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Turkish Lentil Soup or Mercimek Çorbası

Coming from a warm climate country, although I like hot weather, one thing I like about chilly weather is soups! This lentil soup is in particular quite warming because of cumin and turmeric is a great blood purifier. This is some ancient wisdom talking here, Peoples.

My take on this classic Turkish soup involves using certain ingredients from another traditional Turkish soup called Ezogelin Çorbası. I guess my version is more like a hybrid. Because the classic lentil soup is not spicy whereas Ezogelin soup is. On the other hand, Ezogelin soup has fine bulgur in it but classic lentil soup doesn’t. My hybrid soup doesn’t have the bulgur but it is spicy. See what I’m getting at?

The recipe below changed and evolved over the years. I used family recipes, neighbours’ recipes, even some professionals chipped in at some stage. And the end result is nourishing, warming and full of flavour. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Afiyet Olsun!

Lentil Soup

Turkish Lentil Soup or Mercimek Çorbası
1 cup split red lentils
6 cups drinking water
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried spearmint
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil
Lemon juice to serve

• Wash lentils and drain well. Put them in a large pot –you’ll need that space for your hand blender as things get a little messy – and add water. Bring to a boil. Get a slotted spoon and a large plate ready. Place them near the cooking area.
• When you see foam building skim it with the slotted spoon and drop it on the plate –at some stage during this process, the foam will get thicker. Repeat this until the lentil is cooked, ready to disperse itself in the water and no more foam is building up.
• In a smaller pot, heat some vegetable oil. Add crushed garlic, tomato paste, sweet paprika, cumin, turmeric, spearmint and salt. Stir well. By using a soup ladle, transfer 1 or 2 spoonful of soup into this thick mixture, stir again and pour it back into the soup pot.
• Remove from heat. Plug the electric hand blender in and blend the soup in the pot until smooth. Work from your end of the pot and let all the splishy-splashy bits hit the other side of the pot.
• Serve hot with freshly squeezed lemon drizzled top.

Note: I have mine with extra spearmint and Turkish chili flakes but that’s optional.

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