Mercimek Çorba


When I was 18 I traveled around Turkey on a very, very low budget, together with Mek, my Canadian friend. The only thing we ate was Mercimek Çorba, a smooth, delicious — and very cheap — lentil soup. They sell it everywhere, and they serve it with lots of bread. Every time I eat in a Turkish restaurant I order it. And every now and then I cook it myself.


Eat a chicken, make broth from the leftovers.

Chop the onion and the carrots finely (I use a machine).

Skim the layer of fat off the broth.


Fry the onion and the carrots in the butter until they’re soft (not brown yet). Add the lentils and the broth. Add the cumin, the paprika powder, the pepper and the salt. If you’re scared of cumin, you can add it later, to taste.

Let it simmer for a while on low heat until the lentils are soft — which doesn’t take too long with red lentils. Pour the soup into a food blender and blend it until it’s really smooth. Serve hot. Squeeze lemon into the soup. Eat with bread.