Walk into any Turkish eatery and you’ll find Mercimek Çorbası (lentil soup) on the starter menu. I visited Turkey during their winter and this soup was one of my favourite things to order.
I may have had it daily at lunch, when in the middle of walking around in the cold in the city, my stomach would remind that it needed warming up. This soup was the perfect midday filler, a great start to a dinner meal and, I even had it for breakfast one morning at our hotel as this was one of the offerings on the buffet.
The addition of fresh lemon squeezed over takes the soup to another level of greatness.
When I came back home one of the first things I attempted to recreate was this soup. I put a few of my own little twists on it – like adding a bit more carrot than they do and adding a chilli.
Mercimek Çorbası is hearty, healthy and, very simple to make. It’s also light on the stomach so you may want to consider adding it to your Ramadan menu as a start. Now that Ramadan in South Africa is in the colder months, soup is one of the most welcoming dishes at iftar.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chilli
- 1 tomato
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 stalks celery
- 4 large carrots
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Enough water to cover vegetables while they boil
- Lemons for garnishing
- Saute onion, garlic, and chilli in olive oil until onion has soften and turned golden.
- Add in tomato, carrots celery, tomato, tomato paste, spices, stock and seasoning and cover with water and allow to boil until all the vegetables have softened.
- Once the vegetables are soft, blend the contents of the pot.
- Once it's blended and smooth it's ready to serve.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with crusty, buttered bread.