Zirfet – a Kurdish food

Zirfet, is just one of the names for this, one of my favorite favorite favorite of Kurdish foods.

It is basically a bread dish, made in the oven.  First the dough is made and put into a pan, much like a pie crust.  After the bread is baked for a short while,  it is taken out and the middle of the pan is cut out into little pieces and mixed with yogurt and some spices.  It’s heaven!

The people of Anatolian cultures, which for hundreds and hundreds of years, existed and developed in the area that is called Eastern Turkey today, share many things between the distinct cultural heritages of the people in the Middle East and Central Asia today.  One of them is the variations of foods.  Zirfet, which is the Zaza name for this dish, has its names in Kurmanji as well – which is the Kurdish Northern language dialect where most of the Kurds of the region which is Turkey today live.

I was introduced to Zirfet twice.  Once in San Francisco by a Kurdish family who was granted asylum in the US from the Elazig area of Dersim. The family speaks Kurmanji and were culturally Sunni Muslim and secular.  I had the privilege of tasting Zirfet that day in their home, coupled with the big-hearted hospitality that Kurds give.  I couldn’t stop eating the Zirfet until they practically had to roll me out of the house.

The second time I had the pleasure of consuming Zirfet was when I visited a group of Dersim people who had been granted asylum in the Netherlands.  I visited the Netherlands and Turkey in 2008, to do research on Dersim cultural survival and had the privilege of meeting these wonderful people.  I won’t say that the Zirfet they made for me made it more awesome than not.  Let’s just say that I loved Zirfet again!

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