My Culinary Travel Bucket List
Do you have a travel bucket list? What are the countries that you would love to visit the most? For me, travelling and eating go hand in hand. I’m always planning our trips based on local cuisines and notable restaurants of the region. The most expensive part of our trip to France with without a doubt, the food. I have no regrets because we stuffed ourselves silly with pastries, cheese, wine, and crème glacée. We experienced our first Michelin star restaurant as well as our first tourist trap. That’s okay, because it’s all about the adventure, right?
Turkey is one of my top bucket list countries to visit. I’ll admit, it’s mostly for the food. A fellow blogger friend, Gabby Peyton, the blogger behind The Food Girl in Town did travel there for a whole month. It wasn’t really a vacation though, because she was going to Cadir Hoyuk to work on an archaeolgical dig. She posted some amazing Turkish food photos, including some very amazing breads, kebabs, and special Turkish ice cream called Dondurma.
The Many Flavours of Turkey
We’re not talking roast turkey here, folks. We’re talking fresh, vibrant vegetables that sing with spices and grilled meats over open charcoal grills. A simple Piyaz Salad made with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and beans. There’s a lot of Mediterranean style dishes and influences from Central Asia and Eastern Europe. In short, there’s a wide variety of tasty food to discover in Turkey but I’m going to focus on this Spicy Turkish Bulgur Red Lentil Soup, or Ezo Gelin Corba.
Ezo Gelin Corba
Ezo Gelin Corba is a spicy lentil soup made with red lentils, bulgur wheat, spicy red pepper paste, and tomato paste. It is finished using traditional Turkish flavourings such the combination of dried mint and lemons. While this hearty lentil soup is often enjoyed in Turkey as a savoury breakfast, I’m a fan of serving it for lunch on the chilliest of days. It’s really easy to make and you’ll fall in love with the spicy flavour of the Turkish Pepper Paste. It’s perfect for when you want a little extra heat in soups, stews, and even risotto.
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Comforting Soups from Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
Spicy Turkish Bulgur Red Lentil Soup
Ezo Gelin Corba/Turkish Spicy Red Lentil and Bulgur Soup
- 290 gr/1 cup split red lentils; rinsed and drained
- 1 onion; finely chopped
- 45 ml / 3 tablespoon coarse bulgur wheat; rinsed and drained
- 1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 60 ml / 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- 15ml/ 1 tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste (I used mild)
- 30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or butter/ghee
- 15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes (I used 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Put the lentils, bulgur wheat, onion and the chicken stock or water together in a pan.
- Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender.
- Stir in the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes, Turkish hot pepper flakes (optional), and the tomato paste.
- Mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency.
- Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.