This soup is named after a real person: Ezo was a very beautiful woman born in the early 20th century who was unhappily married. She tried to make her mother-in-law like her by making her this soup. Her story and the recipe spread all over Turkey, and today Ezo’s soup is eaten for breakfast or as part of a main meal. I like it as part of a hearty weekend brunch.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (162 votes)


  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 20 g (¾ oz/1 tbsp) butter
  • 2½ tbsp Turkish tomato paste or concentrated tomato puree (paste)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 200 g (7 oz/generous cup) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2½ tbsp fine burghul (bulgur) wheat (optional)
  • 1.2 litre (40 fl oz/5 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried mint (or less to taste) to serve
  • chilli flakes to serve
  • lemon wedges to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Slowly soften the garlic and onion in the butter over a low heat until translucent.

Add the tomato paste and paprika and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Then add the lentils, burghul (if using) and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Once the lentils are soft and beginning to fall apart, take off the heat and blitz in a blender until fairly smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve sprinkled with a light dusting of dried mint, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon.


Istanbul: Recipes From the Heart of Turkey, Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant, $45, hbk)