Anzac Day special – Turkish red lentil soup

Every year on the 25th of April, Australians and New Zealanders remember the fateful landing in Gallipoli, Turkey, on the 25th of April 1915. The landing site has now been renamed as Anzac Cove and on the 25th of April every year there are Anzac Day marches all over Australia and New Zealand.

In the spirit of Anzac Day, here is a recipe for Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup with dried mint and chilli pepper. Ezogelin Çorbası is popular in south-eastern Turkey and is so easy to make. The recipe is courtesy of Cooking Alaturka, a fantastic cooking school in Istanbul, where I undertook a 2 hour cooking class and learnt to make some delicious typical Turkish dishes.

Turkish red lentil soup


250g red lentils (kırmızı mercimek), washed but not soaked
50g bulgur, the coarse kind
1 tbsp tomato puree (domates salçası)
1 tbsp red capsicum puree (biber salçası)
1 tbsp butter (tereyağı) and a little vegetable oil
1 tbsp dried mint (kuru nane)
1 tsp Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber/kırmızı biber), or to taste
5 cups of fresh chicken stock or water
1 tsp flour (un)

Cook the lentils for 15 minutes in 2-3 fingers high of water, without salt, until they fall apart. If needed you can skim the foam off the surface while the lentils are cooking. Set aside when they are ready.

Melt the butter with oil in a different pan (one that’s large enough to hold the soup), add the flour to make a light roux, adding the dried mint, the chilli flakes, the red capsicum puree and tomato puree while stirring constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn. Add the lentils, followed by the stock or water and bring to the boil while continually stirring.

Add the bulgur once the soup is boiling and leave boiling for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and then turn off the heat.

Serve with lemon wedges and extra chilli flakes on the side.

Enjoy while remembering the sacrifice of our troops in Turkey. Lest we forget.

* Photo courtesy of Oldways


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