RECIPE: Turkish Red Lentil Soup (mercimek corbasi)

In Malaysia, we took dhal for granted. What westerners known as lentils are so commonly serve in the form of dhal curry with inexpensive roti canai in mamak stalls. But until you’ve tried homemade dhal curry – undiluted and filled with fresh vegetables – you’ve never tasted the real deal.

turkish red lentil soup

When I went to Turkey, a unique country situated between Asia and Europe, I learned another way of enjoying lentils. Lentils are cooked and blended into creamy soup and is available at almost very restaurant in Istanbul.

turkish red lentil soup 2

I was inspired to make it at home but have forgotten about it until I was searching for healthy and freezer-friendly soup. As my workload has increase and I have gone back to eating packaged snacks. I wanted something that filling and healthy that I can heat up quickly when I’m hungry. This soup is the perfect solution.

Dhal is considered to be on of the healthiest food in the world. High in protein, it’s often used a protein replacement for vegetarians. However, lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. To make it up, I use homemade chicken broth instead of water. Another benefit is that it is a good source of iron. In one cup of serving, it provides over 50% of a person daily requirement.

JewelPie lentil

This hearty soup warms the stomach and has a creamy texture. It’s also a versatile dish that is suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. If you’re looking for a filling, health and delicious soup, look no further than this.

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

1 cup red lentils
1 medium potato
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
6 cups water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fine sea salt
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour

Blender (preferably immersion blender)


1. TO PREPARE INGREDIENTS Wash and drain red lentils. Peel and chop onions, carrots and carrot into cubes.

2. TO COOK Place the red lentils, diced potato, carrot and onion in a pot with lid covered and cook for an hour until the lentil softens. Remove from the heat, add cumin and sea salt. Blend the soup until creamy.

3. TO THICKEN SOUP In a small pan melt the butter and slowly stir in the flour once it starts sizzling. When it starts to brown, pour into the pot of soup and stir. Cook for a few minutes minutes on a low heat to let the flour thicken the soup.

4. TO SERVE Serve hot with lemon. Garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh coriander leaves.
 lentil soup turkish jewelpie
  • Soaking the lentils will also speeds up cooking time.
  • If you cook this dish in a pressure cooker, it’ll take about half the time.
  • If you do not have one, you can boil the soup in thermal cooker’s pot for 20 minutes and let it cook overnight in the thermal cooker.
  • To make it more nutritious, swap water with homemade chicken stock. It tastes amazing.
  • This soup is freezer friendly. I like to put extra soup into small glass container and freeze. If I plan to keep it for long, I avoid adding the butter-and-flour roux.
  • This soup is perfect to pack to work for a light lunch (Check out #lunchboxmonday)

Good luck!

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