I have really been looking forward to share this recipe with you. Because red lentil soup is one of my absolute favorites – I really love this soup. In fact I’m just very fond of soups, but this one does have a very special place. Lentil soup is particularly good, because it is healthy and filling, but most of all, that there isn’t so much monkey business about it. It is so easy and straightforward to make (and even very cheap), that it’s nearly unbelievable. A bit onions, a bit carrots, one single potato (or a little rice), water and red lenses. That’s really all !!! Pretty amazing right?
Turkish cooking and soup?
Perhaps soup is not, what you associate most with common Turkish food. But soup has actually a fairly important place in Turkish cooking. For Turks love soup – in all its forms: potato, yoghurt, garlic, lentil, tomato, vegetable, and the ones like Tarhane, iskembe and wedding soup. My husband has tried to convince me, that soup in the summer are particularly good. I don’t agree with that. I certainly do not want something warm, when it’s 40 degrees outside! But it seems that the Turks have a completely different view, because there is always soup on the menu in all restaurants. And lentil soup is also equally suitable whether it’s summer or winter.
Mercimek Çorbası is quite simple lentil soup without too many ingredients. You can also make it in different variants with or without bulgur, rice, spicy sauce, mint and so on.
Red Lentil Soup – honestly?
Now you might think that “lentil – it’s not just me. It is something like 70 eco-fuss from one of the hippie-camps, that does not taste very good “(I have seriously heard exactly that phrase). And so, it may be slightly uphill to convince people, that no, lentils doesn’t tast, smells like fart or whatever it may be. If anything, lentils almost taste a bit of pepper, such a mild aromatic flavor. A little flour maybe, but the acid will take this, when you drip fresh lemon juice over your bowl of soup. A real Turk would not dream of serving this soup without lemon wedges. It just gives it that extra oomph, just to add a few drops of lemon.
I often make a rather large portion, because everyone in our family loves this soup – even the kids. And then there are also some leftovers for lunch the following day. I hope you are as pleased for this soup as I am and maybe want to experiment a little.
How to make Turkish lentil soup:
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium size onion
- 1 medium size potato (or ½ cup rice instead)
- 1 medium size carrot
- 1½ cup red lentils
- 1,5 liter water with a bouillon cube or chicken stock if possible
- salt and pepper
- if you like, you can use 1 tbsp tomato paste or hot pepper paste, if you like to add a bit acis to the soup
- Cut the onion, carrot and potato into meduim size cubes and quickly fry them in the oil.
- If you are using tomato paste in, put it in now.
- Add the lentils, water and broth / stock, and let it cook for about 25 minutes.
- When the soup is done, you can choose to blend the soup, so you get a soft and smooth soup without lumps. If you like a little more structure, you can also simply serve it, as it is with vegetable cubes in (then just remember to cut it into nice small pieces from the start).
If you want the soup thicker or thinner, you can adjust a little the water versus the amount of lenses, depending on what you like the most.