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.
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 are now 20 % Off at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US and Canada.
Also, as a new item, Ozlem’s Turkish Table aprons, with Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the embroidered design, are now available to purchase via GB Publishing, at this link, it can be a lovely gift to a foodie, delivered worldwide.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes
250gr/9oz/generous 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
15ml/1 tablespoon 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
10ml /2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil:
10ml/2tsp (or more) pul biber or red pepper flakes
30ml/2tbsp olive oil
Extra wedge of lemon (and if you’d like) croutons to serve
Pour in the olive oil into a large heavy pan. Stir in the onion, carrots and potato and saute for 2 minutes, over medium to high heat. Add the red lentils, rice and hot water to the 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. Add a little more water to the pan if the soup appears to be too thick to your liking.
Once cooked, add the lemon juice, butter and cumin to the mixture. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper to your taste, combine well.
In a separate small pan, stir in the olive oil and Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes. Combine well over a low to medium heat. The pul biber will infuse to the olive oil and this will taste spectacular in the soup.
Serve the hot soup, with a drizzle of pul biber infused olive oil over the top and a wedge o lemon for extra zing by the side. 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.