Red Lentil Soup

Or kırmızı mercimek corbası (if you speak Turkish)

Late Lunch



For the Soup

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 Cup Red Lentils, Rinsed & Drained (they do not need over night soaking)

3 Cups Boiling Water

1 Onion, Finely Chopped

1 Garlic Clove, Minced

2 Tbs Chopped Tinned Tomatoes

1/2 tsp Red Chilli Pepper Paste (canned)

1 Chicken Stock Cube

For the Garnish

1 Fresh Lemon, Cut into Wedges

1 Handful Fresh Parsley, Chopped

1/2 tsp Sumac

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Chilli Flakes (Pul Biber)

1 Cup


  1. Heat Olive Oil in a Saucepan
  2. Add Onions & Garlic, cook gently over a medium heat until they are translucent (do not brown!)
  3. Add Lentils, Water & Stock Cube
  4. Add Tinned Tomatoes & Red Chilli Paste, Stir well
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a Simmer with lid partially covering for approx 20 minutes
  6. Test, add Salt if necessary
  7. Now if you like the soup smooth, blend adding more water if its too thick OR if you like it chunky gently use a whisk to break up the lentils
  8. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle over the Sumac & Chilli Flakes, top with Parsley.
  9. Serve with Warm Bread & a Lemon Wedge on the side

Sumac (Purple) Left, Red Pepper Right


I have read of another soup similar to this called The Brides Soup which also includes Rice, Bulgur Wheat & Dried Mint, I am yet to try it..

I added 1/2 a cup of Water more after roughly blending to loosen the soup slightly. If you have any leftovers keep them in the fridge & simply add more water when reheating, as you will find the lentils expand making the soup thicker..

Do try to find some Sumac- it has a really unusual taste & smell, flowery, earthy, citrus. It actually reminds me of Sherbet! It really enhances the taste of the soup & the fresh Lemon Juice you squeeze in before eating..

Sumac- Some Information

The word Sumac takes its name from many ancient languages meaning ‘red’.

There are approximately 250 types of Sumac (a Flowering Shrub) around the world.

The spice is popular in Middle Eastern cooking as a seasoning & also a garnish- It is used in countries ranging from Turkey to Persia.

The Red Berries are picked and crushed by hand, giving an earthy spice with a strong citrus flavour. It is particularly well suited to fish, poultry, pulses and rice based dishes.


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