up and talk to anyone except for essential needs. After the three days were completed, he was brought before Kazancı Dede, he was asked again, if he insisted on continuing the ordeal, he would start a thousand and one days of suffering and do the simplest things first.

Later, he was shown other services he would do. During the ordeal that lasted for one thousand and one days, dervishes served separately in eighteen branches of service. He gains a qualification in an art branch, cooks and matures in conversation, sema, dhikr and contemplation during the service, and at the end he is adorned with the love of God, love, people and nature, a man of heart, a lamp of love, a blessed grandfather who radiates light and illuminates his surroundings. would become.

In a way, they are cooked and burned in the oven in the press of the dervish lodge where they came from. The dervish who completes his ordeal is given the title of "Dede" and a cell (Room) is allocated.

Mevlana Lodge has a second kitchen behind the Çelebi Mansion. This section, where there is a small oven and a hearth, was used as the cafeteria of the Konya Culture Directorate between 1985 and 2011, and was organized as the "Mevlânâ Museum Specialized Library" after the restoration.

Meal etiquette matbah

Cooking and eating in Mevlevi is a form of worship. Because Allah is thanked for the blessings He has given. However, Mevlana used to recommend that the happiness of meeting Allah comes not from the stomach, but from the saturation of worship.

He who condemns himself to only eat and drink, if you can get rid of it, your soul can be freed. He underlined that being content with eating and drinking less and sharing, sleeping less, spending time in worship and spiritual works play an important role in the education of the soul. This consciousness also affected the table setting. In the framework of decency – manners; There was table manners within the rules that must be followed without exception in terms of service understanding, self-cultivation, loyalty to philosophy and many other issues, which the Mevlevis attached great importance to.

After leaving their cells, the dervishes bow their heads, then enter the kitchen with their right foot first. The sheikh comes and all together they sit down around the sofra, greeting it. The soup is brought first and placed in the middle. The food is eaten from the same dish and there is no talk during the meal. The meals starts with everyone taking some salt by pressing his index finger on it and tasting it. The spoon is always placed face-down and towards the left. While eating, it is not proper to make sounds, look around, or eat from the part of the tray in front of others. Everyone is seated on his knees. Once the soup is finished, one of the assigned dervishes takes the empty dish while another brings the next one. Depending on the number of people, two or three novices wait with “sealed” feet, carrying water jugs in their left hand and glasses in their right. They pay close attention for anyone who wants water. Whoever wants to drink water breaks a piece of bread and holds his morsel on the level of his left shoulder; the water server attends to him. The water server gives the full glass to the one who asks for it after greeting the bottom of the glass. Until the one who is served water finishes his drinking, the others stop eating and wait for him. When he finishes, the sheikh silently puts his hand over his heart and lightly greets him. In return, the other one greets him back and gives the glass back to the water server after greeting the bottom of the glass. The water server receives the glass in the same way, taking his original position with sealed feet. When The MEVLEVI PILAF comes, everyone assumes an upright position. The sheikh, if not, the chief cook, calls out the following “gulbank” (chant):

Everyone, together with the sheikh, loudly chants “Hu” as their breath allows them. Afterwards, everyone sits down crossed legged; talking is permitted unless it is done in separate groups and with noise. If there is halvah, the gulbang is chanted when it is brought to the sofra. When the meal is finished, all rise from the table with the sheikh after tasting salt and greeting the sofra in the same way as before.

There were rules in table manners that everyone had to follow. While cooking the food, the dervish had to make ablutions, not to leave the dhikr, and to draw basmala when pouring it from the cauldron into the bowl. He had to bring the table under his left arm, holding the salt shaker in his left hand and the bowl in his right hand. When he opened the table, he had to put the bread first and then the bowl. The food should be halal, even if the prayer time came when the table was ready, the meal should be eaten first, the meal should be started with Basmala, finished with praise to Allah, the eldest of the congregation should pray before the meal, and the others should say amen.

A table where bread is not cut with a knife, due to respect for bread a blessing

Dervishes were supposed to sit at the table with decency. To start the meal, the sheikhs and elders were expected to start the meal, and the meal would start and end with salt. Everyone would wet the index finger of their right hand with their tongue, dip them in the salt in front of them and start eating by tasting it. The food was eaten from one bowl and everyone ate in front of them. Bread and meat were not cut with a knife. A glass of water to be drunk after the meal was drunk in three sips.

The bites were taken small and chewed well, without swallowing one bite, the other bite was not taken. It was not allowed to eat while leaning or lying down. Sitting on the left foot and standing on the right knee, the table was not completely thirsty and the food was left without filling the stomach completely. A dervish would not get up from the table before the others, and the dervishes would wash their hands before the meal and both their hands and mouths after the meal.

In the groin prayer, in the groin sukur

When it's time to eat, tables are set in the part of the matbah that is reserved for eating. The table is a big old board. Interlocking is placed on a wooden chair. Skins are laid around the table. Spoons are placed on the edge of the table with their faces to the left and their handles to the right, provided that they are facing the ground. Sufis ember with an open spoon and say "in prayer". Mevlevi embers are closed; They say "in prayer". The main thing is not to show dirt, but to cover a shame. At the meal eaten with a spoon, everyone should put their spoon face down every time they drink soup or anything from the spoon. A pinch of salt was placed in front of everyone. The dervishes, who received the service of giving water, prepared the jug and glasses. After all these services are seen and the food is downloaded, one of the dervishes reads the salami aloud; "Huu Somata salaaa!" he would shout. It was a public dinner invitation. Everyone would enter the kitchen one by one, bowing their heads and bowing. When the Sheikh came, they would sit at the table together.

A person with a full stomach could not get up from the table, he would turn his spoon, put it back to its original state and wait. After everyone was satisfied, the meal would end with the prayer of the most senior in the somat. During the meal in the Mevlevi lodge, the sheikh or head chef of the lodge recited Gülbank. This gulbanka was called “somat rosebank”. When the pilaf came to the table, the fingers of the hands were bent inwards, the table was placed on the edge of the table and gulbank was read. Somat rosebank served as a thank you to the eaten food.

Dishes with spiritual meanings

MEVLANA drew attention to the spiritual and mental benefits of food with his wise intuitions and the beauty it leaves on the palate.

Some of these dishes are soup representing water, which has an important role in human life, meat and vegetables representing soil, rice and pastry representing fire, eggs with bacon representing generation and Güllaç with cream, representing the love of God.

Tutmaç Soup Harise, Kalye, Borani, Cooked head, Liver kebab, Tirit, Shish kebab, Bulgur pilaf and Tarhana soup; These are some of the dishes cooked by Ateşbaz-ı Veli for Mevlana and mentioned in Mevlana's works.

The dessert that came from the Mevlevi culture until the 21st century as almond halva is actually flour halva. Flour halva is indispensable for two salty and two sweet manners, inherited from the Mevlevi culture to the Turkish culinary culture.

Bread, on the other hand, was considered as a blessing of Allah and blessed, and was seen as one of the foods shown miracles in the legends. Mevlâna said, “Bread is lifeless as long as it stays on the table. But in the human body the joyful spirit is cut off. It is impossible for that bread on the table to be life. But the soul does the impossible thing with selsebil water, it makes the bread soulful” and expressed the change of food in the human body.

Come on then; Huu Somata Salaaa... (come to the meal table)

Mevlevi Cuisine and 18 Services that the Dervish Accepted to the Lodge must do step by step, in order

1. Kazancı Dede: He is the deputy of Chef Dede. He is Tekke's officer.

2. Caliph Dede: He used to guide and train the novice Mevlevi

3. Outfield Player: He used to convey Cook Dede's orders to dervishes to those in the small rooms.

4. Laundryman: He used to wash the laundry of grandfathers and dervishes.

5. Abrizci: He was a toilet and environmental cleaner.

6. Şerbetçi: She would make sherbet and serve it to the grandfathers who came to visit the kitchen.

7. Dishwasher: He washed the dishes and made sure that they were washed.

8. Warehouseman: He oversaw the tinning and keeping of the vessels clean.

9. Marketer: He used to go to the market in the morning and buy the things that needed to be bought.

10. Somatçı: Sets the table, cleans it, sweeps the table area and has it swept by other officials.

11. Inner Squareman: He used to make coffee and serve it to dervishes, grandfathers and guests.

12. Lamp Shop Interior: Kitchen cleaned, prepared, awakened, rested and arranged the lamps and candlesticks.

13. Tahmisçi: He used to roast the coffee of the lodge, grind it into flour and prepare coffee.

NOTE: In many sources, it is stated that coffee came to Istanbul in the 15th and 16th centuries; however, it is seen in Mesnevi, Divan-, Kebir and other works that coffee was used in Konya in the 13th century.

14. Bedding: Makes the dervishes' beds, collects them and is removed.

15. Outside Lamp Shop: He used to look at the oil lamps outside the printing press.

16. Broom: He cleaned, vacuumed and swept the kitchen and yard.

17. Çerağcı: The assistant of the Türbedar.

18. Footman: He used to take care of the bring-and-take business.

Roasted Tarhana of Steppe

Tarhana has a history of 1000 years coming from Central Asia to Anatolia. It is prepared in many different ways and turned into food in different ways.

Tarhana is among the basic foods of Anatolian Yoruks who are descendants of Sarıkeçililer and Karakeçililer in foothills of the Taurus Mountains and live nomadic life in tents made from animal hair. After needs such as milk and yogurt are met, winter tarhana is made in summer range. It is an Anatolian dish like herise and keşkek, which has its origin in Seljuks and Çatalhöyük.


Tarhana of Steppe





Fresh thyme

Flaked red pepper




Put butter in a pan, when it melts, add onions and fry. Add Bozkır tarhana soaked in water in previous evening by crumbling and add one tea glass of water. Add a pinch of mint, thyme, flaked red pepper and salt and fry until running out of water. You can serve like this or with honey or molasses.

Tray tooth dessert with molasses and walnut


1 pack of phyllo for baklava

2 water glasses of walnut

Water glass of molasses

250 g. butter

Water glass of oil

For its syrup

3 water glasses of molasses

3 water glasses of water

A few drops of lemon juice


Lay phyllo sheets as two layers, brush with melted butter, then sprinkle walnuts, pour 1 tablespoon of molasses on walnuts and roll it and place on tray. When tray is full, brush on it with butter and bake in oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes. Remove when it is golden brown on top, when it loses its initial temperature, let it meet with molasses syrup. You can serve it after letting it sit until it cools down.

Sirkencibun - (Sherbed)

Ingredients 1 water glass of honey 1 water glass of vinegar 2 water glasses of water

Directions Stir honey, vinegar and water in a bowl until dissolving. You can also use hot water if you want. You can serve to drink after cooling.

Suffering is vinegar grace is like honey. These two are the basis of sirkencubin.

RUMI – (Hz. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi).

Copyright images: Veyis Durdu.


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