Turkish-Style Lentil Soup

Turkish Lentil Soup

Cooking often takes longer than I figure it ought to, but that is largely because I am easily distracted and writing up the dish that I am making both in my head and on paper. Maintaining a food blog for so many years has certainly inspired variety in the kitchen, but there are times when the whole documentation process becomes rather a chore.

That said, this soup was even better than I imagined and it really took very little time at all to simmer up. This simple recipe resembles a classic Indian dal makhani both in appearance and its wonderfully creamy texture. But instead of red kidney beans and urad dal simmered in an Indian-spiced cream-based sauce, brown and red lentils are cooked here in a seasoned coconut milk sauce with sumac, mint and dill. The result is a deliciously unique and warming combination of earthy, tangy, zesty and slightly sweet flavors with a refreshing twist from the fresh mint that will have you spooning bowlfuls with increasing pleasure as you explore the layers of tastes in your mouth.

Sumac is the dried fruit of a temperature shrub ground to a powder and used extensively in Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine. You can easily find it in any Middle Eastern or Asian grocer.

Turkish-Style Lentil SoupTurkish-Style Lentil Soup
Recipe by
Cuisine: Turkish
Published on December 21, 2013

Simple and deliciously unique combination of earthy, zesty, tangy and slightly sweet flavors in a warming bowl of lentils simmered in a creamy coconut milk sauce

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried mushrooms (I used porcini)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 14 oz (400 mL) can coconut milk
  • 2 to 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 cup French (Puy) lentils or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop. Set aside both the liquid and the mushrooms.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallot and garlic and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until the shallot starts to soften. Toss in the chilies and continue to stir for 1 minute. Now add the tomato and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.

  • Now pour in the coconut milk, the liquid from the soaked mushrooms along with the mushrooms, and 2 cups of vegetable stock or water. Stir in the lentils, paprika, mint, dill and sumac, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender — about 30 to 40 minutes, adding more stock or water as necessary.

  • Stir in the salt, pepper and lemon juice, turn off the heat, and let the soup stand covered for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish each bowl with a few sprinkles of paprika and sumac if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

turkish-style lentil soup

Other lentil soups you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Turkish Lentil and Spinach Soup
Persian Split Pea and Pomegranate Soup
Lentil Pomegranate Stew with Beets and Spinach
French Lentil Tomato and Harissa Stew

On the top of the reading stack: The Secrets of Gluten-Free Baking: Delicious Whole Food Recipes by Jillayne Clements

Audio Accompaniment: graceful silence


Joanne said...

I just ran out of sumac, but you can bet I'll be seeking out more to make this! It's one of my favorite spices.

Unknown said...

Many folks have it growing tin their yards and don't realize what a great spice it is. We had a large stand of sumac by our garage when I was a kid but no one ever thought of it as food.

Denise Minick said...

Made this for the first time tonight. Absolutely delicious.

Andhra Recipes said...

Awesome Lentil Soup !!! I'll try to make this weekend....

Unknown said...

Oh wow, I haven't used sumac in soup before. The sou does look deep and full flavoured, x

Kalyn Denny said...

I love the sound of this soup!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I love Turkish food - and sumac is one of my favourite spices :)