Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tarhana Soup (Tarhana Corbasi)

Tarhana soup is one of the most traditional soups in Turkish cuisine, which is made out of tarhana, a fermented and dehydrated mix of flour, yogurt, onions, tomatoes and green peppers (See Good Old Friend, Tarhana).

From Binnur's Turkish Cookbook blog:

Tarhana is the first instant soup which was invented by Central Asian Turks. In the summer time, they mixed fresh vegetables with yogurt to make their hearty winter soup...
The meaning of the word Tarhana is not well known, however there's a story about it. Many centuries ago, the Sultan at the time was a guest at a poor peasant's house. There was only one thing that the poor peasant wife could offer to the Sultan. She boiled up the soup quickly, and she was embarrassed and said this is "dar hane" soup which means "poor house". This "dar hane" soup eventually became known as "tarhana" soup...

This soup has a unique, delicious flavor and a fulfilling consistency; and because of the nutritious ingredients of tarhana, it's good for you, too.

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)

  • 8 tablespoons tarhana in lump/powder form, from a package
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken/beef/vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • Salt, pepper


  • Mix tarhana and 1 cup of the stock in a small bowl and let tarhana soak in stock for 20-30 minutes.
  • In a pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the stock; mix until smooth.
  • Add tarhana-stock mixture into the pot gradually; whisking constantly until smooth and making sure there are no lumps of tarhana left (a few tiny lumps are ok).
  • Add the remaining 6 1/2 cups stock into the pot gradually, whisking constantly to achieve a smooth consistency. Add the mint. Bring to a boil stirring frequently.
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the soup gets thicker and develops a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Additional points:

The salt amount of packaged tarhana mixes vary among different brands; and some may be quite salty. Taste the soup as you go along, before adding more stock or salt. You may want to skip adding salt all together; and you may want to reduce the amount of stock (since stock also contains salt) and use plain water instead.

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