Last month marked the 5th anniversary of my mother’s passing. As most moms are, she was a great cook. There is not one day that I do not miss her cooking. Every recipe and every word you see in this blog have her in it. This soup is no different. The recipe you see below is a little bit different than the traditional way of making red lentil soup. It is made a little healthier by eliminating oil/butter. My mom’s version…
However, if you prefer you can certainly top it off with a melted butter and red pepper flakes drizzle or with a light squeeze of lemon juice. As you will see in the video, I prefer my soup on the thicker side, but if you want you can make it lighter by adding more stock or water. I sprinkled my soup with fresh parsley, but if I was able to get my hands on some dried mint I would have used that instead as it is how my mom used to serve it with.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
For the soup:
- 1 medium-sized onion chopped
- 1 1/4 cup red lentils picked over and rinsed
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small potato cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 cups vegetable stock or a combination of water and stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Urfa Chile or any other red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley chopped
- baked bread cubes- optional- to serve it with
- lemon wedges
- Add onion, red lentils, garlic and potato in a heavy bottom pot.
- Pour in the stock.
- Bring it to a boil in medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium-low and let it cook until lentils are softened and potato cubes are cooked, 10-15 min.
- Puree the now-cooked lentils in a food processor in batches or using an immersion blender.
- At this point, if you want a thinner soup you can adjust the consistency by adding more water. - Or visa versa
- Bring it to a boil in medium heat. Serve.
- If preferred, while the soup is simmering, heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan until it is lightly browned. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
- Pour the soup into bowls and drizzle it with the butter and chili drizzle.
- Serve it immediately with bread cubes, chopped parsley, and lemon wedges (optional).
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—– Below is the original post with the old photo. —–
Last week, I went to pick up my father from New York City. Since this is his first time coming down to the islands, he did not want to fly down by himself and asked if I could pick him up. As I would never miss an opportunity for a couple of fun days in New York, I immediately agreed and bought my ticket to the big city.
He flew directly from Istanbul to New York. We spent 2 full days in New York doing a lot of walking, sightseeing, and eating some amazing food. Unfortunately, it rained the whole time, but it couldn’t stop us from enjoying our time together.
From New York, we traveled to Devon (a suburb of Philadelphia) to visit our good friends, Dalya and Guillermo’s house. As this was my dad’s first visit to Devon, they took us to a couple of wonderful restaurants, where we ate big portions of delicious food night after night. Though I loved every minute of it, on our last night we all felt as though we needed a lighter meal, preferably homemade. As the autumn was making itself felt in full force with a crispy wind outside, Dalya suggested that we make a big salad and serve it with a cup of warm soup. I took on the challenge to make the salad and she agreed on making the soup.
The soup that she made for us on that beautiful autumn evening was this red lentil soup. It is one of the (if not, THE) most popular Turkish (or maybe, I should say “Middle Eastern”) soups that I grew up eating. I swear – it took me back to the days of my childhood immediately after the first sip.
So after we came down to the island, I decided that this soup should be on the blog. Because, I think it is a perfect soup to serve in the upcoming cold winter evenings.
To make it, I sautéed some onions until they were translucent. I rinsed the lentils and added them into the pot with a small cubed potato. After sautéing them all together for a couple of minutes, I added water. In terms of the amount of water, I used my mom’s ratio – for 1 cup of red lentils, add 6 cups of water. The consistency 6 cups of water create is how I love my red lentil soup. However, if you like a thinner (or thicker) consistency, you can adjust the amount of liquid accordingly.
Here I should add – you could certainly substitute water with chicken or vegetable stock. Though I recommend using a combination of water and stock, instead of just stock for a soup that is lighter in calories. Also, some home cooks back home add carrots to this soup, but I find that it adds sweet tones to it that I don’t care much about. However, if you like that taste, feel free to add carrots when you are adding the potato and lentils.
After I added the water, I first brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. While it was simmering, the lentils started opening up and turning into a yellow color. I pureed it in a food processor (you can also use an immersion blender) and poured it back into the pot to let it come to a boil one last time. While that was happening, I made a traditional butter and red chili pepper drizzle using the Urfa chili pepper flakes that my dad brought from home. Though, any hot chili pepper flakes would work.