Soups are very special in Turkish gastronomy. The habit of dining on soups is transversal to all social classes. That is, rich and poor people tend to dine with soups.
In this article, we will tell you the history and the recipe of one of the most famous Turkish soups. The lentil soup “Ezo Gelin”, also known as “the bride's soup”.
This is a very nutritious and delicious soup made with red lentils. There is a legend around this soup, because its name comes from a young woman called “Ezo Gelin” who lived in Gaziantep at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ezo Gelin's history
The story goes that Ezo Gelin, a young woman of extraordinary beauty, whose real name was Zöhre Bozgeyik. She was born in the Anatolia region in 1909. Particularly, in a town called Dokuzyol, which was on a trade route. The caravans stopped for supplies at Dokuzyol.
Ezo was very popular in her town, and many travelers sought her out. But Ezo married Siddo Hanefi Açıkgöz against her will, in an arranged marriage. She then left for Syria with her new family. Poor Ezo “the bride” now had a difficult mother-in-law to please. Legend has it that Ezo invented this soup to please her mother-in-law. Although there are those who say that she was very poor, and she made it with what little she still had in the cupboard. After having nine children, Ezo passed away in the 1950s in Syria and was repatriated to her native Turkey.
Today, it has become a tradition in southeastern Anatolia to feed brides Ezogelin soup on the eve of their wedding. To symbolize the uncertainty and difficulties that lie ahead. Ezo the bride gave her name to this delicious soup, made with red lentils, bulgur, and mint, perfect any time of the day with some Turkish bread for dipping.
Lentil soups in the Middle East
Lentil soups with some variations are consumed in all Middle Eastern countries up to India. For instance:
- Shorbat Addas, from Egypt. It is a red lentil soup very like Ezo Gelin soup but it does not contain rice or bulgur.
- Moroccan Harira, is a soup made of lentils, chickpeas, noodles, and beef.
- Lebanese lentil soup: it is a lentil cream, mixed with potatoes and carrots. Also, to spices such as corn, and pepper.
- Dhaal: the famous Indian dhaal is a spicy lentil soup cooked with coconut milk.
1 ½ cups of red lentils, 200 g.
1 large onion, finely chopped, 100 g.
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup of rice, 80 g.
½ cup of bulgur, 80 g.
1 tablespoon of wheat flour
3 tablespoons of butter
1 large tomato, finely chopped, 100 g.
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups of beef broth
1 tablespoon of dried mint
2 teaspoons of salt
Pita bread, yogurt sauce and olive oil to serve
Turn on the stove over medium heat, place a large saucepan, and melt the butter.
When the butter begins to melt, add the finely chopped onion and the crushed garlic. Fry them and stir gently with a wooden spoon over low heat until the onion is smooth and transparent.
Add the flour and keep stirring, making sure not to burn the flour. The idea of this step is to make a roux sauce (a mixture of butter and flour) to give the soup consistency.
Add the finely chopped tomato and tomato paste. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Begin pouring in the beef broth slowly and keep stirring, making sure the contents are mixed well until it comes to a slow boil.
Now add your rice, bulgur, and lentils to the pot. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for about 45 minutes until the lentils fall apart.
Uncover the pot, stir and season with salt and dried mint.
You can serve the soup with pita bread and lemon wedges.