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Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish red lentil soup or mercimek çorbası is a popular hearty soup, especially during the winter months. It's also an important part of breaking the daily fast during the month of Ramadan.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small potato
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Hot pepper flakes, for garnish


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Peel and coarsely chop onion, carrot, and potato and place into a large saucepan. Add the red lentils, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cover.
  3. Let the mixture simmer slowly until the vegetables are very soft and the lentils fall apart. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. To make a smooth mixture, press the contents through a fine wire mesh strainer using a wooden spoon, or process in your food processor or blender. Hand blenders (immersion blenders) are great for pureeing the soup right in the pot.
  5. In a small skillet, melt the butter or margarine and then add the flour. Stir the mixture for a few seconds then add it to the soup (don't let the flour burn).
  6. Stir well, then let the soup simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
  7. If the soup seems too thick add a little more water. Serve hot with chunks of crusty bread and a wedge of lemon.
  8. Enjoy!