Kokoreç, the Forbidden Hangover Food from Turkey

A kokoreç sandwich, the typical hangover cure from Turkey.

A kokoreç sandwich, the typical hangover cure from Turkey.

We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangover. But every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. In this episode we try out some typical street food from Turkey named kokoreç. It’s made with several kinds of lamb or goat organs, wrapped in the intestines. This may sound gross to  some  people and kokoreç is even forbidden to sell in the European Union, but it’s actually quite delicious. Not to mention effective on rough mornings.

Turkey may not be the first nation that comes to mind when thinking of drinking countries but that doesn’t mean there is no drinking culture.  In fact the consumption of alcohol symbolizes the division in Turkish society, that has been around for almost a century. On one side you have the fanatic Muslims, who are opposed to alcohol. Among them is the current prime minister (or elected dictator if you will) Recep Erdogan. On the other are the liberal Turks who follow the ideology of Mustafa Kemal ‘Atatürk’, founder of the modern Turkish state and a huge drinker himself.

In the previous years Erdogan introduced all kinds of restrictions and extra taxes on alcohol sales, but that seems to have little effect on the drinking patron of many Kemalists. They cherish raki as the national drink, no matter how many times the prime minister tells them it’s not. Raki is an anise-flavored drink, usually distilled from grapes. The taste is quite similar to Greek ouzo or Italian sambuca. If you prefer something less strong, you’ll probably end up drinking Efes beer, which is Turkey’s most popular beer and omnipresent. Since Erdogan systematically labels the protestors of his regime as alcoholics, raki and beer kind of symbolize the freedom of speech in Turkey.

The half of the Turkish population that does love to party, usually parties hard. In the traditional meyhanes (taverns) or in the many night clubs a lot of alcohol is consumed and of course that’s not without consequences the morning after. That’s why on your ‘walk of shame’ you are likely to pass by many stands that sell typical street food. Kokoreç (kokoretsi in Greek and kukureci in Albanian) is a perfect hangover cure, made from various sheep or goat organs, wrapped it the intestines of the same animal.

Now we are going to tell you how to prepare this dish from scratch for 2 reasons.  The first one is that not every country has Turkish stores that sell pre-prepared portions of kokoreç. And second since within the European Union it’s  illegal to sell this dish, because of the  organs that are being used. However it’s possible to get the ingredients from your local butcher or slaughterhouse. Since it takes some time to prepare kokoreç, you better give the recipe to a sober friend and catch some more sleep during the preparation.

5 strings of intestines of 1 lamb or goat
The organs (heart, spleen, kidneys, lungs, sweetbread) of the same animal
Fat  from the same animal
Olive oil
2 lemons
Black pepper
4 tomatoes
Half a bunch of parsley
1 Ramadan pide (Turkish flat bread)

Wash the organs and intestines thoroughly. Then marinade the organ meat with the juice of 2 lemons and olive oil, salt, black pepper and oregano to taste.
Put all the marinated pieces of meat tightly together on a large skewer. Now wrap the intestines tightly around them and alternate them with layers of fat. This way you get a solid casing around the filling.

Kokoreç on a spit over a wood fire.

Kokoreç on a spit over a wood fire.

Now grill the kokoreç skewer horizontally. Ideally over a woodfire, but a grill that works on gas or electricity will  also do the job. The important thing is that you have a rotating spit, so you can turn the meat from time to time. Keep  it over the fire until the meat is completely cooked and the outside is brown and crispy. When it’s done,you can remove the skewer from the fire and slice up the roll. Now cut up these slices into bite-sized pieces. Now you got to the point where people who got the pre-prepared kokoreç from the store have to start paying attention.

Preparation part 2:
As we continue with the recipe, we’ll make it suitable for 4 persons. Take an amount of meat enough to stuff 4 quarters of the pide bread and put those pieces on a metal griddle over a fire. Spice the meat to taste with chile pepper, cumin and oregano, as you chop up the meat to even smaller bits with 2 sharp spatulas.
Chop the tomatoes and parsley and add them to the mix, as you keep working it with the spatulas. After just a minute the kokoreç is done. Cut the pide up in 4 parts and stuff those with the mix. It’s best to serve them with some yoghurt sauce, brined hot peppers or pickles. Enjoy!

Micky Bumbar

Check out more tasty hangover cures from around the world

17 thoughts on “Kokoreç, the Forbidden Hangover Food from Turkey

  1. This does look rather tasty, actually, but what a lot of faffing around to prepare! I will be searching for a local Turkish shop, I think,
    Also – I think a campaign should be mounted to re-name the ‘walk of shame’ the ‘walk of pride’ – because there is no shame in being out drinking all night!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree on the walk of pride! And about the food, I tried it myself when I was in Turkey. It was so amazing. A lot of people are grossed out when they hear the word organs but I love them. Especially when they are prepared in a spicy way.


    • I would think so… Plenty of Turks, Pakistani and so on… In Holland you will see traffic jams on the way to slaughterhouses of people looking for a whole sheep before Muslim holidays like the ‘Slaughter Festival”. Guess in Britain it’s the same.


  2. Pingback: Kokoreç | GSF llc 2016

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  4. Kinda funny how you label Atatürk and Erdogan. You obviously have a shitty opinion without knowing too much about the subject yet have a clear opinion about it (that you are trying g to sell real hard). Something only a fool would do. I don’t like fools drinking with me, unless they can be funny. The fool you are, funny you are not.


    • Well who invited you to drink with me? Would not hold my breath with such an attitude. Can’t really picture you as a fun person.

      p.s. I was quite mellow on Erdogan when this was written. Since this article he has prooven to be a megalomanic madman. Yes, he was elected democratically, but so was Hitler. Actually the rise of both of these men is so similar that I fear for Turkey and the whole world with this retard in control.


  5. Pingback: Kokoretsi (Kokoreç) as a Sandwich | Sandwich Tribunal

  6. Wow, the infamous intestine feast, kokoreç. I am Turkish. Excuse the late reply, gastro-drinkers who stick to the hi-end, prefer their kokoreç sliced in rings, grilled on coal fire and not sandwiched (served on a plate) Hi-end or not, the pan-fried kokoreç sold at street shops is usually frozen, infested with tomatoes & bell peppers and sucks ass. The grilled one, OTOH, can be a great chaperone to acidic new world wine, or rakı.

    Btw, you are funny, and right on Ataturk and Erdogan, whomever the upstairs screamer is, either he is offended that you called Ataturk a lover of booze (which he was, thankfully) or don’t like Erdogan. If first, he should learn stuff, if second, umm, what’s he doing here for gods’ sake.


    • Thanks for the great addition. When in Turkey I actually liked the kokoreç I had a lot, but if there’s a way better one I must try it for sure. Good reason to go back some day.


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