Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Friday, November 24, 2006


1 cup bulgur, washed several times
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

7 gr instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar

Roasted chickpeas (leblebi in Turkish)

Soak the bulgur in water overnight in a large cooking pot. The following morning add more water and cook until the grains are softened over low heat. It takes about 3 hours and add some water little by little time to time. Place a strainer on a large porcelain or a glass bowl. Pour in the cooked bulgur spoon by spoon, and using the back of a tablespoon strain it (picture). Discard the deposit over the strainer every couple of times.

In a small bowl, melt the yeast with water and sugar. Let it rest for 10 minutes so it will be bubbly. Pour it into the strained bulgur and mix well. Cover the bowl with a piece of cloth to ferment (picture). During fermentation, mix it from time to time. It takes about 2-3 days to get the right smell and sourness.

Then, add the vanilla extract and sugar. While mixing, add water little by little to get the right thickness. Consistency should be like soup or 35% cream (whipped). Keep it in the fridge for a night before serving. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and serve with roasted chickpeas. Store Boza in the fridge.

Makes 6 servings.

* If you want to make more Boza later, keep 1/2 cup of leftover Boza in a glass in the fridge. Next time use this instead of the yeast.
* You can also make Boza without using yeast. But it takes more time to get the bulgur to ferment.

Benefits of Boza:
I-t has vitamins C and E along with four types of vitamin A and B. It produces lactic acid which is rarely found in foodstuffs.
-It is a valuable type of acid that facilitates digestion. It is recommended to pregnant women as a source of milk and to athletes as a source of vitamin.
-Initially contained 20% sugar falls to 8% with zero fat. It regulates the intestinal flora and has probiotic properties with the active yeasts.
-Being rich in carbohydrates, protein and vitamin B makes it suitable for pregnant women, athletes and for those who need more energy and who want to lose weight.
-It is referred to as "liquid bread" because of its nutritious properties as it contains many nutrients, carbohydrates and protein.
-It has an effect for relaxing the mind and nerves. It is known to have been used in the treatment of cough.

History of Boza (from Wikipedia)

Its origin dates back form the ancient populations that lived in pre-Ottoman Turkey. The formula was taken by the Ottomans and spread over the countries they conquered. It is a drink of great antiquity, first originating in Mesopotamia 8000-9000 years ago. Boza enjoyed its golden age under the Ottomans, and boza making became one of the principal trades in towns and cities from the early Ottoman period.

Production and storage:

Boza is produced in most Turkic regions, but not always using millet. The flavor varies according to the cereal which is used. Vefa Bozacisi, as it is known, is made only from hulled millet, which is boiled in water and then poured into broad shallow pans. When cool the mixture is sieved, and water and sugar added. Boza was found to be extremely healthy and nourishing. One liter of boza contains a thousand calories, four types of vitamins A and B, and vitamin E. During fermentation lactic acid, which is contained by few foods, is formed, and this facilitates digestion.[citation needed] As boza spoils if not kept in a cool place, boza ferments (traditionally) don't sell boza in summer months and sell alternative beverages such as grape juice or lemonade. However, it is now available in summer time due to demand and availability of refrigeration.



At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is boza halal ?

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

First I'd like to tell you that you are doing so well to show all word how Turkish food and custody. I am glad to keep looking at your web site three times a week.
Turks have very deep and large culture which became others culture origin.
Thanks for all the delicious Turkish food recipies.
Warm regards

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Saadeh,
During the fermentation period, it does contain low levels of alcohol....

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Sevinc,
Thank you for the nice comment:) Introducing one little part of our
culture to others really makes me happy:)

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this food looks really good.we had to take food in for school for Middle Eastern Food Day....everyone loved Creamy Yogurt Dip (Haydari).Turkey has some really cool food recipes.

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Binnur,
Elinize saglik, and thank you for this site. I will try the kestane cake soon, as well as the Boza. Do you know if the Vefa boza is made by the same process as your boza, only using hulled millet instead of bulgur?
Thank you very much,

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Lynette,
Tesekkur ederim:) I have a limited knowledge about Vefa Boza, but I
found some information about it from Wikipedia for you.
Haci Salih Bey established a boza shop in the Istanbul district of
Vefa, close to the then center of entertainment, Direklerarası. This
boza, with its thick consistency and tart flavor, became famous
throughout the city, and is the only boza shop dating from that period still in business today. The firm is now run by Haci Salih Bey's
great- great-grandchildren.
Vefa boza, as it is known, is made only from hulled millet, which is
boiled in water and then poured into broad shallow pans. When cool the mixture is sieved, and water and sugar added. As boza spoils if not kept in a cool place, boza fermenters (traditionally) ) don't sell boza in summer months and sell alternative beverages such as grape
juice or lemonade.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Binnur,

Thank you very much for the help. I will try your Boza recipe, but which kind of bulgur should I use? Small ones or large ones?

Thanks again,

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Lynette,
You're very welcome:) It really doesn't matter. I use whatever I have
(small grain or large grain) at that time:)

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Binnur,

I miss Boza, and wanted to make it in Sydney, Australia. In realtion to the Halal issue, an important one for many, does alcohol remain in the mixture after fermentation??


At 6:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Again, Boza is definitely NOT HALAL, as it seems all the mixtures have alcohol in its final serving preparation. No BOZA FOR ME. I was too young to know when it was offered to me.


At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss boza, and I recently tried to make some to remind myself the cold winternights of Ankara in a warm soba heated apartment. However it smells very bad and tastes even worse, but looks and is in the consistency of boza. What am I doing wrong? Are there any ways of fixing it? Or is all hope lost? By the way you are amazing for creating such an amazing site!!!


At 10:50 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Cem,
Thank you:) It should be tasteless (which you might consider bad
taste?) during fermentation because there is no sugar in yet. At this
stage it should be stirred time to time otherwise it smells very bad.
Can it be fixed now? If it has been in room temperature for more than
3 days, then you can't drink it, sorry :(
Take care,

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Recxxko said...

I do not understand how boza can not be helal. Any fruit has a little alcohol in it so we should not eat fruit???? We should know boza wa drunk by Ottomans and it is not an alcoholic drink. Bfore you determine a drink helal we should think of the effect of the drink on the human body. I do not think you can be addcitive of boza and boza can not make you drunk or alcoholic So I do not see any reason boza would not be halal.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Binnur! I have a question to you. I can not find bulgur in the country where I currently am. Can I take just wheat grain instead? Cracked one looks like that:ęczmienna_03.jpg

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Layla,
Yes, you can use wheat grain. Boza is made crushed wheat, wheat flour or coarsely ground rice meal in most Turkic regions.
Take care,

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in a very cold climate and my house is generally not warm except when i'm in the room. Do you think i'd have a problem with fermentation?

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Qwek,
For centuries, Boza has only been produced in the winter time due to its different fermentation process. So I think if you believe it is suitable in your home (depending on the temperatures) you should be fine but it is important to note that it is only made in the winter climate.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

halal and kosher and very healthy.

yoghurt and boza are recommended to MS patients. Healthy bacteria are good fotr the body to restore the immune system.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Dani said...

Hello Binnur, i live in Brazil and i would like to know if is possible to make boza in summer time. Now is very hot in here and i am missing so much to feel the taste of boza.
Tessekur ederim.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Daniella,
During the fermentation it should not be kept in warm temperature. Otherwise it gets spoiled.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Binnur, hallo

after you strain the bulgur, what do you do with the bulgur? do you throw it out?

also I didn't quite understand about discarding the deposit over the strainer every couple of times...

Thanks for your explanation

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hello Deria,
Pour in the cooked bulgur spoon by spoon, and using the back of a tablespoon strain it. Discard the deposit (deposit means bulgur) over the strainer once in a while (means strainer will be full if you don't discard the bulgur over the strainer).

At 1:13 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Binnur

How long can the boza last in the fridge??


At 5:32 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Michael,
You can keep it in the fridge 4-5 days:)

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have a couple of questions

1) do you cook bulgur in the same water you had it soaked in the night before? or do you drain it and use some fresh water?

2) when you cook bulgur - do you cook it in a large quantity of water or just a little bit of water?

3) after 3 hours cooking you strain bulgur - do you throw away the liquid which is left after straining?

4) how much water do you add in the end? is it possible to substitute vanilla extract by vanilla sugar?


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

All the questions that you asked are in the recipe:)

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Ilke said...

Hi Binnur,
I would like to try the recipe but have a question about the temperature during fermentation. My grandfather always made it during the winter and kept it in the balcony. Can I keep it in the fridge or is it too cold for the fermentation process to be completed in 3 days? Do I just keep longer then? In South Carolina, it is still 80F degrees during the day, so wanted to get the process going in the fridge.
Thanks a lot for the recipe!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Ilke,
Give it a try:) It may take more than 3 days to get the right smell and sourness.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur,
I am hoping to make boza during this holiday:) It is quite cold here in US midwest. Do you suggest I keep it on the balcony during the fermentation? I am not sure if it still needs to be a little warm for the fermentation to take place. Thanks for your input.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur,
From the comments above, I still could not deduct what would be the best temperature conditions for the fermentation. My basement is pretty cold during winter but still not nearly as cold as the balcony would be:). Thanks for your help.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

I've always kept it in the kitchen during the fermentation. As you know, it is supposed to be made in the winter time. If it is not freezing temperatures, you may keep it outside.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boza turned out great. I kept it in the kitchen by the window, so it is not too hot. Ever since I tried Vefa boza in Istanbul I became fan of it. Now I can make it at home. Thank you.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the halal issue and Ottomans, there are historical records, which indicate that Ottomans actually drank boza to get slightly drunk. Keep in mind that Ottomans were not alcohol free and in fact even one of the sultans (Murat IV) roamed the streets in shabby clothes to catch the drunkards. Bektasi groups also used alcoholic beverages. I feel like it should be a sin not to drink boza, a drink that reminds you of your childhood. You can always say "tovbe" after you drink a glass of boza. :-)


At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im from bulgaristan im very pleased that i can make boza mashalla thanks all turk people

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Binnurcum ben bulgur yerine mesela yulaf (oat) kullanip ayni tarifi yapsam olur mu? Colyakli boza sevenimiz var da...

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Boza yapmak icin, bulgur haricinde hic bir urun kullanmadim. Ama yulaf, cavdar,arpa, misir v.s. yapiliyormus:)

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Sazji said...

Actually you should not use bread yeast, as this causes an alcoholic fermentation. Better to to make your own starter; mix 2 tablespoons toasted flour, a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of sugar, and set it out to ferment at room temperature. This will be a sour fermentation that produces lactic acid, not alcohol. Repeat this, adding some of your fermented mixture. If you want to be sure, you can do it a 3rd time. Each time the fermentation will go faster. The lactic acid kills the yeasts that produce alcohol. Then add this starter to your main batch, and it should be ready in a day. I suspect the many recipes calling for "bread yeast" come from the old folks, who used the Turkish word "maya" for any kind of starter - boza, bread, yogurt. What did they use to raise bread? Sourdough starter, not packaged yeast from the grocery store. :) In Turkey people drink boza without worrying about alcohol; if there is any it's only incidental, even if you *could* drink 3 gallons of it you wouldn't have enough to affect you.

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Turks wont drink Boza because its not hallall? You go against your culture and identidy for a stupid satanic religion, whoever will not drink boza is haram.

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great receipe my friends. I live in Serbia and boza is famous here.

I have problems to make sour starter for boza that will give nice sour flavour to boza.

It would be nice someone who has made boza in that way to give us detailed information aout fermentation starter!

At 1:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the boza recipe. My baba made it for me a couple times but never wrote the recipe. While it is fermenting should it just be left on the counter for 3 house is about 70 degrees farenheit, or should it ferment in the refrigerator.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Shenay:)
Boza is only made in the winter climate. So 70 F is not an ideal environment. During the fermentation, it should not be kept in warm temperature as it would get spoiled. I have never kept it in the refrigerator, but you can give it a try:)

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Selam Binnur,

Tarifin icin ve tarihsel acidan yazmis oldugun bilgiden dolayi cok tesessurker, selamlar.


At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur,

I have a gluten intolerance and miss boza a lot. Do you know if I use buckwheat grains instead of bulgur and follow your same recipe, whether it would work?

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Boza is made from fermented grains like bulgur, durum wheat (in my country mostly bulgur and durum wheat are used), rye, corn, barley, oats, wheat, buckwheat, etc.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Sazji said...

As for alcohol and boza - there used to be a "hard" boza, made more by non-Muslims in Turkey. The key is in the type of fermentation. There is alcohol fermentations (carried out by yeast) and lactic acid fermentation, carried out by wild bacteria.

I think some of the confusion here comes from the fact that old recipes say to use "bread yeast" to start boza. But in the old days, this was sourdough starter, not the stuff you get at the store. That makes alcohol, and also not a very good boza anyway.

I do it this way: make a very small batch, add the sugar, ccover it and just leave it out. Within about 3 or 4 days it will ferment, but it's not ready to drink. Make a second smallish batch (a cup or so) and add some of the previous batch to this. It will ferment faster. Repeat this, and it will ferment in a day, and then you can use that as your starter.

What you have done is allowed the lactic acid bacteria to thrive. Such bacteria kill off the "wrong" bacteria, but only when they reach sufficient numbers. When they dominate, they ferment the boza and create lactic acid (not alcohol), and this kills the wrong bacteria before they have a chance to develop. Use a bit of old boza for each batch.

Technically, there may be an infinitessimal bit of alcohol but it would be physically impossible to drink enough boza for it to affect you. Go into a boza shop and you'll see very observant people drinking it, and selling it as well. So enjoy!

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Sazji said...

BTW in the US I make it with millet, which is easy to buy hulled. Here that's harder to find, and I don't like the consistency of bulgur boza as much, so I don't bother making it - I can buy it anyway. I've even seen boza with some corn meal in it.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Zeynep said...

For people allergic to wheat and yeast due to candida overgrowth etc, boza (originally)is best made using millet and as a starter culture you can buy the 'Saccharomyces boulardii' yeast from online shops like Amazon. This strain is particular to boza and is proven by research that it decreases the Candida Albicans in the intestines. Boza made this way is very healing for IBS, Crohn's, holiday tummy sufferers.


Post a Comment

<< Home