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Ceremonial Keşkek tradition, Keške
Tokat keshkek.jpg
A Keşkek meal from Tokat, Turkey
CountryTurkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia
RegionEurope and North America
Inscription history
Inscription2011 (6th session)

Keşkek, also known as Kashkak, Kashkek, Keške and Helîse is a sort of ceremonial meat or chicken and wheat or barley stew found in Turkish, Iranian Greek cuisine and Balkan.

In 2011, Keşkek was confirmed to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turkey by UNESCO.[1][2]


The first reference detected so far to the dish in a written source can be found in a copy of Danishmendname dating back to 1360.[3] It is documented in Iran and Greater Syria as early as the 15th century[citation needed] and it is still consumed by many Iranians around the world.

The origins of this dish ultimately allude to Kashk, which, in 16th- to 18th-century Iran had sheep's milk added to wheat or barley flour and meat, mixed in equal parts.[4] Keşkek is traditional for wedding meals in Turkey.

Under the name of κεσκέκ, κεσκέκι and κισκέκ (keskék, keskéki, and kiskék), it is a festival dish in Lesbos[5] and among Pontian Greeks.[6] In Lesbos, keşkek is prepared on summer nights when a ceremonial bull is being slaughtered, which is then cooked overnight and eaten next day with wheat.[7]

Keşkek is called "haşıl" in Northeast and Middle Anatolia regions in Turkey. In Turkey, it is a common dish and frequently consumed during religious festivals, weddings[8] or funerals, which is also the case for Iran.

The Slavic word kasha may have been borrowed from the Persian کَشک‎ : kishk.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Nomination file 00388
  2. ^ "Turkish dish and Korean tightrope walking join UN intangible heritage list", UN News Center 28 November 2011
  3. ^ Nişanyan Dictionary, etymology of Keşkek
  4. ^ see Aubaile-Sallenave
  5. ^ Caragh Rockwood - Fodor's Greece 1997
  6. ^ Κεσκέκ (Παραδοσιακό ποντιακό φαγητό)
  7. ^ Greece, by Paul Hellander, Lonely Planet series
  8. ^ "Ceremonial Keskek Tradition".
  9. ^ Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, p. 314


  • Françoise Aubaile-Sallenave, "Al-Kishk: the past and present of a complex culinary practice", in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4. excerpts

External links[edit]