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Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Soups

Vegetable & Chickpea Soup with a Delicious Twist- Try sautéed Turkish spicy sausage, Sucuk on top! & Istanbul Calling in February!

Vegetables and chickpea soup with sauteed spicy Turkish cured beef sausage slices on top; a delicious twist.

I love a good, hearty soup in winter. With some crusty bread by the side, it can be a meal on its own for me.

Yoghurt soup with bulgur balls, Gaziantep's yuvalama, served at Kiva restaurant, Istanbul.

Soups, -“Corba” in Turkish-, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is also common for this Yayla Corbasi, yoghurt & rice soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes or Mercimek Corbasi, the hearty and delicious lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every town, village and city in Turkey.

Vegetables soup; sebze corbasi; chickpeas add a wonderful texture and taste, and also make the soup more substantial.

We have all been feeling a little under the weather last week and I made this simple, but delicious soup, using the vegetables I had in the fridge. Potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, celery all work wonders when brought together with a drizzle of olive oil, a good quality can of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. The chickpeas also add a wonderful texture and taste, as well as making the soup more substantial. Here again spices take special credit; 1-2 teaspoonful of red pepper flakes will add a lot of flavor naturally to the soup (and the research says red pepper flakes do help you to lose weight! :)

Sliced Turkish cured beef sausage, sucuk ; wonderful when sauteed in olive oil.

But I couldn’t stop there. Once in a while, I do crave our spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk. Shaped like a horseshoe, Sucuk is a cured sausage made with lamb or beef, and flavored with garlic and spices; I love its spicy taste with cumin notes in it (and sucuk is one of the highlights of the Turkish Breakfast!). I decided to add some sautéed sliced Turkish sausage over my vegetable soup. This delicious addition made the soup even more exciting, with all my taste buds having one great feast! I hope you can get Turkish sausage, sucuk, if not, the Spanish chorizo sausage would work well in this soup too. This version is not a traditional Turkish soup; I have experimented using sauteed Turkish sausage here and delighted to see that it worked well.

Here is the recipe for the soup – you can enjoy the vegetarian version or have a go at the one with spicy sausages, sucuk. We had both versions depending on our mood and very much we enjoyed them.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes                        Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

2 medium potatoes, cut in small chunks

2 onions, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, cut in small chunks

4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, cut in small chunks

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

400gr/14oz can of Italian chopped tomatoes

400gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed

1.75lt/3pints/7 ½ cups water (or chicken stock, if you prefer)

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

15ml/ 1tbsp red pepper flakes

For sautéed Sucuk, Turkish cured beef/lamb sausage:

75gr /3oz Turkish cured sausage, Sucuk, quartered and sliced

15 ml, 1 tbsp olive oil

Wedges of lemon to serve

Crusty bread to serve

Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan and stir in the onion; sauté for a few minutes until they begin to color. Then add the rest of the vegetables, toss in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, and combine well.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the water (or stock) and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas – Nohutlu Sebze Corbasi

Add the chopped parsley, (drained and rinsed) cooked chickpeas and the lemon juice, combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes according to your taste, turn the heat off. Your vegetable soup with chickpeas ready; serve hot with plenty crusty bread and a wedge of lemon by the side for extra zing.

Sauteed spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk; adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

If you like to spice up your soup a little more and add a delicious twist, sauté the sliced sucuk, Turkish cured sausage, in a separate pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes. Once they start to change color and sizzle, they are ready.

Vegetable and chickpeas soup with sauteed Turkish cured sausage, sucuk.

Ladle the hot soup into individual serving bowls and stir in the sautéed Turkish sausages over the top. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon and crusty bread by the side.

Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye; delicious Turkish bean stew with spicy Turkish sausage.

More ideas using Sucuk? How about our traditional Bean Stew with Sausages – Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye?  – Such a delicious, wholesome meal; make sure you have plenty of crusty bread near you to mop up all the juices!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul Calling! Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on February 18th 2013 

I will be teaching at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on 18th February, 2013.

I am so very excited to be going back home, Istanbul; can’t wait to take in all the sights, smells and taste in mid-February! I will be returning to the wonderful Istanbul Culinary Institute to teach a Southern Turkish style cookery class on Monday, February 18th. If you are in Istanbul and would like to join us, please take a look at the class details here.

Look forward to many more cay, Turkish tea by the Bosphorus, Istanbul!

I can’t wait to go back to my homeland and look forward sharing what I will see and taste in Istanbul with you here – stay tuned! : )

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Turkish Yoghurt Soup with rice, mint and red pepper flakes; Yayla Corbasi

Delicious, ready to eat soups, casseroles, rice and meat courses at the Fehmi Esnaf Lokantasi, Kadikoy- Istanbul – “slowly cooked fast food”, that we Turks love to indulge.

Soups, -“Corba” in Turkish-, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is very common for this yoghurt soup or the hearty red lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every town, village and city in Turkey.

Yayla corbasi; yoghurt with rice soup, flavoured with dried mint and red pepper flakes

This simple but delicious yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi, originates back to Anatolia’s earliest settlers and nomadic herdsman, and it is one of the most popular soups in Turkey, flavored with dried mint and paprika flakes. Traditionally long grain white rice and butter is used in the recipe, here in this version, I used whole grain basmati rice and used olive oil and butter half and half during our class recently. For gluten-free version, please use gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend.

Yayla Corbasi, ready to eat!

Yayla Corbasi is another good example of how you can add flavor through spices. The mild, plain taste of yoghurt is magically transformed with the red pepper flakes and dried mint infused butter/olive oil, to a different, delicious and refreshing level. I hope you can give it a go sometime.

Fancy more soup? How about Ezo Gelin Corbasi – Daughter-in-law’s spicy lentils and bulgur soup with quinoa or this Tomato and vegetables soup with orzo – Sebzeli seriye corbasi ? They are ready in a short time and can certainly warm you up.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes               Cooking time: 40 minutes

1.2 litres/2pints/5 cups water (you can also use vegetable stock or for non-vegetarian version, meat/chicken stock if you’d like)

150gr/6oz/1 cup whole grain basmati rice, rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

500gr/1 ¼ lb./2 ¼  cups plain, thick and creamy yoghurt (brand Fage works well)

15ml/1 tbsp. plain flour (for gluten-free version, please use gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend)

2 egg yolk

15 ml/1 tbsp. dried mint

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the dried mint & paprika flakes sauce:

30ml/2 tbsp unsalted butter (you can use olive oil instead of butter, if you prefer)

½ tbsp paprika flakes – you can use more for a spicier flavor!-

½ tbsp dried mint

Whole grain basmati rice worked well in the yoghurt soup. Gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend replaced the plain flour really well too.

Bring the water to the boil in a heavy saucepan and add the rice. Stir well and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and has released its starch to thicken the soup. Remove from the heat.

The flour and egg yolks stabilize the yoghurt and keep it from curdling.

Meanwhile in a bowl, combine the yoghurt, flour, egg yolk and beat until smooth (the flour and egg yolks stabilize the yoghurt and keep it from curdling). From the pan, take a cupful of hot stock and whisk it into the mixture. Return the thickened egg mixture to the soup pan, stir in the dried mint and season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir well and simmer gently for another 10 minutes, or until the soup has a creamy consistency.

Dried mint adds a wonderful, refreshing flavor to this yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi.

To make the dried mint and paprika flakes sauce, melt the butter gently in a separate pan on a low heat. Stir in the dried mint and paprika flakes, stir and cook on a very low heat (so that the spices don’t burn) for about 30 seconds, until the spices start to sizzle. Whisk this sauce into the soup.

This dried mint and red pepper flakes infused sauce will transform the taste of our yoghurt based sauce; you can use olive oil instead of butter, if you like.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of extra paprika flakes for a spicier flavor, if you like.

Yayla Corbasi; yoghurt soup with whole grain rice, dried mint and red pepper flakes, ready!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: If you can’t get strained yoghurt, you can make it yourself. Here is Ghillie Basan’s tip for making strained yoghurt: Line a sieve (strainer) with a piece of muslin and spoon creamy, natural yoghurt into it. Allow the excess liquid to drip through the muslin, then transfer the yoghurt from the sieve to a bowl.

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Daughter-in-law's Spicy Lentil and Bulgur Soup (with quinoa) – Ezo Gelin Corbasi

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with a soup. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. This spicy lentil soup is one of my favorites; rich in fiber and protein, very delicious and easy to make. At Waitrose supermarket the other day, I came across with bulgur wheat mixed with red and white quinoa. Quinoa is a grain like crop from South America, rich in protein, iron and potassium; another super food like the bulgur and lentils. I haven’t tried this nutty, wholesome grain before and gave it a try at my spicy lentil soup.

The result was a wonderfully tasty, nutty, wholesome soup, nutritious and affordable. This lentil soup is also a great example of how we add flavor to our dishes thru spices like dried mint and red pepper flakes. Named after the bride “Ezo” who managed to impress her in-laws with this heartwarming soup, it is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! It also freezes very well, so I recommend to make a big batch and freeze some for a heart and soul warming lunch or supper.


Serves 6
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 40 minutes

290 gr/1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
45 ml / 2 tablespoons coarse bulgur wheat and 1 tbsp red and white quinoa, rinsed and drained
Or just 3 tbsp coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
60 ml / 4 tablespoons tomato paste
30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon wedges to serve

Put the lentils, bulgur wheat (and quinoa, if used), onion, carrot and the chicken stock (or water) together in a pan. Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender. Then add the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes and the tomato paste, mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency. Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with lemon wedges and crusty bread aside.

Afiyet olsun and wish you all a good week ahead,

Ozlem

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