A light marshmallow-y treat from The Turkish Deli
The first thing you’ll notice about The Turkish Deli’s banana and cocoa pasha is that it’s green—bright green, the colour of alpine moss or Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street after a spruce up. The second is that, unlike its firm, cubed, icing sugar-blanketed Turkish delight neighbours, pasha is almost fluffy, and comes in a beautiful snail-like whorl.
Don’t be put off by the colour—Graham, owner of The Turkish Deli, was when it arrived here from Turkey. “I asked, why is it not yellow? And the man who makes it said, well I can dye it yellow for you, but this is its natural colour.” Only then did Graham remember: in Turkey, the bananas are green. Even ripe bananas? We ask wonderingly, glancing back at the pile of sunshine yellow fruit, some green at the tips, some brown speckled, at Paul Wheeler Fresh Supplies. “Even ripe ones. They are very small and sweet, and the concentrate is even greener.”
Pasha is not a form of Turkish delight: it’s set with violet water rather than corn starch, and where Turkish delight is many hundreds of years old, this soft, sweet number is relatively new. “Though it’s made in the same place as our Turkish delight,” says Graham—Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and the alleged birthplace of Turkish delight, the Sultan’s favourite sweet.
Creamy, marshmallow-y mixture
To make pasha, violet water is whipped with sugar until it transforms into a creamy, marshmallow-y mixture. Producers proudly roll this out in their shop window and fashion it into a variety of shapes, colours and flavours.
Do try the plain: it’s a subtle experience, best described as “like marshmallow, but really good”—but we enjoy the ripe punch of banana, each layer laced with cocoa, bringing a brooding, smooth, bitter-sweet foil to the creamy pasha. Add some Turkish coffee (iced, mercifully) and you’ve the perfect elevenses for a heatwave: light, fruity, and airy.