Categories:> Culture, Food

When the Turks came to Katara

When in Doha, I like to spend my Saturdays doing interesting things and hitting new spots to explore. Last month, it was the “Turks at Katara” Festival celebrating all things Turkish. My official accomplice was my very good and foodie friend Lana (remember her from this post?).

Katara is Doha’s Cultural Village that comes alive during the winter/spring months with lots of activities, festivals, concerts, you name it. It boasts over 7 restaurants, an humongous amphitheater and an esplanade with a killer sea view.

The Turkish festival was quite small, but offered a lot on the foodie front. From ice creams, to baklavas, kebabs and vegetarian stews with rice, I tried to be well behaved. Lana on the other hand was on a no sugar, no gluten plan and did a fantastic job resisting the temptation.




kebab sizzlers

kebab sizzlers

BBQ'd Castana

BBQ’d Castana

Our main attraction was the culinary demonstration by Sukkar Pasha’s talented pastry Chef Saban. We were somehow unaware of a registration scheme for the demo as seats were apparently limited. However, when he saw me with a camera, he graciously let us in and bartered a “ you are welcome if you take pictures and send them to me” kind of deal. Fair enough.

The demo was held in a lovely outdoor courtyard just before sunset with a cool breeze to complement the evening. We could not have asked for more.


Chef Saban taught us how to make a dessert called “Citir Tulumba”, which up until half way through, I realized was the Turkish version of Mexican Churros!

Citir Tulumba


220 gms Butter

500 ltrs Water

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300 gms Flour

7 Eggs

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Sugar

For the garnish

1 cup sugar

3 tsp Cinnamon



Combine water, butter, sugar and salt in a pan and let boil.

Add flour and mercilessly mix it through with a wooden spoon. ( you will notice lots and lots of lumps, that’s fine, we will take care of that at a later stage)


After the flour has somewhat come together in one chunky dough full of lumps. Remove out of the pan and place on a flat surface to let it cool.


Bring out your electric beater and chuck the dough in, cracking one egg at a time whilst mixing it through. (the reason we cooled the dough is to avoid the eggs cooking from the hot dough and scrambling up)

Once the mixture has turned into a smooth silky yet sticky like batter, spoon into a piping bag. (hint, you can add desired nozzle for shape)


Pipe the mixture onto hot oil for frying. (chef Saban used scissors to snip off the batter into the oil)


Fry until golden. Dry off excess oil and throw it on the sugar and cinnamon mix to finish off.


I’ve never tried churros, but those tulumbas were out of this world. Very light yet crunchy and soft in the mouth. I would have popped a dozen if they were all mine.

Needless to say, Lana ended up breaking her own no sugar rules for this.

As the day was easing into sunset mode, Chef Saban quickly p
repared another element of surprise to up the wow factor on serving this dish. Coz we all eat with our eyes first right?

He melted a sack of Isomalt sugar, a type of suger that pastry chefs use for making icy sculptures. Isomalt sugar comes in powdered form and had to melted first, and then poured onto a icecubes to harden and take shape, or blown through a cylinder to make a glass bowl. You can get as creative as you want, but for me, im happy to skip this laborious step and feast on those churros as is.




Tulumbas stuffed and plated into the "surprise" apple structure

Tulumbas stuffed and plated into the “surprise” apple structure

The proof is in the Isomalt

The proof is in the cracked Isomalt