Lentil, sweet potato and carrot soup

Merçimek çorbası, or lentil soup, is a classic Turkish dish that’s usually eaten as a starter before a more substantial main course. I really want to learn how M’s sister-in-law makes her merçimek çorbası because it is to die for. However, in the meantime, I’ve just been making it up as I go along because it’s dead simple. Last week, I made a version that just used carrots along with red lentils. This week, we had a sweet potato glut so I chucked some of them in too. It was not bad, but still nothing on the real McCoy. I’m going back to Istanbul soon, so I’ll get hold of the real recipe and post here asap…


 Time needed: 10 mins prep, 40 mins cooking

Serves: 4-6

What you need

1 tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp grated ginger

200g red lentils, washed

2 sweet potatoes, diced

1l vegetable stock

1 big carrot, grated


How to make it

  1. Fry the onion in the olive oil over a medium heat. Once beginning to brown, add the cumin seeds and fry until they start to pop (only a minute or two). Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and fold into the onions. Then chuck in the sweet potatoes and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for around 20-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes have softened and the lentils are cooked.
  3. Add the grated carrot and cook for a further 10 minutes until cooked.
  4. Allow the soup to a cool before blending. Reheat til piping hot to serve.

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