Red Lentil Soup

What to eat and drink, what not to eat or drink, food preferences, allergies, and (why not?) recipes for Turkish cooking!

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Tavsan
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Post by Tavsan » Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:07 am

Hey good to hear the soup was well received. It is indeed a great soup but I am now thinking about what Carrie described and that sounds even better!

Carrie, your comment about the meat got me to thinking about how the kofte is different in that it seems a bit more dense than say our hamburgers here in the US. I think I find this especially true when kofte is baked.

Say now here's a soup for you! My wife made her mom's yogurt soup this past weekend. If any of you are interested I will get the recipe for her but let me tell you it is an acquired taste that is acquired rather quickly. And with a bit of zing to it with pepper and a bit of mint it is definitely a keeper.

Tavsan


Ali Asterisk
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Post by Ali Asterisk » Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:24 pm

Steve - how about passata (a cross between juice and puree me thinks)? I'm planning on trying this recipe at the weekend and will use passata and also fresh beef stock brought from the supermarket.

Please post up your "UK" findings and results :)

Ali

Al
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Post by Al » Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:48 pm

I just did this recipe using vegetable juice (V-8) instead of tomato juice. A little lighter, more complex flavor.

I found 3 tablespoons of flour too much, but I like my soups more on the liquid side, and I know this isn't the norm for this soup.

Now, if I could only get some good, fresh, Turkish bread to eat it with I'd be set.

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Oh, noooooooooooo !!

Post by Much2CnDeu » Thu Nov 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Lentil Soup A La Turque without fresh-baked Turkish bread ??? :shock: That's not just unkind (to oneself and others) ... that borders on inhumane!

Tavsan
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Post by Tavsan » Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:30 am

If you are hoping to get into Turkish cooking these two cookbooks are a must:

The Art of Turkish Cooking by Neset Eren

The other is Classical Turkish Cooking: Traditional Turkish Cooking for the American Kitchen by Ayla E. Algar

The red lentil soup in this thread is indeed from Eren's classic book. I had to go dig it out because we have several Turkish cookbooks floating around the house here which we have had for years. I want credit to go where credit is due. That recipe is pretty much the same as it is in the book but we make it a bit thicker by cutting the tomato juice and we substitute olive oil in place of butter because of the fat content. When we warm it up we just add more water. You can literally make it last all week! There are actually several lentil soup recipes in this book. All of them are fantastic. This recipe is actually called Hittite Soup and given its simple configuration you can see it is a timeless recipe with some obvious history.

A second red lentil soup we make is indeed a variation and most closely captured in the recipe for Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi (Creamy Red Lentil Soup) in Algar's book which can be made a bit different based on certain ingredients (yogurt) instead of milk and by omitting ingredients we personally just don't like in soup (egg yolks) and by using different stock, adding things like fresh parsley and red pepper (or mint, yes mint). Do check out Algar's book as well. Algar also has a yogurt soup that is not quite like my mother-in-law's but it is pretty good. Algar uses a different stock and barley in this soup, no red pepper, and a lot more mint!

We never get tired of lentil soup! Other variations of red lentil soup include what Carrie mentioned of course (which I am now going to try) as well as using diced tomatoes, not thickening the soup and making it a bit more watery as somebody mentioned (Bubanne) does this sometimes. Bubanne sometimes puts a whole peeled potato in the more watery version allowing the soup to absorb the potato and perhaps thickening it a bit eventually. Tomato paste and water is sometimes used in place of tomato juice or when diced tomatoes are used they are not drained. Some use carrots with it, some add chunks of lamb using the meat to make stock. The combinations are endless.


Tavsan

carrie
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Post by carrie » Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:46 am

Hi Tavsan,

Putting a potato in is exactly what I do. I do not use flour to thicken but I grate the potato to make blending it later easier. My kids don't like lumpy soup.

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Post by east med wanderer » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi Tavsan,

Thanks for posting the recipe for red lentil soup from Neset Eren's book. It seems the book is currently out of print and the cheapest second hand copy is going for about £25 - I'll have to think about that.

I recently made the Creamy Red Lentil Soup from our recently aquired Ayla Algar book, inspired by a soup shop in Iznik, where we spent a few days recently. Every morning the place would do a roaring trade with people dropping in for their bowls of chicken or lentil soup. The lentil soup was delicious and a great way to cope with the rather wintry weather - temperatures just above zero (Centigrade), snow on the surrounding hills and a bitterly cold Northerly wind. As we had mostly stayed in pensions with Turkish breakfast included, we had missed out on the soups until then, except for our stay at Jeanne's place (Villa Rhapsody at Kaya village near Fethiye) but more about that in a later post.

I did however deviate from the recipe. Rather than mashing the lentils and onion through a sieve, I just put the lot in a blender and gave it a whiz. I also found it a little bland for my taste and added some black pepper and some kirmisi biber to jazz it up a bit. When you say you omitted the egg yolks, was that for health reasons? I sometimes wonder if I am taking a risk putting raw eggs into something that is not going to be thoroughly cooked again. I think I'll try substituting yogurt for milk, as you suggest, the next time I make this soup - I can imagine that giving it a more tangy taste. Carrie's method of using potatoes instead of flour as a thickening agent is something I will also try out.

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Post by Tavsan » Sun Nov 26, 2006 5:28 am

East med traveler

It is so funny that we are all such fans of red lentil soup and have all of these different ways of making it even more yummy than usual. :lol: But you know good food is good food no matter what the circumstances. I have been into lentil soup forever it seems and one would think that something so basic could not be improved upon that much. Sort of like remaking tomato soup. How can you enhance something so basic? But as we have demonstrated here you can indeed improve upon basic perfection.

As far as good cooks go Neset Eren in my eyes is cooking royalty. I have never purchased a cultural cookbook where every recipe you try is a)excellent and b)tastes as authentic as your best eateries. I just love that little book! Algar's book is good but Eren will always be my favorite Turkish cook outside the family.

I omit egg yolks because I just don't like the notion of having egg yolks in the soup. I never really thought about health concerns. Another good reason I suppose. Of course I am minding my Ps and Qs as they say these days regarding salt and cholesterol. That's why I adapt the recipes for some of these soups (olive oil in place of butter or less broth thinned with water to reduce sodium,etc.). Turkish food has a very natural side but it can have some unwanted fat and salt unless you keep your eyes open. That's not to say that every now and then I just pile it on the way Eren and other great cooks meant it to be. :P

Others here have been writing about Turkish bread. My sister-in-law makes an artisan bread in one of those pans that bakes the bread surrounded by steam or evaporating water. It was as close to Turkish bread as I have tasted in the US. It was fantastic! I miss Turkish bread everyday that I am not in Turkey. Recently the wind outside was chilly and I was sipping Turkish tea look out at the back yard. At that moment I would have given almost anything for a plate of that tiny diamond shaped bite-size bread they bake in Beypazari just outside Ankara. *sigh*

Tavsan

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Post by Much2CnDeu » Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:27 am

Hi Tavsan -

I live in San Francisco and we have some of the best international cuisine throughout the city. One of the best things about living in S.F. is that you can buy an amazing dinner for $100, or for $15. We have really, really good food here ... some of the best cuisine from around the world. And SF'ers eat out a lot. (We also work out like crazy - after work and on the weekends!)

Before I left for Turkey, I was told that the bread would be really good. "Yeah, sure. Bread is bread. If it's fresh, it'll be fine I'm sure." Well, I discovered that the bread in Turkey isn't just good, it's to die for! And I was thrilled to find that both white and whole wheat bread are often served. So, a salad or a bowl of soup with bread and I was all set. I love Turkish cuisine!

P.S. I was urged to try the fried bread (pita) at breakfast, but I declined. People told me that it was amazing, as well.

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Post by east med wanderer » Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:51 pm

I'm just about to cook another pot of lentil soup but can't quite figure out from my American cookbook what a cup of red lentils should weigh in terms of ounces or grams.

Also, won't cups of various kinds of cooking ingredients weigh different amounts? Do I really need to measure things out or do I just take any old cup and fill it up?


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