Warming winter soups

Warm a winter’s day with one of these healthy, nourishing, energising soups from our Turkish kitchen!

As soon as the days get shorter and the leaves on the trees start to change colour our thoughts turn to winter and ways to keep warm on colder days. The cold seems to encourage us to slow down and take pleasure from the simpler things in life. With such an abundance of vegetables available at this time of year, this gives us the perfect opportunity to create delicious, heart warming food from locally grown produce.

Çorba‘ (pronounced chorba) the Turkish word for soup, is a food deeply ingrained in Turkey’s nomadic past. Classic Turkish soups are made with meat stock, designed to make valuable use of the entire animal. Combinations of pulses, grains and vegetables, flavoured with herbs and spices make nourishing hearty soups. ‘Tarhana’ is probably Turkey’s most symbolic soup, a mix of coarsely ground wheat and yoghurt, pounded together with spices and tomato paste and left in the hot summer sun to dry. The dried mixture is then crumbled and stored indefinitely to provide an instant soup when mixed with water. Shepherds still use this as a food source in the winter months they spend with their flocks in remote mountain pastures.

 Dried Tarhana Soup.

Soups can be the first course of a meal or be nourishing enough to be a meal in themselves. In Turkey in the colder months, soup is often eaten for breakfast. Soups are made using whatever vegetables are in season or with grains, pulses and a mixture of herbs and spices.

Nowadays in Patara, Autumn is the season for harvesting olives, grapes, pomegranates, apples, pears, plums, sesame and a vast array of vegetables. Much time is spent outdoors and we need to fuel ourselves on nourishing lunches that can be carried to wherever we are working.

Soups are ideal as they are  warming,filling, and energising and can be transported in a large thermos together with some fresh bread and a selection of fruits to be eaten afterwards.

Here are three of our favourite easy to make soups. So why not wrap up warm  and indulge in some time outdoors this weekend, then return home to some home made Corba!. Serve with crusty freshly baked bread and your soul will be warmed.

 Mantar çorbası – Mushroom soup(serves 4-6)

A creamy nourishing soup that will warm your soul.


1 medium sized onion                                                    butter (50g)

small potato                                                                    Thyme (1 teaspoon)

mushrooms (225 g)                                                        Large sprig of parsley

Butter (50 g)                                                                     salt and pepper to taste

Milk (710 ml)                                                                       



  • Chop the vegetables
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until transparent
  • Add the potato and mushrooms
  • Cook, stirring, for approx 2 mins
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool before blending until smooth.
  • Reheat to serving temperature.
  • adjust seasoning to taste and add a sprig of parsley for decoration and colour.
  • Serve with warm bread.


Kirimzi mercimek çorbası – Hearty red lentil soup (serves 4-6)

Because of their rich protein content, lentils are a valuable food source. Lentil soup is probably Turkey’s most popular soup today. You may even be offered it for breakfast on a cold winter morning!


1 large onion                                                         1 litre vegetable or beef stock (stock cube can be used)

1 large carrot                                                          tomato puree (1 tablespoon)

1 large potato                                                         thyme (2 teaspoons)

100g red lentils                                                      oil (1 tablespoon) or butter (40g)



  • Finely chop the onion
  • Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until transparent.
  • Grate the carrot and the potato and add to the onion. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add 100g red lentils. Stir well.
  • Slowly add the vegetable or beef stock (stirring as you add)
  • Add 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are cooked. Add more water if you prefer a thinner soup.
  • If you prefer a smooth soup, then blend the soup once cooled and reheat to serve. We prefer to eat this soup without blending as it is a delicious, thick, hearty soup. A meal in its own right!
  • Serve with warm crusty bread. Add a sprinkling of paprika flakes to give a fiery taste. A squeeze of lemon juice adds extra zing.


Ezogelin çorbası – Daughter in law’s soup. (serves 4-6)

A popular soup served from our kitchen at the Patara Viewpoint hotel

Tradition demands that the new bride must win her mother in law’s approval. Much depends on her abilities to cook. The story goes that a young bride to be, named Ezo, was requested by her future mother in law to make a soup. A flustered Ezo concocted a soup made from what she had at hand: red lentils, bulgur, rice, tomato paste, hot pepper and mint. Luckily the combination of the ingredients made a delicious hearty soup!! We presume young Ezo met her mother in law’s approval!


100g red lentils, rinsed and drained                                                             1 onion, finely chopped

1 litre meat stock (stock cubes can be used)                                                 2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons rice/bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained                               4 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste                                                                                    1 teaspoon dried mint

1 teaspoon paprika flakes


  • Put the onion, lentils, stock, rice and water together in a pan.
  • Bring to the boil and then lower heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook until the rice and lentils are tender and the soup has a creamy consistency.
  • Add more water if required.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add paprika and mint and simmer for a further 5 minutes
  • Serve hot with fresh crusty bread and a chunk of lemon.


                                                     BON APETIT                            AFIYET OLSUN!

Finally, for those interested in the traditional Nomadic foods which are still cooked today in Patara, it is worth taking a look at this article www.yasemenkanerwhite.com/treat-your-palate-in-patara/

And for those of you who are interested in learning about the nomadic traditions of Patara, why not join one of our special interest tours led by Muzaffer. The visit to Elmali follows the original nomadic trail. http://www.pataraviewpoint.com/tours