Sunday, 18 September 2011

Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi)

Hello! I'm back and fully refreshed after a wonderful trip to Turkey. The holiday itself was wonderful, filled with much amazing Turkish food, lots of relaxation and some very wonderful days out. I also return a newly engaged woman, as the other half rather foolishly asked if he could become Mr Crumbs For Dinner.

Inspiration often strikes in the place you most recently visited. In my case this trip to Turkey yielded many ideas to try, but this was the recipe I wanted to make the most. While I have eaten this soup before on many an occasion, being in Turkey for the end of Ramadan meant that it was more prevalent than usual as it is often one of the soups used to break the fast at the end of the day.

I roughly blended all my ingredients before finally adding the lentils to slowly cook for a slightly more rustic texture, but it's up to you how chunky or smooth you make it. I used chicken stock for this, but if you want to make the recipe vegetarian, subsitute for a good quality vegetable stock. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice when you're ready to eat makes the soup even more delicious.

Ingredients (serves 4):
125g red lentils
1 medium onion
2 small carrots
2 garlic cloves
1 small baking potato
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried mint
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

Finely dice the carrot and onion, and, in a deep saucepan, slowly fry in a little olive oil until the onion is soft and translucent. Peel and roughly slice the garlic, then add to the pan with the cumin and mint and fry for a further couple of minutes. Peel and dice the potato into small chunks, then cook for a minute or so. Add the stock and simmer for 25 minutes to half an hour - until the carrot and potato is soft.

While the base of the soup is simmering, weigh out and rinse the lentils then set aside. When the base of the soup is cooked, allow to cool a little then, in batches, roughly blend and transfer back to the saucepan. Add the lentils and if it is very thick, a little extra water and simmer for up to an hour. 

When you're ready to eat, transfer the soup into bowls and serve with a wedge of lemon on the side. It is delicious with some fresh bread to mop up any remainders.


  1. Sounds good! I had Turkish food last night, yum. Do you use dried or pre-soaked lentils?

  2. Oh my! Massive congratulations to you! What lovely news :) xx

  3. thank you :) xx

  4. I love Turkish food! I used dried red lentils, which I rinsed but didn't soak. Red lentils soften very quickly, so there's no need to pre-soak them.

  5. I can't wait to try this. I love this soup and eat it a lot at Turkish restaurants (of which we have many in N4!)

  6. it's excellent isn't it? i'm just down the road in holloway so there's an abundance of turkish restaurants around here too. can you recommend any around your neck of the woods?

  7. Hala on Harringay Green Lanes is great but to be honest, they're all pretty good. Gokyuzu is brilliant for grilled meats, Hala does beautiful borek. I made the soup for lunch and it was fabulous - amazing how much a squirt of lemon juice perks up the flavour. Thank you!