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Diyarbakir's signature dessert is multicultural tradition

Diyarbakir owes its famous dessert, kadaif, to the 18th-century Armenian population, but today, Muslim transports from nearby Bingol have taken over the trade.

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — First you mix at least three different kinds of flour with water, making sure that you end up with a dense milky liquid. Let the liquid rest for six to eight hours, mixing it only at the end. Then you drop the mix on the special cast-iron stove that spins it. The mix becomes crisp, golden colored threads. You gather a heap in your hand and twist it into a circular shape that Turks call “burma.” Walnuts and pistachios are added on top in the center. Sweet sherbet is poured on top, and the kadaif, also known as shredded wheat dessert, is done.

Turks, Greeks and Middle Easterners claim kadaif (or kadayif or kataifi), a delicious dessert that can be made into different shapes. In the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, locals believe that the dessert was first baked in the Armenian houses of the cosmopolitan city in the 18th century. As the dessert became popular, the Armenians taught it to the Muslim population in the 19th century, mainly migrants from Bingol, a small city to the north, who had come to Diyarbakir looking for jobs.

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