Monday, October 22, 2007

Turkish Cuisine: Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası (Red Lentil Soup)

I think every Turkish housewife knows how to make this soup, although each region of the country has its own little twist to the recipe. It has a particular taste that can only be achieved by adhering to it precisely, so don't be tempted to add another vegetable or a little bit of this and that. It just won't be Turkish Red Lentil Soup anymore.

We like to make this during the autumn season. It is so quick and easy. The veggies do not have to be chopped fine since they are blended later AND it is another kid-friendly dish.

If you make it and enjoy it, DO share with us. Pictures are always welcome.

Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası
(Red Lentil Soup) yields 6 to 8 servings

1 medium onion peeled and diced
1 medium potato peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot chopped in rounds
1/2 cup dry rice
3/4 cup dry red lentils
2 tablespoons tomato paste
approx. 6 to 8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (you can use 2 t chili powder instead
but it will alter the taste slightly)
salt/pepper to taste

Sauce Ingredients:
1 lemon
1/2 cup real butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons paprika

Saute onion in oil in a large pot.
Add next six ingredients.
Fill pot of veggies half full with water.
Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to simmer for 30 minutes.
As the soup thickens, add more water until the pot is almost full.
Turn off and let the soup cool.
Puree with a blender.
Add the spices-cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Sauce instructions:
Melt butter slowly in a saucepan and add olive oil.
Add paprika and blend with a whisk.
Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle sauce over the top.
Serve lemon slices on the side for squeezing into the soup.

Afiyet olsun.

Phyllis in Russia just sent in this picture of her little cutey enjoying the Turkish Red Lentil Soup that she made with her dear mama.


  1. Sounds delish! Great way to get kids to eat veggies.
    I keep thinking of you when I hear all the talk of war with the Kurds. I'm hoping you and your family are safe.

  2. Hmmm... I make a lentil soup that sort of similar, but not blended and no rice. Guess that makes it not very similar, huh? ;) I'm wondering if the blended rice winds up a bit grainy. What's the texture like when it's finished? My husband loves lentils - maybe I'll try this out. Soup season is upon us here in Ohio! :)

  3. I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Even my five year old, Peregrine, liked it and said it was "one of his best meals"! I determined to follow the recipe precisely, but realized I had no potatoes and had to put in a sweet potato instead. So, it may not have been "the real thing" but it was good! I made fresh pita bread to eat with it.
    Later in the evening I went out to put the chickens in their coop for the night (they get to roam the yard during the afternoon) and saw several big potatoes that had grown in the compost pile! The chickens must have unearthed them.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I'll make it again.

  4. Linda,

    I made this last night - per your recipe.

    My husband and I LOVED it! I'm 9 months pregnant, so this must have met some craving. :) It was a tad spicy for the time I'll probably cut the red pepper for them...


  5. I'm so happy you liked it!

    Holly, the red pepper measurement is flexible because some brands are more potent than others. It should just have a very slight kick to it. (My husband likes lots of kick)

    Ladies, I have not been able to visit wordpress blogs for several weeks because Turkey is blocking them due to a negative remark on a wordpress blog about a particular islamic teacher. Sigh...

    Please keep us in your prayers. I always say being in God's will is the safest place to be. Thank you for your loving concern.

  6. Holly6.11.07

    Very good, Linda. I will keep that in mind! :)

  7. I can't wait to try this recipe thanks :)
    I'm linking this on my foodpage and letting my mum and sister know as well,your blog is lovely.Have a great day..

  8. We made it tonight. Yum! I sent you photos. :-) I love your recipes, because we can usually get the ingredients here. Actually red lentils are the only ones we've been able to find lately. Most of my usual recipes turn out a little different than what we're used to when made with red. I think this will become one of our usuals. :-) Thanks!

  9. Anonymous20.11.07

    Raia's Baba in North Carolina agrees!! She is a cutey and the soup sounds yummy!! We will try it!

  10. We love lentils and I cannot wait to try your recipe! My uncle and his family were stationed in Turkey for a while during the first gulf war and loved it there. We are a family of six (soon 7) and I've really enjoyed browsing your blog!

  11. Anonymous17.3.08

    Made it...loved it...

  12. Anonymous28.12.08

    I have made this recipe several times now and it has become a family favorite. I've even gone so far as to pass out a copy of it at our HS park day to some other moms--some of whom spent time in Turkey.

    Thanks for the vegetarian goodie!

  13. I make this soup quite often here in Berlin, where mercimek çorbasi is something of a local favorite. I sometimes use a pepper paste that I can get here in the Turkish markets instead of or in addition to the crushed pepper (depending on how spicy the paste is). I've seen lots of recipes for this, but this one is the one I keep coming back to. Thanks!

  14. this is THE BEST SOUP EVER. i LOVE it, i CRAVE it..seriously. thank you so much for this recipie!