The cooking has been so, so over the summer. At least what the Turkish part concerns … Or … We always make Turkish food from time to time, but I haven’t had al that spirit to experiment, try to invent or correct some of my usual dishes, so that they were suitable for writing down and presented to you.
Fortunately, this changed last weekend, when my mother-in-law came to visit and was a the saving angel. For yes .. my mother in law is totally invaluable and good at creating peace and quiet – just by her pure presence. Ever so nice quality topossess right ?? And very love-worthy too..
Mother in law always saves everything:
She was only with us for 3 days, but we made so much food. We always like to work in the kitchen together. In fact, she is one of very few people, I can work together with. With just about everyone else, I often find it very stressful or annoying, because often you don’t have the same routines. With mother-in-law there are no problems. It alwaysgoes smothly.
Unfortunately she doesn’t cook that often, which is a real shame. Because she is very good at it and can create delicious things with even the fewest ingredients. But I have been learning from her for many years now, so she is happy to pass on and look, what I’m puzzling with.
So she completely agreed to the idea, when I asked her, if we could make Ezogelin Corbasi – a delicious soup filled with red lentils, onions, rice and bulgur. It reminds a lot about the common Mercimekli corbasi – lentil soup, which you must have tasted several times in Turkey. Because it is very good. But this is a tooth better. Just saying …
When praise is justified:
I first got Ezogelin soup, when I was in Turkey in this spring and visited a lovely little restaurant in Kaleici. Unfortunately, I have forgotten what the restaurant is called, but you should not be cheated for pictures of the food. The waiter recommended the soup for it was just freshly prepared by their good cook from Gaziantep. And I have never tasted as wonderful a soup as this. He said, it was a Mercimek corbasi lentil soup from southeastern Turkey. However, it was different from what I have previously tasted. So I found out, that it had to be Ezogelin soup. Of course, I had to try to find the right version. And the soup was good – really good.
If you regularly follow my blog, you may already know, that my husband is not the one who praises right and left. Should we say that he saves a little on the real compliments. Not that he is not enthusiastic or grateful. He just saves a little on the big glosses. I have often mentioned to him, that he is simply too well used for good food at home. And fortunately he agrees. But this soup he praised. And for several days in a row, even !!! I still have difficulty getting over it actually 😀
But as mentioned before, Ezogelin soup tastes a lot like lentil soup. It only has that extra, that gives it a little more taste and fullness. This is probably due to the bulgur, but also that there is actually a considerable amount of mint in.
Spearmint in soup?
“Spearmint” you may think. “I do not like that in food – only in Mojito’s”. And yes, I tend to agree (at least especially after I was quite sick after a lot of mojitos). But the spearmint in Turkish cooking is just not the same. Mint used here is dried spearmint and it tastes a little more like … hmm .. toothpaste maybe. So in the good way.
My husband is not at all fond of mint, but has soften on this point while aging. Now it’s more acceptable. And this soup surprisingly tastes not a lot of mint. It just adds an extra boost to the taste buds. For you must add mint in the Ezogelin soup. Remember it …
And then you can make the soup completely as spicy as you like. There must be pepper paste in (I didn’t because I did not have any) and if you choose the strong variant you can poke it up or down as you like. It’s quite nice, I think.
The fact that the food and the soup is more or less hot and spicy usually means that, the dish origins from the southeastern part of Turkey. And that’s also the case with this Ezogelin soup. There is actually a sweet little story behind it and like so many other Turkish legends, it involves something with a beautiful lady, unhappy love and melancholy.
Spicy lentil soup with a history:
“Gelin” means Turkish bride and “Ezo” was the nickname of a girl called “Zöhre”. She was a very beautiful lady, who was famous far and wide in the Gaziantep region for her beauty. Of course, it also meant, that she got many suitors. But she chose a young man from the neighboring village. They were very happy for many years until he allegedly disappeared during the war. Ezo was extremely sad and declined in the years after all marriage proposals that came from near and far.
The sadness made her only look more beautiful and after 6 years she found a new man, lived happily and had many children with him. After a few years, the family had to move to Syria, which caused Ezo’s sadness to resume. She asked for – and was allowed to be buried in her native country, when that time came. In Turkey there is a very melancholic folk song about the beautiful Ezo. In her happy year, she just made this Ezogelin soup for her husband and children. It was like her signature dish.
Today, Ezogelin soup is a very common soup throughout Turkey. It is not smooth and nice as the lentil soup usually is, but must have a slightly rough texture from the whole bulgur and the rice. Just try it, because I’m sure you’ll love it too. It has at least gone directly to a pure number 1 on my Turkish “soup-hit list”. And my husband, children and not least mother-in-law were more than enthusiastic.
And so many words just for a soup recipe… Thank you for joining 😉
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 small onions, (finely chopped)
- 2 small garlic cloves, (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp pepper paste, (strong or not)
- 1 tsp chili flakes, (“Pul biber”)
- 1 medium tomato, (peeled and chopped)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 small handfull rice, (I use whole brown rice)
- 1,2 ltr chicken broth, (or beef broth if you want it a bit more powerfull)
- 1/4 cup coarse bulgur, (the one you can use as rice aswell)
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, (cut in wedges)
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp chili flakes
1: Warm the oil and butter in a medium-sized saucepan
2: Add the chopped onions and garlic and stir at low heat for 5 minutes until they are soft (but not brown)
3: Add tomato paste, pepper paste, tomatoes, pepper and chili to the onion. Stir well.
4: Add the lentils and rice together with the water and the broth.
5: Put on the lid and let it boil for good heat for about 35 minutes. Now, some of the lenses should be cooked and the soup becomes more uniform.
6: Add bulgur and mint and possibly a little more water if the soup is too thick. Boil for about 10 minutes.
1: melt the butter in a small saucepan at low heat.
2: Add the spices and stir around
3: Serve the soup into suitable bowls and sprinkle some of the butter mixture over.
4: Server together with flute and lemon wedges.
-Do not despair if the soup feels a bit thick and lumpy. It should be. Just let the red lenses boil well with quite high heat first, before you stir in bulgur. Then it will look a little better.
-Make plenty of soup. You would also like to eat it for lunch the next day. Or the following day. And the day after and ..
– If necessary, dilute the soup with a little water if it becomes too thick. Especially if you have made extra and it has been refrigerated a night or two. So, the soup most of all reminds me of a rather thick porridge. Porridge is an ok association for this soup. It just has to be a thin porridge …
And remember to make the butter / spice sauce dripping over. It’s really delicious and you can make it as mint-like or strong as you want …