If you love baked potatoes, you’ll definitely love this Turkish kumpir recipe! Although it is originally a street food, you can easily make it at home by following a few very easy steps. Then you will end up with deliciously creamy, cheesy, and flavor-packed loaded baked potatoes. Top them with whatever you like!
We’ve shared several other Turkish street foods here before. The most popular ones are sesame simit, which is the cheapest, cig kofte, doner kebab and lahmajun. Kumpir is yet another street food that is made with baked potatoes and a variety of toppings.
What’s even better about our kumpir recipe is that it is vegetarian! After making the base, you can customize it to your tasting. You can easily make it vegan by substituting the butter and cheese with vegan alternatives, or you can make it meaty by adding some sautéed chicken, cured meats and sausages, or even flakes fish!
Today we will have a look at these versatile stuffed baked potatoes and exactly how to make them. We will also give you some handy tips to ensure your potatoes are soft, fluffy, and creamy. If you want to use some different toppings and need some inspiration, we’ve included some of our favorites too!
What is Kumpir?
Kumpir is basically a baked potato with cheese, Turkish version of the UK’s jacket potatoes. It is an extremely popular Turkish street food that is served with an endless amount of vegetarian and meat toppings, and often a sauce of some sort.
The flesh of the baked potato is used to create a deliciously soft, cheesy, and creamy filling, upon which a bunch of toppings is added. Often the restaurants have a buffet-style setup that allows you to choose toppings on the spot.
The base for a Turkish baked potato recipe always remains the same; large potatoes, butter, cheese and a bit of seasoning.
The toppings however are where these stuffed baked potatoes really get their versatile flavors from. Common toppings you will find in many kumpir restaurants in Turkey include a wide variety of pickles, salads like ezme salad, fried vegetables, hummus, and a variety of sauces like cacik, ketchup, and mayonnaise. Meatier versions include Middle Eastern spicy sausages called sujuk, regular sausages and salami.
Our fully loaded baked potato recipe is completely vegetarian! We use bulgur salad aka kısır, Russian salad*, quick pickled red cabbage, delicious dill pickles, corn, and lastly, a mixture of chopped black and green olives. The flavors of these ingredients are perfectly balanced and will fill you up in no time.
*A note on Russian salad: This is a Turkish style of Olivier salad from Russian cuisine and called Rus Salatasi in Turkey. It is a mixture of diced and boiled potatoes and carrots, sliced dill pickles and boiled peas and mayonnaise. Unlike the original Russian olivier salad, It doesn’t contain any meat or eggs.
This vegetarian kumpir recipe is extremely easy to make and very versatile. You can easily remove, add, or substitute the ingredients and toppings to change the flavor profile to your liking!
First, bake the potatoes. Preheat the oven at 400°F (200°C). Wrap each potato with aluminum foil and bake them for 50-60 minutes or until they are done.
Once fully baked, remove them from the oven and foil. Place the cooked potatoes back into the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up their skins. Allow them to cool a bit before splitting them open with a knife.
Second, stuff the baked potatoes. Use a fork to fluff the inner flesh or the potato, but do not damage the crispy skin.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt to the fluffed potato and mix well.
Gradually add the cheese and keep mixing until it gets creamy.
Add as many toppings as you’d like and serve while still hot.
When choosing potatoes for kumpir, make sure they are nice and big as well as even in size. This way you will ensure that they bake evenly.
When fluffing the potato to make the cheesy filling, the potatoes need to be as hot as you can touch. This way the butter and cheese will melt quickly and create a perfectly smooth and creamy inside.
You can also make use of tongs or rubber washing gloves to handle the hot potato much easier.
To make this kumpir recipe completely vegan, all you have to do is replace the butter and cheese with vegan alternatives.
If you aren’t a big fan of potatoes, you can try using sweet potatoes or orange potatoes instead. They are a healthier substitute and can be used in exactly the same way.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what temperature is a baked potato done?
A perfectly baked potato will have an internal temperature of 210°F (99°C). You can test this with a probe thermometer and insert it into the center of the thickest part of the potato.
Another way to test the doneness is by inserting a knife or cake testing needle into the potato. If it goes in easily and the potato is very soft, it has been fully cooked.
Is it better to bake a potato in the oven or in a microwave?
If you need a potato to cook quickly, using a microwave is definitely a better option.
However, if you have the time and want an extremely soft and fluffy baked potato, it’s best to bake them in the oven. You will also get much crispier skin in an oven than in a microwave.
What are the best baked potato toppings?
Part of what makes a loaded baked potato so great is the wide variety of toppings you can choose from. There isn’t a right or wrong topping – whatever you love the most will be just fine.
However, if you have no idea where to start with toppings, some basic ones include chicken, bacon, salsa, and more cheese!
Wrapping potatoes in foil does not speed up the cooking time, but it does affect how the potato cooks.
For one, the skin doesn’t crisp up when wrapped in foil. We love doing it this way because we can control the amount of crisp after the inside has been baked.
The foil also acts as a packet that helps create and trap steam during the baking process. The steam makes the cooked potato much softer and fluffier compared to unwrapped baked potatoes.
Do you put oil on baked potatoes?
A lot of people say yes, and a lot of people say no – we say that it is entirely up to you. Adding oil to your baked potatoes before baking will help them get crispy skin, especially once the foil has been removed. Adding oil is also a way to add flavor to your kumpir potato.
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