Turkish Red Lentil Soup – mercimek çorbasi
Perhaps one of the simplest and most comforting soups around, Turkish red lentil soup or mercimek çorbasi is a staple dish found all over the country. Originally an Anatolian recipe, the soup is flavoured with red pepper paste, pul biber (a mild but smoky chilli flake) and dried mint. It’s then finished with a big squeeze of lemon that makes all the flavours pop even more.
- Put the lentils into a pan and pour over 750ml of just boiled water. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has gone.
- Tip the flour, 2 tsp dry mint and 1 tsp pul biber into a mixing bowl and mix together. Add 4 tbsp of water and mix into a smooth paste.
- Whisk the red pepper paste together with the stock and pour into the pan with the lentils. Add the flour mixture and bulgur. Stir together and bring back to the boil over a medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the bulgur is soft and sauce thick. Check the seasoning and add salt if needed.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over a low-medium heat. Turn the heat off and the remaining pul biber. Mix well and leave for a few minutes to infuse.
- To serve, squeeze half the lemon into the soup and mix well. Pour into serving bowls and drizzle over the butter. Garnish with the remaining dry mint and serve immediately with little squeeze of the last piece of lemon.
200g red lentils
2 tsp plain flour
3 tsp dry mint
3 tsp pul biber
2 tbsp red pepper paste
800ml vegetable stock
50g bulgur wheat