Mercimek çorbasi: Turkish lentil soup with cumin and yogurt

This recipe for Mercimek çorbasi has followed me for about 30 years. Because Turkish red lentil soup is one of my favorite soups. Not only because it tastes overwhelmingly good to me, but also for personal reasons.

Mercimek çorbasi was first cooked for me by a friend in the late 80s. I was delighted after the first spoonful. The soup has an irresistible taste to this day. I also love its slightly lemony aroma. And by the way, I like to eat legumes.

The day after we danced the night away at Berlin parties, concerts or club nights, we sat in the kitchen around 4:00 p.m. at the earliest and cooked Mercimek çorbasi. This was then enjoyed spoon by spoon with sour yogurt. The station wagon reliably breathed life back into us and we enjoyed the familiar, comfortable happiness. Then we went to the sofa – knowing full well that there was still soup. And, do you want more Turkish delicacies? Then look here:

Several bureks stuffed with spinach and feta love on an oriental plate.

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Mercimek means by the way lens and Corbası only soup, just as a tip for your next visit to a Turkish restaurant. Both the recipe for the classic Turkish salad Piyaz and Mercimek çorbasi come from Nuriye, my friend’s mom. However, there is one difference compared to the original. We always deglaze the lentils, onions and garlic with white wine.

By the way, lentils are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. It has been adapted to regional taste and preparation preferences for thousands of years. It is full of fiber, protein and nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and iron. Therefore, Mercimek çorbasi is exactly what you need after a night of dancing.

Bird's eye view: A bowl of Mercimek çorbasiya is on the table.  It is a duo of red lenses.  Tomatoes and fresh parsley go with it.

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Specialty of Turkish lentil soup: Mercimek çorbasi


Colorful, healthy and delicious: Turkish soup Mercimek çorbasi


  1. Wash the lentils and drain well. Finely chop the hot pepper and garlic and saute in olive oil. Add lentils and cumin and mix. Deglaze with white wine after 1-2 minutes and reduce. Add tomatoes and soup.

  2. Season the soup with dried chili (if you like it spicy), salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley leaves. Add a little salt to the yogurt and mix it with a few drops of olive oil.

  3. Then puree the finished soup with a hand mixer and season again with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Garnish with parsley leaves and a little yogurt and serve with the remaining yogurt.

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