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Ezo Gelin Corba; Turkish Spicy Red Lentil and Bulgur Soup

Ezo Gelin Corbasi; Spicy Turkish lentil & bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes; wholesome and delicious

Ezo Gelin Corbasi; Spicy Turkish lentil & bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes; wholesome and delicious

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with them. 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. It is also a great example of how we add flavor to our dishes thru spices. Named after the bride “Ezo” who managed to impress her in-laws with this heartwarming soup, this soup 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.

Note: Red pepper paste, biber salcasi, adds a wonderful, rich flavour to the soup. You can make your own red pepper paste, biber salcasi, with my recipe here. If you prefer not to use red pepper paste, you can increase the amount of tomato paste to 5 tablespoons and the pul biber or red pepper flakes to 3 teaspoons or even more, depending on how spicy you would like.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

Ezo Gelin Corba and many other hearty soups and authentic, wholesome Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, Signed copies are now 20 % OFF  at this link , for a limited time and delivered worldwide including the US and Canada.

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

290 gr/1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
45 ml / 3 tablespoons coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups  water
60 ml / 4 tablespoons tomato paste

15ml/ 1 tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste, biber salcasi
30ml /2 tablespoons olive oil

15ml/1 tablespoon dried mint

Juice of 1 lemon

To Serve:
10 ml / 2 tsp dried mint
5 ml / 1 tsp pul biber, red pepper flakes / paprika flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon wedges to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy, medium-sized pot and stir in the onions. Cook over a medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring often, this will soften the onions. Add the lentils and the water. Cover and bring the pot to the boil. Cook over a medium to low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the bulgur, tomato paste, red pepper paste and dried mint, season with salt and ground black pepper. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes, until the bulgur is cooked. Add some more water if the soup appears to be too thick. Pour in the lemon juice and mix well.

To serve, pour 2 tbsp olive oil in a small pan and stir in the dried mint and pul biber / red pepper flakes. Stir and gently cook over a low heat for about 40 seconds. Pour in this sauce into the soup and combine well.

Serve hot with lemon wedges by the side.

Ezo Gelin Corba; Spicy lentil and bulgur soup; image from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table by Sian Irvine Photography

Afiyet Olsun,


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71 Responses to Ezo Gelin Corba; Turkish Spicy Red Lentil and Bulgur Soup

  1. Alida January 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    This looks so exotic to me. How interesting a spicy lentil soup. It is healthy and filling and great with the cold weather now. A very nice meal.

    • Ozlem Warren January 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Ciao Alida, thank you very much – love this lentil soup, wholesome and so delicious, glad you enjoyed it!

    • Klara March 26, 2020 at 3:58 pm #

      Hi. The most be the most delicious soup I have eaten in a long time. Thank you for posting your recipes.

      • Ozlem Warren March 31, 2020 at 9:43 am #

        You are very welcome, glad you enjoyed it – afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  2. Jo K March 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm #


    I’m just writing to thank you for such an amazing recipe!

    I substituted 2 spoons of tomato paste with 2 spoons of Harissa (red pepper paste) & it was just beautiful!

    I’ve just finished eating it, with some lovely sesame & sunflower bread, and I’m nice & full – truly satisfied!

    This will be a recipe I’ll be using again & again so, thank you 🙂 🙂

    My favourite recipe on the web.

    Jo x

    • Ozlem Warren March 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      Merhaba Jo, thank you so much for the lovely comment, I am delighted to hear you enjoyed the Ezogelin corba, one of my favorites too! I love red pepper paste too, more the better. Many thanks again! : ) Ozlem

      • Jo Kelly March 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        Thank you! It was truly amazing & even better the next day 🙂

        My Grandfather was born in North Cyprus & we’ve visited there many times. I loved the food but never been able to find recipes that liken their food. This is just perfect. Thank you x

        • Ozlem Warren March 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

          Merhaba Jo, thank you so much for the feedback – the soup does get better the next day! it may thicken more, so you may like to add a little more water if you like. I am very glad the recipe brings good memories, some great food in N.Cyprus, I hope you keep on experimenting. Please let me know if I can help further, it would be a pleasure : ) Ozlem

  3. elizabeth June 12, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    Is the 10ml red pepper flakes, crushed red pepper or powdered sweet paprika?

    • Ozlem Warren June 12, 2013 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by; you can use the crushed red pepper flakes (if you can get the Turkish red pepper flakes, they have a nice smoky flavor) if not I would use chilli flakes or paprika. I like the flakes more than the powdered version, as they have more natural flavor. Hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other question, enjoy the soup!

      • elizabeth June 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

        I haven’t seen “paprika” flakes here. I have some red pepper flakes labeled “aleppo”, maybe I’ll try that. I just thought that 2t sounded like it might be too much for this recipe, but I’ll give it a try, I really like red lentil soups. Thanks.

        • Ozlem Warren June 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

          Aleppo red pepper flakes would be ideal, I use them a lot too. This soup is traditionally enjoyed spicy, if you like it less spicy, you can always start with 1 tsp and add more if you wish. One of my favorite soups, hope you enjoy it. Best wishes, Ozlem

  4. Crissie July 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    I am so happy to have found your site! I fell in love with a Turkish Red Lentil soup at a local restaurant here in Virginia, and have been trying to find one that rivals it. This does and more! Thank you!

    • Ozlem Warren July 18, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks Crissie, so glad you enjoyed it, this spicy lentil soup is one of my favorites too, afiyet olsun!

  5. Lisa December 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    This looks so good and nutritious. I’m going to make it this weekend. I might try using Aleppo pepper and Urfa pepper that I brought back from Istanbul. Thanks! Lisa

    • Ozlem Warren December 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Merhaba Lisa, glad you’ll give it a go – your Urfa or Aleppo peppers would work great with Ezo GeLin corba, afiyet olsun!:) Ozlem

  6. Kholoud December 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm #


    Thank you so much for the soup recipe. I’ve just made it, tastes amazing!!! I added a can of butter beans also. xoxo

    • Ozlem Warren December 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Merhaba, you are very welcome – your addition of beans sounds wonderful!

  7. aipheng @ thetrishaw January 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Merhaba, Ozlem. I just came back from Turkey few days ago and I’m planning to recreate the red lentil soup we had almost everyday. This one looks as yummy and similar to the ones we had. Is it possible to omit or replace bulgur wheat? And will it be okay to use fresh mint instead of dried?

    • Ozlem Warren January 8, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      Merhaba, many thanks for stopping by; so glad you enjoyed Ezogelin corba in Turkey. Bulgur is traditionally added to this soup, though if you’d like to make your own version, sure you can omit it – I also made another version where I added quinoa, it was delicious. I would advise dried mint to use as the spice but if you can’t get it, you can finely chop fresh mint and enjoy that way too. I would be curious how your experiment goes, good luck! Please let me know if I can help further – afiyet olsun!

  8. Hilary Shadroui May 1, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Marhaba Ozlem,

    Thanks for this lentil soup recipe. The best lentil soup I have ever had was in the suq in Van one winter morning. I tried to re-create it many times–your recipe is the closest. I have to say that among the best food I have ever eaten were simple street meals that I had in Turkey. A big thank you to all good-cooking Turks!

    I have been following a vegan diet for over a year now. I am interested in your vegan recipes.

    All the best

    • Ozlem Warren May 1, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Merhaba Hilary, many thanks for your kind note. Your ezogelin corba in Van must be so memorable, I am glad to hear you enjoy this recipe. You may also like to put a little red pepper paste for a spicier kick. I agree with you, nothing quite beats Turkish street food for me too. I’d be delighted to share more vegan recipes here, hope you enjoy them. Selamlar, Ozlem

  9. vicky July 2, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Love this soup it tastes just like summer holidays in bitez THANKYOU for all your wonderful recipes just yummmmmm xxx

    • Ozlem Warren July 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Many thanks for your kind note Vicky, so glad to hear you enjoyed Ezo Gelin corba and recipes : ) Afiyet olsun!

  10. Trevor July 19, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    This looks absolutely delicious – I’ll be making it this coming week, hopefully! Been collecting soup recipes from around the world – this one is now at the top of the ‘Must make’ list for Turkey! 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren July 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

      Many thanks Trevor, hope you enjoy it!

    • Ozlem Warren July 21, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Many thanks for your kind words Trevor, hope you enjoy this favorite soup of ours!

  11. Lena October 15, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    I was looking for a “different” lentil soup recipe when I came across yours. I add cinnamon and lemon juice at the end and sometimes a couple of hot cherry peppers but never thought of adding bulghur wheat. I’m going to try that now! Thanks for the wonderful recipes and website, fantastic. I have subscribed already.

    • Ozlem Warren October 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Dear Lena, many thanks for your kind comment; bulgur is a major staple especially in southern Turkish cuisine and goes so well in the soup with lentils. Dried mint, red pepper flakes and lemon juice add a lot of flavor, hope you enjoy it – many thanks for joining us!

  12. Mallory December 8, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    Merhaba, Ozlem! This soup is AMAZING!! Çok tesekküredderim!! 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren December 8, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Merhaba Mallory, delighted to hear it – afiyet olsun!:)

  13. Sam December 9, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I love ezogelin ćorba but really im dying to get a good recipe for su boregi..benim en sevdin yemek!ben istanbulda yaśiyorum..herśey ćok guzel

  14. AN March 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    Is there a reason why u should not sauté the onion first, (especially with the tomato paste and pepper flakes?)

    • Ozlem Warren March 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

      Merhaba and thank you for stopping by; I love the simplicity of this soup with ingredients still tasting delicious cooked in water or stock. You can saute onions at first if you like. But also we add flavor once the lentils & bulgur cooked with olive oil and spices, so abundance of delicious flavors there at the finished soup.

  15. Cook with Sally April 21, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    i love this soup I sure will make one day. I was brought up with a soup call chorba, but this sound lovely. Thank you

    • Ozlem Warren April 21, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      Hi Sally, thank you so much for stopping by – corba is the generic term we use for soups in Turkish, how nice you enjoy them. This lentil soup is one of our favorites, it is delicious, wholesome and really easy, hope you enjoy it 🙂 Ozlem x

  16. Dana January 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Wow, this soup is amazing, thank you for the recipe. All the best!

    • Ozlem Warren January 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

      Merhaba Dana, many thanks for your note, love, love Ezogelin corba too! so glad you enjoyed it, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  17. Elaine Laskowski January 15, 2017 at 12:21 am #

    Made this today and it is a fabulous, delicious soup. Just as delicious as any I have had at any Turkish restaurant. Easy and delicious. Everyone should try this, you won’t be disappointed.

    • Ozlem Warren January 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

      Merhaba dear Elaine, thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed Ezo Gelin Corba!

  18. Kara January 29, 2017 at 1:47 am #

    This is my favorite soup to make. I make it all the time. So easy and so delicious!

  19. Glorimar February 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    My daughters exclaimed “this is the best soup you have ever made”. I have made it 2 times so far and they love it.

    • Ozlem Warren February 22, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Many thanks, so glad you and your daughter enjoyed Ezo Gelin Corba! Afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  20. Elaine Laskowski March 2, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    I have been sick with the flu and could not get warm, so I thought of this spicy soup that is quick and easy. Just had a bowl and am warmed from head to toe. Besides the warming up, I LOVE this soup. If you like spicy foods you just have to make this recipe. 45 minutes from start to eating a delicious bowl of delicious soup. Keep these recipes coming, I love Turkish food.

    • Ozlem Warren March 4, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you so much Elaine, delighted that you enjoyed Ezo Gelin Corba!

  21. Abdul Waheed Khurram March 22, 2017 at 10:53 am #

    I love Turkish Food. There is a great information about Ezogelin Soup on this page. Keep the good work up…

  22. nancy October 23, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    I am going to make this soup on Saturday for our foodie meetup. This month’s theme is “A Sultan’s Feast” being hosted by one of our members who is from Turkey.

    I love red lentils so I am sure this will be tasty.

    • Ozlem Warren October 29, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

      Merhaba dear Nancy, I hope you enjoyed Ezo Gelin Corba; one of my all time favorites! What a lovely foodie meet up you have, I am sure you had a delicious feast, afiyet olsun! Ozlem

  23. marika December 7, 2017 at 3:46 am #

    What an interesting recipe! I cook lentil soup weekly, every time different and now your recipe! Thank you! I love the idea of tomato paste (I use tomatoes, but tomato paste in borsch) and lemon juice and … no carrots? Can’t wait to try! Though I will have to substitute bulghur with one or the other gluten free grain. Maybe amaranth, quinoa or millet. warm wishes!

    • Ozlem Warren December 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

      Merhaba Marika, many thanks for your note, enjoy Ezo Gelin Corbasi; quioa works well instead of bulgur as a gluten-free option. We don’t add carrots to this one but we do add to our lentil soup, mercimek corbasi. Afiyet Olsun! Ozlem

  24. Yvonne December 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm #


    Lovely recipes – thank you. Congratulations on your cookbook – it’s beautiful.

    I would like to make this recipe, using black beluga lentils as a substitute. I prefer to use these lentils in place of the red. Do you think these would be OK for this recipe?

    • Ozlem Warren December 19, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

      Merhaba Yvonne, thank you for your kind note – I can’t see why not for using beluga lentils – the taste will be different though, if you don’t mind. I would love to hear how you get on! Best wishes, Ozlem

  25. Jennifer D March 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm #

    I love this recipe! I make it all the time. I used to use the one in Sultan’s Table (also very good) but this is so much less prep and equally delicious. Thank you so much! I look forward to getting your cookbook!

    • Ozlem Warren March 20, 2019 at 5:36 pm #

      Merhaba Jennifer, delighted to get your note and that you enjoy this recipe – one of our favorites too!I hope you enjoy my book, packed with easy, authentic Turkish recipes, Afiyet Olsun – signed copies can be ordered here – many thanks!:

  26. Nergis October 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm #

    Corbayi yaptim. Harika bir tarif. Ellerinize emeginize saglik.

    • Ozlem Warren October 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

      Merhabalar sevgili Nergis,

      Cok tesekkur ederim icten notunuz icin, cok sevindim corbayi begendiginize, afiyetler olsun. Sevgilerimle, Ozlem

  27. Caroline January 1, 2020 at 2:07 am #

    I was thrilled to find this recipe here. I was travelling in Istanbul and tasted this soup one morning and was hooked. Once I got home, I started googling for a recipe so that I could recreate this delicious soup at home. This soup is so easy to make and yet the flavours are so complex and delicious. Love it! Thanks

    • Ozlem Warren January 3, 2020 at 5:04 pm #

      Merhaba dear Caroline,

      So glad you enjoyed making Ezo Gelin corbasi, one of my favorite soups, as you say, so easy yet so delicious and wholesome, so glad you enjoyed my recipe.

      If you love authentic Turkish recipes, my cookery Ozlem’s Turkish Table has over 90 authentic recipes and stunning photography. Signed copies are delivered worldwide at this link, there is also kindle and other options, if you’d like to check out here:

      Afiyet Olsun,

  28. Deborah Kivrak January 8, 2020 at 7:13 pm #

    First time ive made this soup Ozlem.Very nice indeed. Ive eaten it out several times. Have made a batch for the freezer so Ramazan can have it anytime.

    • Ozlem Warren January 9, 2020 at 3:59 pm #

      Merhaba dear Deborah, so glad to get your note and that you enjoyed my Ezo Gelin Corba recipe, Afiyet Olsun, one of my favourites too.

      Hope you are all well – still full of wonderful memories of Kalkan and our Turkish lunch/demonstration at your lovely Villa Cennet Bahcesi last year. I am planning to return to Fethiye and Kalkan early May, let me know if you’d like to host another cookery demo & Turkish lunch with me.

      My best wishes to you and Ramazan Bey,
      Ozlem xx

  29. Christine December 15, 2022 at 11:16 pm #

    I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to leave a note! I have made this recipe many, many times over the years, and it always gets a great reception! I just made it again tonight for a friend recovering from an injury. I’m sure you’ll love the soup.

    • Ozlem Warren December 16, 2022 at 2:20 pm #

      Merhaba dear Christine,

      Ah, such a kind note – and making this soup for your friend recovering is such a kind gesture – cok tesekkur ederim, Afiyet Olsun!

  30. Ozlem Warren July 18, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    thanks for the link!

  31. Sam December 9, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Tessekur ederim Ozlem!:)


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