Lentil

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish red lentil soup is undoubtedly one of the most frequently made soups in our house. More so in fall, when our palates demand foods more comforting and warming. Or, perhaps, because this soup is highly evocative of fall itself, with it colors matching the color palette of the leaves slowly falling off the trees and weaving a beautiful carpet on the ground. I learned how to make this soup from my Turkish friend Seda, when I had just married and had just plunged into the world of Turkish cooking, which I now love with passion -  as much as I love Azerbaijani food.  In Turkey, this soup has numerous variations, but most stick to the use of the same ingredients. Here’s how I make mine, two ways.  Choose one that speaks to your heart louder than the other and enjoy!

TURKISH RED LENTIL SOUP (Mercimek Corbasi)

Serves 4

1 cup red lentils
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups water
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste (you can also add hot red pepper flakes for added heat)
1-2 tablespoons butter

To Drizzle - this step is optional, done for a prettier presentation.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
about 1/3 teaspoon paprika

To Serve:
lemon wedges
bread

Variation 1:

Put the red lentils, onion, potato, carrot, tomato paste, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until all the ingredients are soft. Remove any froth that may rise to top. Stir frequently to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour the soup into a blender and puree. Put the pureed soup back in the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the butter and stir. For a law-calorie soup, do not add any butter.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Now, heat the butter or oil in a small frying pan. When it is hot, add the paprika and stir. It will sizzle. Remove from the heat. Drizzle some of this mixture over soup in the bowls. To serve, squeeze some lemon juice on top. Serve with bread.

Variation 2:
Here, the onions are fried in butter with tomato paste, and this adds a whole new dimension to the soup.

Put the red lentils, potato, carrot and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, while you prepare the onion. Remove any froth that may rise to top.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium frying pan. Add the onion and saute until it just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the onoin-tomato paste to the saucepan with the other ingredients, and cook together, for about 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft. Pour the soup into a blender and puree. Put the pureed soup back in the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Now, heat the butter or oil in a small frying pan. When it is hot, add the paprika and stir. It will sizzle. Remove from the heat. Drizzle some of this mixture over soup in the bowls. To serve, squeeze some lemon juice on top. Serve with bread.

NOTE 1: This soup thickens as it stands. Loosen with some hot water.

NOTE 2: If you do not have a blender or, if you prefer a chunkier soup, just cook using either recipe, but grate the carrots and potatoes on a coarse side of a box grater and chop the onion very finely.

If you are hungry for more red lentil soup recipes, here are additional links for you from some of my favorite Turkish food bloggers. Enjoy!

Give Recipe
Almost Turkish
Turkish Food Passion
NY’s Delight