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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. Over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, Signed copies and all options (ebook, kindle etc) available at this link; Signed copies are delivered worldwide including US and Canada.

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 (please add some more water or stock if you like your soup thinner).

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,


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

  1. Turkey's For Life December 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Love yayla çorbası so will try your recipe. The food in that lokanta looks good, too. Will look that up next time we’re in Istanbul…sometime in 2013…it feels so far away. 🙂

    • Ozlem December 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Merhaba Julia; Fehmi lokantasi in Kadikoy is really good – well there is Ciya there too, so you might as well have a feast ; ) – just a nice, old fashioned lokanta, well worth stopping by. hope you enjoy the yayla recipe! x ozlem

      • Bo February 12, 2024 at 8:16 pm #

        The best Yayla Çorbası ever. My turkish husband and all his friends who have tasted your recipe say they’ve never eaten such a good Yayla. Thank you for all the recipes, I have also your book and it’s awesome!

  2. joyce December 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    that first photo is gorgeous! i can’t wait to try this soup!

    • Ozlem December 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      lovely to hear from you Joyce, thank you! it is a wholesome, delicious soup. hope you enjoy it, xx Ozlem

  3. Joy @My Turkish Joys December 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Yayla is one of my favorite soups! I’ve never attempted to make at home yet, but I do like it order it out. I’ll bookmark this for a wintery day! 🙂

    • Ozlem December 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Thank you Joy, Yayla is one of my favorites too! It is very easy to make it at home, hope you can have a go sometime : ) x Ozlem

  4. Phil in the Kitchen December 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Sounds lovely, especially that dried mint and paprika combination. We’re definitely in need of soup at the moment. Wisley is lovely in winter – well, actually, it’s lovely at every season. I’ve been trying to visit for weeks – maybe I’ll get a chance soon.

    • Ozlem December 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      I am with you Phil, feeling a little under the weather at the moment and consuming loads of soup! Th dried mint and paprika spice up the soup nicely. Do make it to Wisley – looks very festive now! 🙂

  5. Peri's Spice Ladle December 6, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    My dear Ozlem, this soup looks so delicious! And it is unique in every way…basmati rice, yogurt, dried mint and paprika, my mouth is watering just reading it:)

    Love seeing the ‘slow cooked fast food’ in Turkey, now that is fast food I would eat:) And Wisley gardens do look magical!

    • Ozlem December 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Thank you Peri : ) such humble ingredients do produce delicious results, glad you liked the soup : ) Wisley is the place to go when you come over : )
      xx ozlem

  6. BacktoBodrum December 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Having got soaked to the skin on our walk today, this looks like a good pick-me-up soup. I didn’t realise that it was so easy to make.

    • Ozlem December 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Merhaba; goodness, joys of wintery showers: ) this soup will definetely warm you up, really easy. x ozlem

  7. Saei December 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Mereba Ozlem hanimcim
    ben sizi facebookta da buldum ordan de takibediorum
    yeni lezetli ve renkli … cok guzel

    kolay gelsin
    Sevgilar 🙂

    • Ozlem December 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Merhaba Saei,
      Cok tesekkurler : ) selamlar, sevgiler

  8. Alida December 7, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    This is such an interesting soup. I never come across this before. I would impress my guest at the dinner table with something like this. Interesting flavours packed in here.
    I had a virus on my server so my site was not accessible yesterday. All sorted now.. phew!

    • Ozlem December 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Ciao Alida,
      Glad your server got sorted – aint no fun : ( and so glad you liked the soup!

  9. Talya October 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I heard that it should be bulgur instead of rice in an original recipe? Or there is no such a recipe :)? Im going to have it with pearl barley though and maybe will also add cream together with yogurt according to my Eastern European taste :)Greets

    • Ozlem Warren October 17, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Talya, original recipe for the Yayla corbasi calls for rice but bulgur is also used in yoghurt based soups in Turkey. Pearl barley is a good fit, hope you enjoy it! Best wishes, Ozlem

  10. Mr T November 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm #

    Just made it. Perfect took me back to fethiye with the first taste.

    • Ozlem Warren November 18, 2018 at 5:41 pm #

      So delighted to hear it, Afiyet Olsun! Ozlem

  11. dee kay December 29, 2020 at 8:30 pm #

    I love this soup. I have made it twice a week since I found the recipe. Does anyone know if it can be made with a low carb alternative to rice? would it work with chicken added or cauliflower or is the starch from the rice needed

    • Ozlem Warren December 30, 2020 at 4:48 pm #

      Merhaba, you could add some cubed potato for a bit of a starch; bits of chicken and cauliflower would be a nice addition too, glad to hear you are enjoyig this lovely soup, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem

  12. Bo February 12, 2024 at 8:17 pm #

    The best Yayla Çorbası ever. My turkish husband and all his friends who have tasted your recipe say they’ve never eaten such a good Yayla. Thank you for all the recipes, I have also your book and it’s awesome!

    • Ozlem Warren February 14, 2024 at 12:18 pm #

      Thank you so much for your kind note and afiyet olsun, so glad you enjoyed it ! I love our corbas and some delicious ones included at my new book, SEBZE, Vegetarian recipes from my Turkish kitchen, if you like to order your copy here, many thanks, Ozlem

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