Turkish Chicken Dessert featuring tavukgogsu on a plate covered in cinamon

The Famous Turkish Chicken Pudding Explained

In this article, we’ll be exploring the delicious and wonderfully intriguing Tavukgöğsü, the totally one of a kind Turkish Chicken Dessert.

We remember the first time we tried this dessert back on our first ever visit to Istanbul and we loved it. It wasn’t until years later that we learned of its somewhat strange main ingredient.

This unusual sweet treat has a long history within the timeline of Turkish cuisine, and is often reserved for special occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and other significant gatherings.

Tavukgöğsüm, although unusual, has a unique flavor profile that is both subtle and satisfying, making it, in our humble opinion, a must-try for any food lover. 

We’ll delve into the history of Tavukgöğsü, and provide you with insights into why it’s worth trying. And we might just throw in our favourite recipe for Tavukgöğsüm as well, hope you like it!

What Exactly Is Tavukgöğsü?

As we’ve already noted, Tavukgöğsü is a Turkish Dessert famous because of one of its main ingredients. Chicken!

But to understand Tavukgöğsü means we first need to also understand its history and discover more about its full ingredients and the role it plays in Turkish traditions.

The History

No documented evidence remains to fully dictate where this dessert originated with some historians believe it was developed here in Turkey from an early Roman recipe. 

However with similar desserts available throughout the middle east, it’s much more likely that this Turkish Chicken Dessert has Arab heritage instead.

The Main Ingredients

Shredded chicken (usually breast), milk, and sugar and the main ingredients in this traditional dessert.

The Cultural Connection

This Turkish Chicken Dessert is now synonymous and intertwined with the culture of the country, mainly thanks to its place at the table of many specialist events over the span of more than a thousand years.

Once a delicacy reserved only for the Ottoman Sultan, Tavukgöğsü is now available to the masses and one can barely mention dessert in Turkey nowadays without this particular sweet treat being requested.

Turkish Cuisine Creativity:

Tavukgöğsü also highlights the resourcefulness of Turkish cooking. The use of chicken in a sweet dish is a prime example of this, showcasing how traditional ingredients can be repurposed in new and unexpected ways.

turkish chicken dessert tavukgöğsü with burnt exterior

How Is Tavukgöğsü Made and How Is It Served?

Tavukgöğsü is made by boiling chicken breast until tender, shredding it into small pieces, and then combining it with milk and sugar.

The mixture is then cooked over low heat until it thickens and the ingredients are fully combined.

Once the mixture has cooled, it’s typically served chilled and can be topped with ground cinnamon or pistachios for added flavor and texture.

The process of making Tavukgöğsü may seem simple, but it requires patience and attention to detail to get the flavors and textures just right.

The dessert’s creamy and slightly savory base is complemented by the sweetness of the sugar, creating a unique and satisfying flavor profile. We wonder how the Topchef judges of today would rate this dish?

Often enjoyed on its own or paired with a cup of Turkish tea this unusual Turkish Chicken Dessert is typically sliced (cake style) to serve.

What Does Tavukgöğsü Taste Like?

Tavukgöğsü has a unique flavor and texture that’s unlike any other dessert. 

The shredded chicken in the recipe gives the dessert a subtle, savory taste that’s complemented by the sweetness of the sugar and creaminess of the milk. 

The combination of flavors creates a well-balanced dessert that’s not too sweet, making it a great option for those who prefer more subtle desserts.

In terms of texture, Tavukgöğsü is creamy and smooth, with a slightly chewy consistency due to the shredded chicken. 

The addition of toppings such as cinnamon or pistachios adds an extra crunch and texture to the dessert.

Do You Believe This?

You won’t find a hint of chicken taste in it. What you’ll experience instead is a rich, creamy pudding with a delightful blend of sweetness and a hint of cinnamon.

Comparisons to Other Desserts and Dishes

While Tavukgöğsü may seem like an unusual dessert to some, it shares similarities with other desserts and dishes from around the world. 

The dessert can be similarly compared to rice pudding or tapioca pudding, both of which have a similar creamy and slightly chewy consistency.

The flavor of Tavukgöğsü can be compared to custard or flan, both of which have a subtle sweetness and creamy texture. 

However, the addition of shredded chicken gives Tavukgöğsü a unique and unexpected flavor profile that sets it apart from these other desserts.

Overall, Tavukgöğsü is a dessert that’s hard to compare to anything else. Its combination of flavors and textures make it a truly unique and delicious dish that’s worth trying for anyone looking to explore the world of Turkish cuisine.

How to Make Tavukgöğsü at Home – Our Chicken Dessert Recipe

Is Turkish Food Healthy? You bet it is, and its even healthier when made at home.

But making Tavukgöğsü at home in particular can seem intimidating. However, with the right ingredients and steps, it’s actually quite simple. Now we’re far from being chefs here at Absolute Istanbul but we can cook.

So here’s a basic recipe for making the Turkish Chicken Dessert of Tavukgöğsü at home as supplied by our Turkish friends:

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 liter of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon or pistachios (optional, for topping)

Recipe Method:

  • Rinse the chicken breast thoroughly, then place it in a large pot with enough water to cover it completely. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the chicken breast for 30-40 minutes or until fully cooked and tender.
  • Remove the chicken breast from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Shred the chicken into small pieces using two forks or your hands, and set it aside.
  • In a large pot or saucepan, mix the milk and sugar together, and heat the mixture over low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved. Stir the mixture continuously to prevent it from burning.
  • In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 1/2 cup of cold water until it’s fully dissolved. Add the corn starch mixture to the milk mixture, stirring continuously until it’s fully combined.
  • Add the shredded chicken to the milk mixture and stir until it’s fully combined. Keep stirring the mixture over low heat until it thickens and has a pudding-like consistency.
  • Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir until fully combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to serving dishes or bowls, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, cover the dishes or bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Before serving, sprinkle ground cinnamon or pistachios over the top of each dish or bowl if desired.

What Do Tourists To Istanbul Think of Tavuk Göğsü?

Well we can’t speak for all tourists obviously, but we can give you an idea. Most people love it until they find out there is chicken in the dish then they become a little more cautious with their praise of the dessert.

You’ve seriously no idea just how many vegetarians I have seen wolfing down helpings of this dessert over the years of taking trips to Istanbul and Turkey. The number would have to be in the hundreds.

Whilst making your own decision on the edibility of Tavuk Göğsü, why not check out what the awesome team over on the wonderful Beer Before Breakfast Channel on YouTube think!

And while you’re there checking out their channel, do yourself a favor and watch a few more of their travel vlogging videos. You won’t be disappointed!

Absolute Istanbul’s Verdict of this Famous Turkish Chicken Dessert

Honestly, this wouldn’t be our first choice dessert in Turkey but overall, Tavukgöğsü is a delicious and unique dessert that’s worth trying for anyone looking to expand their culinary horizons.

It won’t be for everyone this dessert, but og on and give it a go!

Our favorite version of this dessert is when the serving is topped with ground cinnamon, honey and pistachios. Delicious!

Whether enjoyed on its own, with tea or as part of a Turkish meal, it’s a dish that’s sure to impress with its unexpected flavors and weirdly intriguing ingredients.

Have you tried this Turkish Dessert before? Let us know by sending us through a message on our About Page.

Stay Calm and Tavukgöğsü on! Cheers to all and thanks for reading.

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Is it Tavukgöğsü Or Tavuk Göğsü?

You will see this Turkish Chicken Dessert spelt in both of these ways but generally if it is a Turkish person doing the spelling then it will be written as two separate words.

Is Tavukgöğsü Good For You ?

When you compare this dessert to many, many other desserts from western cultures cuisines then yes, it would have to be said that it is healthy as it is low in saturated fats and sugars and has a high protein level.

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