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Cevıırı: The History and Culture Behind Turkey’s Raw Meat Dish

Welcome to Cevıırı’s delicious world! If you like to try new foods, this Turkish dish should be on your list. Indulgent flavors, rich history, and cultural significance make the dish a popular choice in local and international cuisine. Discover the origins, variants, health benefits, and finest places to find the dish in Turkey and abroad. Prepare for a sensory feast!

What is Cevıırı?

Cevıırı, or Çeciir in Turkish, is a delicious Turkish dish made with meat, veggies, and spices that go well together. People from Turkey love it, and tourists find it to be a secret gem. Many people love this food because it has lots of different flavors and is cooked slowly, which lets all the different parts blend.

The Origins of Cevıırı

The dish has a fascinating past that is just as interesting as the dish itself. This classic Turkish treat has a long history that goes back hundreds of years. The word “Cevıırñ” comes from the root word “cevir,” which means to turn or spin.

Some people think that Cevıırı came from Central Asia and to Turkey through the nomadic Turkic groups. As these tribes moved from one area to another, they took their food traditions with them. One of their signature dishes was rotating meats.

Over time, the dish became an important part of Turkish food and became famous with both Turks and tourists. Marinated strips of meat are stacked on a vertical spit and slowly cooked over an open flame. This is a unique way to cook that makes kebabs that are tender and full of flavor.


You’ll need these to make this tasty dish:

  • 500g of high-quality lamb or beef
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, ripe and diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Add 1 tbsp red pepper paste (biber salçası
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

How to Make the Dish


Step 1: Preparing the Meat

To begin, cut the meat into very small pieces. This step is very important because it changes how soft and smooth the food is. You can use lamb or beef, depending on what you like.

Step 2: Sautéing the Onions and Garlic

To make the garlic and onions open, they need to be fried in hot olive oil until they are small pieces. This makes the dish’s tasty base.

Step 3: Adding the Meat

You need to fry the meat cubes on both sides in the pan. This step brings out the meaty, rich flavors that make cevññrñ so delicious.

Step 4: Adding Spices and Vegetables

When the meat is done, add red pepper paste, paprika, cumin, and tomato chunks. Be careful while mixing flavors. After onions, add sliced red and green bell peppers. They crunch the food well.

Step 5: Slow Cooking

Close the pan and simmer the mixture on low heat for about an hour. Because it’s cooked quickly, the meat will become soft and the flavors will get better.

Step 6: Seasoning

Season dishes with salt and black pepper. Adjust the spices to taste.

Step 7: Serving

A cooked dish should be served hot, with rice or Turkish bread on the side and fresh parsley on top. Enjoy the wide range of tastes in every bite!


In Turkey, there are several different regional types of the dish, such as:

– Adana Cevıırı:

The city of Adana in southern Turkey is where this spicy dish is from. It is made with thicker-cut bulgur wheat and a lot of isot pepper paste. This chili-packed cevı̱ṟ stands out because of how spicy it is.

– Urfa Cevıırı:

This dish is named after the city of Şanlıurfa in the southeast and doesn’t use bulgur. Instead, it uses lavash pasta. A spicy tomato and pepper sauce is mixed with the meat to kick it.

– Istanbul Cevıırı: 

Thin pieces of lamb or veal loin make up Istanbul’s delicate and lean dish. Pilaf rice with butter is served instead of bulgur.

– Izmir Cevıırı:

Izmir’s dish is made with beef or mutton, bulgur rice, black pepper, and parsley on the coast of the Aegean. People in the area put goat’s milk cheese and lemon on top of it. 

– Southern Cevıırı:

People in Mersin, Hatay, and other towns in the south of Turkey make the dish with more cumin, mint, and roasted garlic. This shows how Arabic food has influenced the local cuisine. 

– Horse Meat Cevıırı:

Lean horse meat is also used to make the dish in some specialty restaurants, especially in Central Anatolia, though it is not as popular. This is an old custom among nomads.

What’s great about the dish is that it’s always made with spicy raw meat and bulgur, but each region’s tastes, culture, and land make it unique. This variety shows how big Turkey is geographically.


Health benefits of the dish

Some people might be afraid of raw meat, but when eaten in balance and cooked right, cevññrñ is good for you in several ways:

 High Protein Content:

The dish is a great way to get the full, lean protein your body needs to build muscle and repair damaged tissue. It is healthy because it has both raw meat and bulgur wheat in it.

– Immune Boosting Properties:

Research shows that eating raw meat every once in a while may help boost the immune system because it contains enzymes. The spices in cevrñ are also good for killing germs. 

– Source of Iron:

Since raw red meat has more bioavailable iron than cooked red meat, the dish is a good way to avoid iron shortage and anemia.

– Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is good for your nerves and blood, and raw meat is one of the few foods that naturally has a lot of it.

– Anti-Inflammatory Spices:

In the dish, spices like black pepper and cumin have vitamins that help keep the body’s inflammation in check.

– Lean Protein Choice:

When made right, cevñѱrñ made from lean cuts has fewer calories and saturated fat than other red meat meals.

If you eat any kind of raw meat, you should also be careful. Make sure the cevı̱rñ is made fresh with healthy, high-quality meat. It is not a good idea to eat a lot of raw meat.

People with weak immune systems should stay away from cevññṟ because it can make them sick. In general, healthy people enjoy cevııṟ once in a while because it is both healthy and full of cultural customs.

The best places to try cevıırı:

For a real and tasty turkey dish experience in Turkey, check out these great places and eateries:

– Çiya in Istanbul: This small restaurant, which is run by Musa Dağdeviren, is popular all over the world for serving traditional Turkish food. You should try their dish made in the style of Adana with spicy pul biber.

– Talay Turk in Izmir: This laid-back spot has a view of the Aegean Sea and serves some of the best Izmir-style turkey dishes in the city. It comes with lemon and parsley on top.

– Antiochia in Hatay: Cevıırñ with a Syrian twist is served at this spot close to the Syrian border. The pomegranate jam-topped one is served with hummus and only peynir cheese.

– Hayvore in Ankara: This place is famous for its “Skender kebap,” but it also has a great beef cevıƱrƱ that goes well with a spicy red pepper sauce.

– Vejetaryen in Istanbul: At this well-known veggie restaurant, even people who don’t eat meat can enjoy cevṉ̃rñ. Their walnut-lentil meat replacement goes well with bulgur, which I didn’t expect.

– Adana Ocakbasi: This Adana tradition makes its fiery lamb turkey dish with isot pepper and other zingy spices in a special stone mortar.

To appreciate the bright, tangy flavors, start with a typical Istanbul-style veal turkey dish. Wander over the areas, tasting local variants and how culture shapes the food. To cool the spicy dishes, order ayran or şalgam juice! The dish offers a superb taste of Turkey’s diversified cuisine for those who are receptive to it.

Tips for Enjoying Cevıırı

Here are some tips for enjoying the dish: 

  • Explore Different Variations: A unique aspect of the dish is its versatility in preparation. Explore many selections, such as lamb turkey dishes or vegetarian options with mushrooms and veggies.
  • Pair with Traditional Sides: Try pairing the dish with traditional Turkish sides like yogurt, pilaf, and fresh salads to improve your experience.
  • Experiment with Spices: Feel free to experiment with spices when making or ordering the dish. Cumin, paprika, and sumac lend depth and flavor to the dish.
  • Enjoy with Company: the dish tastes great with friends! Enjoy this dish with family or friends at the table.
  • Consider Wine Pairings: Indulge in a delicious meal with a glass of Oküzgozü or Kalecik Karası if you like wine.
  • Appreciate the Presentation: Before you eat one of these tasty treats, take a moment to enjoy how beautifully they are arranged on skewers.
  • Dig In!: Remember that the best way to enjoy cevabdzinica is to savor each bite! So don’t think twice about digging in, and enjoy every bite of this delicious Turkish food!

If you follow these tips, you’ll have an amazing time eating Cevabdzinica, which is one of Turkey’s biggest hits.


Cevıırı is a culinary masterpiece that attracts food lovers all over the world with its long past, many variations, and tantalizing flavors. Whether you try the traditional shish kebab or one made without meat, this Turkish treat will take your taste buds on a journey like no other. To learn how to marinate, heat the grill, and let the dish take your taste buds to the busy streets of Turkey, where the magic in the kitchen waits.

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