Mangal style.

Springtime-bordering-on-summer is out in full force in Turkey, which can mean only one thing — it’s mangal season! Now, at first glance, a mangal may seem like your run-of-the-mill picnic, but this is not your average throw-shrimp-on-the-barbie event. So to get you started on your first mangal, here’s an easy how-to recipe:



  • 3 kilos*** tomatoes
  • 3 kilos cucumbers
  • 3 kilos peppers
  • 1 kilo onions
  • 10 chicken breasts
  • 5 dozen köfte
  • 20 loaves bread
  • 2 kilos mixed nuts
  • 4 dozen cookies
  • 2 cakes
  • 1/2 kilo loose-leaf tea
  • 4 liters each Coke and Fanta
  • 8 liters water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*** Remember, 1 kilo = 2.2. pounds


  • 1 grill, procured from an unlikely source (e.g. dorm room)
  • 2 bags charcoal
  • 1 lighter (for lighting the grill and cigarettes)
  • 1-2 blankets (debate cleanliness of said blankets first)
  • Appropriate cooking utensils, plastic plates, cups, blah, blah, blah
  • Volleyball and/or football (known in the US as a soccer ball)

Serving size: 20 people

Prep time: 1 hour to drive around town and assemble pre-purchased ingredients and equipment

Cook time: At least 8 hours for maximum fun


  1. Upon arrival, the male contingent sets up the grill. At least 8 people required — 2 to actually set up the grill, 6 to stand by and give unsolicited advice. After 15-20 minutes of failed attempts to start the grill, a person who was previously uninvolved in this task steps in and starts the grill in approximately 30 seconds.
  2. While the male contingent engages in pyromania, the female contingent quickly and efficiently unpacks the rest of the picnic. This contingent then makes a salad in record time.
  3. Once all the food is prepared, drop whatever you are doing and sit down on the blanket to stuff yourselves full of meat, bread, and salad.
  4. When it inevitably starts to rain, use your blanket and whatever else is handy to jerry-rig a makeshift shelter. Under no circumstances are you to go home.
  5. As the storm rages, huddle in your makeshift shelter, eating nuts and desserts, joking (usually at someone else’s expense), and playing tavla (backgammon).
  6. Once the sun reemerges, grab your ball for a game of football, volleyball, and/or dodgeball. The game is only finished after 3 people have been mildly injured.
  7. If the picnic area has paddle boats/a trampoline/bumper cars, pay for a turn with that ish. The hilarity that will ensue from misuse is worth the 2TL.
  8. If there is a small pond nearby, be sure to throw the ball in at least once. Seek out volunteers to rescue the lost ball. Earn bonus points for retrieval methods in a variety of categories – ingenuity, creativity, feats of engineering, shows of brute strength.
  9. Drink çay out of a plastic cup. Don’t question how many carcinogens you may be ingesting due to the melting plastic. The health effects of the çay will cancel them out.
  10. Before leaving, take photos. Lots of photos. You need at least one photo per pairing/group combination.


Afiyet olsun! Enjoy!


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