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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,


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Chicken and Vegetables Soup – Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Chicken soup with vegetables, sebzeli tavuk corbasi - great way to finish leftovers

Chicken soup with vegetables, sebzeli tavuk corbasi – great way to finish leftovers

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and meals traditionally would start with a soup. In rural parts of Turkey, it is common to have soup for a hearty breakfast.

This soup is a great way to finish up the left over chicken from the roast, and use the chicken stock you got while making the roast chicken (please see the Roast Chicken recipe). You can add any vegetable you have at that time; carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, celery, all work well. I also like to add small pasta like orzo or conchigliette, and you get a substantial meal. Squeeze of lemon and use of red pepper flakes over the soup add extra zing and flavor.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 – 35 minutes

Left over chicken from the roast, deboned and cut into stripes
1 large onion, finely chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 medium courgette (zucchini), coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
115gr/4oz orzo or conchigliette pasta
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
1.75lt/3 pints chicken stock
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
10ml/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

4-6 lemon wedges and some crusty bread to serve

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and stir in the onion and garlic. When they begin to color slightly, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the stock, stir well and bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in the pasta and left over chicken stripes and mix well. Cook for a further 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked. Stir in the parsley and check the seasoning, add more salt or spices if you would like.

Serve warm with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the soup and crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,


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Hearty Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi

Because of their rich protein content, lentils have been a valuable food source in Asia Minor since Neolithic times. This soup is most probably Turkey’s most popular soup, enjoyed not only for lunch and dinner but also for a hearty breakfast in Anatolia.

I like to add carrots and potatoes to this easy, delicious and nutritious soup. The lovely colours of red lentils, carrots and potatoes bring an array of sunshine to any cold winter day! The addition of cumin and red pepper flakes add a wonderful, energising flavour, as we do in Southern Turkish cooking. I recommend you to make a big batch and freeze some, as it freezes really well.

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

This delicious soup and many more wholesome Turkish recipes along my stories from my homeland is included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  Signed copies available to order at this link.

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

250gr/9oz/generous 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
15ml/1tablespoon long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot cut in small cubes
1 medium potato, peeled and cut in small cubes
1.2lt/2 pints/5 cups hot water
15ml/ 1 tablespoon olive oil
15ml/1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon (or more!) red pepper flakes
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Extra wedge of lemon, paprika flakes (and if you’d like) croutons to serve

Put the olive oil, lentils, rice, onion, carrot, potato and hot water in a large heavy pan. Bring to boil and skim off any froth. Over a medium heat, simmer for about 35 minutes or until the lentils, rice and the vegetables cooked. Please stir occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once cooked, add the lemon juice, butter, cumin and red pepper flakes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to your taste, mix well. Serve hot with a wedge o lemon for extra zing and red pepper flakes sprinkled over. Some nice crusty bread by the side or croutons over the soup would go very well.

You can cook this wonderful soup ahead of time and freeze some if you’d like.

Mercimek Corbasi; Turkish red lentil soup

Mercimek Corbasi; Turkish red lentil soup

Afiyet Olsun,


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