/Çerkez Tavuğu

Çerkez Tavuğu

Chicken salad has always been a favorite of mine. My Grandma Parla and mom both approached it the same way: strip the carcass of a chicken boiled to make stock, add Hellman’s Real Mayonaise, celery, salt and pepper. For almost three decades that was my image of chicken salad. Then, I tried Zeynep’s mom’s çerkez tavuğu, or Circassian chicken and it became one of my favorite things. It is a chicken and walnut salad that originated in Georgia and was brought to Turkey by slaves in the Ottoman period. Now it is a common Turkish dish, especially in Istanbul, where it is served cold or room temperature as a side dish. To make it, chicken is poached, shredded, and mixed with crushed walnuts, onions, breadcrumbs, stock, and seasonings. The result is a creamy chicken salad with rich, complex flavors.

2016-01-07T03:42:07+00:00 February 20th, 2010|Categories: Daily Food Photo, Gastronomic Traditions, Istanbul, Meat, Turkish Cuisine|7 Comments


  1. Tom February 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Katie–While this Turkish version sounds delicious, I just have to say my mother made chicken salad EXACTLY the same way your mother and grandmother do. I made some myself not too long ago and what memories it brings back. But isn’t that what food is all about?

    On a side note…Katie, can you recommend a good Turkish restaurant either in NJ or NYC? Your food writing about Turkey makes me want to go there immediately, but that won;t happen for a while. Thanks!

  2. Realkman February 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Tom, the best Turkish restaurant in the tri-state area is turkish Kitchen in Manhattan (3rd Av and 29th St) Also, you can find everything Turkish at http://www.tulumba.com.

    • Katie February 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Yes Turkish Kitchen is wonderful. You can check out their menus on their website here. Afiyet olsun!

  3. dejavu May 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Katie, let’s correct one little thing. Cerkes Tavugu (Circassian Chicken)is not a Georgian food. Circassians are poeople living in the southern part of Russia and they migrated to Ottoman Empire in 19th century as a result of a war with Russians. They were also not slave and around 500.000 people are still living in Adygea Rupublic (autonomous republic in southern Russia) and also many living in Turkey.

    • Katie May 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you for correcting the post. I compiled a synopsis of cerkez tavugu from various memories my turkish friends had of it and its history. cultural memories are not always historically accurate, obviously!

  4. Elif Akyol July 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    @dejavu well, Georgians and Circassians are both people of Caucasus, so it is not certain which cuisine “cerkes tavugu” originated from.

    Anywayz, Katie, I don’t know about the one you had, but “real” cerkes tavugu contains a good amount of coriander seeds, preferably freshly ground and walnut oil.

  5. Randi T Hansen April 6, 2012 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Thanks all of you foodlovers..and greetings from Denmark..We’re making cerkez tavugu for our family-easter.. Happy holidays! T. Hansen & family.

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