A great classic in Turkish cuisine, ezorbelin çorbası is a lentil soup from the south-east of the country. The legend surrounding its origins gives it a very special place in local culture.
What is ezorbelin çorbası?
Ezogelin çorbası is a traditional Turkish soup made with red lentils, tomato, bulgur and rice, and flavored with dried mint, olive oil and peppers.
It is distinguished by its thick and consistent texture, where the ingredients are deliberately coarsely mixed, unlike a velouté. A white roux (mixture of flour and butter) is added during cooking to give the soup even more thickness.
Very popular in Turkey, this soup is consumed as much at home as in restaurants. You can also find çorbası on the menu of most kebapçı, typical kebab restaurants, where it is served with flat bread.
What is the origin of ezorbelin çorbası?
Ezogelin çorbası is a culinary specialty from the southeast of Turkey. Translated literally, çorbası means “soup” in the Turkish language and gelin means “bride”, which gives “the soup of Ezo the bride”.
This mysterious name comes from a legend that is well known in local traditions. The origins of the ezogelin çorbası are thus linked to the tragic fate of a young woman named Ezo, who really lived in the early twentieth century.
Ezo grew up in Gaziantep, a town near the border with Syria. Renowned for her legendary beauty, she was married against her will at the age of 20 and forced to move to Syria. Far from her native country and living in great poverty, she gradually sinked into grief and died young.
As for the soup, different stories explain its appearance. One of them says that Ezo would have prepared it for the first time in order to impress his new family, and in particular his stepmother. Others still think she actually invented it one day when they had almost nothing left to eat, with the only ingredients she had left.
Ezo has remained very present in the memory of the locals and in local folklore. Her sad story is celebrated in songs, poems, and was even taken to the movies, in the 1973 film Ezo Gelin, starring the famous actress Fatma Girik.
Soups in Turkey
Great fans of rich and spicy soups, the Turks very often consume it as a starter, even more during the winter months. It is also an ideal dish to break the fast of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, thanks to the fact that it is hearty.
Aside from the ezogelin çorbası, there are, for example, the işkembe çorbası, a garlic tripe soup, and the yogurt çorbasi, made with yogurt and rice, two other pillars of Turkish gastronomy.
But the most popular soup in the whole country is undoubtedly the mercimek çorbasi. Lighter and more velvety than the çorbası, it is also made with red lentils and tomatoes, without the bulgur and rice.
Variants of ezorbelin çorbası around the world
Lentil soups are dishes that have always existed in Middle Eastern cuisine, thanks to the satisfying and nutritious properties of legumes.
Along the same lines, the Moroccan harira is a very rich soup composed of beef, vermicelli, lentils and chickpeas. Moroccans like to taste it, especially during Ramadan.
In India, the traditional spicy lentil soup is called dhaal (also written daal, dahl, dhal) and is made with coconut milk.
Finally, adasi in Iran is a typical dish of Persian cuisine, halfway between very thick soup and stew.
- ½ cup red lentils , rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup bulgur
- 2 tablespoons white rice , rinsed and drained
- 1 onion , cut into strips
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1¼ cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2½ tablespoons flour
- Olive oil
- Dutch oven
- Hand blender
- In a Dutch oven, add the rice, bulgur, red lentils, and onion and add the boiling vegetable broth.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using a hand blender, mix everything coarsely.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour.
- Mix well for one minute without coloring the flour.
- Add the tomato paste and continue to stir.
- Pour the boiling water into the butter, flour, tomato paste mixture and continue to stir until obtaining a homogeneous mixture.
- Pour this mixture into the pot and stir on medium heat for one minute.
- Season with salt and pepper, then add the dried mint and the chili peppers.
- Mix everything well and boil for one minute over medium heat without stirring.
- Serve very hot.