Turkish yellow lentil soup (sarı mercimek çorbası) is the perfect fall soup to cozy up with if you need something quick and easy! This silky smooth lentil soup is perked up with a spicy buttery sauce and a good squeeze of lemon juice, alongside obligatory slices of fluffy white bread.
Turkish yellow lentil soup is delicious but also comforting, filling and it will definitely warm you up!
SIMPLE RECIPE WITH FEW INGREDIENTS
Sometimes, Turkish yellow lentil soup gets a bit of a bad rep and is called the poor man’s soup because it’s less substantial than other soups. It’s made with fewer ingredients than other lentil soups but I think that’s to its credit! Fewer ingredients to prep mean that the soup is extremely quick and easy to make. Some may say it makes for a plainer soup but I’ll say it allows the flavor of the lentils to really shine through! Honestly, Turkish yellow lentil soup deserves a bit more love. It’s simple, it tastes amazing and it will get you warm. It does what every good soup is supposed to do!
DIFFERENT LENTILS MAKE FOR DIFFERENT SOUPS
A small bowl of lentil soup is often served/offered as a starter in kebab restaurants. If you plan to serve this Turkish yellow lentil soup as a first course, you will definitely get more than 2 servings. I used to order lentil soup all the time in Turkey and I didn’t understand why the color of the soup would be different from restaurant to restaurant. It took me a while to realize it wasn’t about which restaurant I was ordering from but about which kind of lentils they used to make the soup. The color adjective was always written on the menu but my brain was only computing the word “mercimek”. Oh well, it made for a nice surprise every time! There are 3 main types of lentil soups in Turkey;
- red lentil soup (kırmızı mercimek çorbası, which is kind of the default lentil soup)
- ezogelin soup (ezogelin çorbası, similar to red lentil soup but bulkep up with rice and bulgur)
- and this yellow lentil soup (sarı mercimek çorbası)
They all share similar flavors since they are made with lentils and identical vegetables but they do taste slightly differently. I often have a craving for one specific lentil soup over the others and lately, it’s been the Turkish yellow lentil soup that I can’t get enough of!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SOUP
- Melt butter in a deep non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 10 min stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the flour.
- Stir in the lentils.
- Pour the water (or stock) and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 min.
- Blend the Turkish yellow lentil soup with an immersion blender. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
HOW TO MAKE TURKISH SPICY BUTTER SAUCE
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the chili powder, and cook for 30 seconds while stirring constantly, then remove from the heat.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YELLOW AND RED LENTILS?
Other than the obvious color difference, yellow and red lentils taste and cook differently. Yellow lentils taste more neutral and cook more rapidly. Red lentils taste slightly sweeter and nuttier and require at least 10 additional minutes of cooking time. Nevertheless yellow and red lentils are more tender than green or brown lentils. They lose their shapes while cooking as they get pretty soft, therefore making them perfect for soups and stews.
However, both yellow and red lentils can be found whole or “split”. Split lentils, whose seed coat has been removed, have been split in two. Split lentils cook faster than whole lentils but they taste just as good and they get mushy faster. Which is not a bad thing when you are making Turkish yellow lentil soup!
I don’t think you would be able to find yellow lentils in most grocery stores/supermarkets. I only find them in Turkish grocery stores. If you don’t live near one and if you don’t want to order online, I would suggest you make Turkish red lentil soup instead. Red lentils are more widely available and the perfect alternative if you can’t get your hands on yellow lentils. If you can only find split red lentils (instead of whole red lentils that are round and not flat), cook the red lentil soup for 20 min instead of 35 min. Do taste them to make sure that they are completely soft and broken down after 35 min.
In the mood for another soup? Here are some of my favorite soup recipes:Print
Turkish yellow lentil soup is the perfect fall soup to cozy up with if you need something quick and easy! This silky smooth soup is drizzled with a spicy buttery sauce and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
For the soup:
- 250g split yellow lentils (sarı mercimek) (1 ½ cups)
- 30g butter (2 tbsp)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 15g all-purpose flour (1 ½ tbsp)
- 950ml water (4 cups), or you can use vegetables/beef/chicken stock (in this case put less salt)
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 30g butter (2 tbsp)
- 1 tsp Turkish kırmızı toz biber, or use your preferred red chili powder
- 1 lemon, quartered
- soft white bread
- Wash the lentils. Place the lentils in a strainer and rinse well under cold running water for 1 min, rubbing the lentils between your fingers. Set aside and leave to drain in the strainer while you get on with the rest.
- Make the soup. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic clove. Melt the butter in a deep non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 10 min stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and stir thoroughly. Add the drained lentils and mix well. Pour the water (or stock) and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 min. The lentils should be totally soft and broken down by then. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Return the pan to low heat while you make the sauce.
- Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the chili powder, and cook for 30 seconds while stirring constantly, then remove from the heat. Chili powder can burn pretty quickly (it turns dark and bitter) so stay vigilant while you make the sauce if you don’t want to have to start over.
- Serve. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle the sauce over the soup and serve immediately with wedges of lemon and big slices of fluffy white bread.
The soup will thicken as it cools down. Gently heat it over medium-low heat and the consistency will turn back to normal. You can also stir in a little bit of just-boiled water to thin it down.
Turkish yellow soup will keep for up to 3 days stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Serving Size: 1 big bowl
- Calories: 708
Keywords: vegetarian fall soup, cooking yellow lentils, easy soups to make