Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 19, 2022

© Alicia Taylor

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Red lentil soup with milk

Traditional Turkish dishes that you can replicate in your kitchen

There are loads of different Turkish red lentil recipes and this is just one of them. If you’re driving through the night and you stop at a roadhouse, you’ll see many people eating this soup before the main course. Sometimes they eat it for breakfast as a cure for hangovers.

1/3 c. (80 ml) olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp. (15 ml) plain all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. (15 ml) tomato paste (concentrated puree)
½ c. (125 ml) red lentils
1 tbsp. (15 ml) pul biber (see note below), plus extra for sprinkling
1 c. (250 ml) milk

Heat the olive oil in quite a large saucepan. Fry the onion over a medium heat for 5–6 minutes, or until soft. Add the flour and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Now add the lentils, pul biber and 2 cups (500 ml) water. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Stir in the milk and cook for a further 5 minutes, until heated through. Serve as is, sprinkled with a little extra pul biber or, if you wish, you can blend it to a smooth soup before serving. Serves 4.

Note: Pul biber is a crushed red powder made from dried Aleppo peppers. It’s mild to medium in heat, and Turks love sprinkling it over just about anything. If you can’t find it in spice shops or Middle Eastern grocery stores, you can use chili flakes instead.

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