Traditional soups

Cabbage soup

Cabbage soup is one of the local recipes of the Black Sea region. It is a very easy and healthy soup recipe to make.

Cabbage soup
Cabbage soup
  • 1 bunch of cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 glasses of water (for boiling)
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of shelled beans
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of cornmeal
  • 1/2 glass of water

After washing the cabbage, chop it finely and boil it in salted water for 15 minutes, drain it and set it aside. Put oil in a pan, add finely chopped onions and saute them. Add the diced carrots and potatoes and saute them for two or three minutes. Add the garlic and seasonings and mix. Then put the boiled and drained cabbage in the pot, mix it and fry it for a few more minutes. Make sure the stove is not on high heat. Then add bulgur, boiled corn or shell beans and mix. Add six cups of hot water, mix and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. Mix the almost-cooked corn flour with half a glass of water in a bowl until it gets a smooth consistency, add it to the soup and cook for five more minutes. After it boils for a while, take it off the heat and serve.


Boil some water, toss in the ingredients in the package, let it boil and you have yourself a soup – that’s what instant soups promise at least. The taste is debatable, but people like the convenience of it. Instead of the sodium-filled, artificial kinds perhaps it’s time to turn to something more nutritious and natural: tarhana, the world’s oldest “instant” soup mix to have originated from central Asia.

So what is this thing called tarhana? Tarhana is essentially a fermented cereal-based product that is a flavorful mixture of yogurt, flour, yeast, different vegetables, herbs and spices. It is made mostly from produce collected and harvested over the summer, which is then cooked, dried and crushed into fine pieces to create a delicious soup.

The beauty of this soup doesn’t stop there. Not only is it a probiotic powerhouse thanks to its fermented ingredients, but tarhana is also a great source for protein, vitamin B, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

While there are many versions of this traditional delicacy out there and many claim to be the originators of the tasty soup (as is the case with the Greek “trahana”), we’ll be focusing on the way Turks traditionally prepare it and later turn it into some soup.


  • 1 kilogram tomatoes
  • 1 kilogram onions
  • 1 kilogram red peppers
  • 500 grams cooked chickpeas
  • half a bundle parsley
  • half a bundle mint
  • 500 grams strained yogurt (süzme)
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 2-3 kilograms flour


Cut your tomatoes and onions into small pieces and de-seed your red peppers before chopping them as well. Put these into a pot and add the cooked chickpeas to them. Cook until everything has softened. If the liquid from the tomatoes is not enough, add a bit of water while cooking.

Once sufficiently softened, add the mint and parsley to the mixture and run it through a food processor or blender. To get rid of excess water use a sieve with a thin cloth.

Now, add the yogurt and the salt, gradually also adding the flour until it forms a soft dough. If the pot is not big enough to accommodate the dough, transfer it into a deeper bowl to let the dough rest for several days while closing off the bowl or pot with a cloth. The dough should be kneaded through, at least twice a day to air it through. A minimum of two days is required to get the sour taste of the soup, but depending on the air temperature and your taste preferences, the dough can be let to rest for up to seven days. Usually, three days is the norm.

Once the dough has soured sufficiently, it should be let to dry out in a place with no direct sunlight but good airflow. Spread it onto a clean surface, such as a thick cloth or baking paper, in small blobs to let it air dry. Once the blobs start to dry and the middle parts are still kind of moist, the tarhana can be run through a processor or broken down into a sand-like texture by hand. Do this before the tarhana dries out completely to avoid hard, unbreakable chunks. If desired, the broken pieces can be run through a sieve and run through a processor again.

The sand-like soup base should be let to dry out completely in a shaded place before being used in soups. While many store tarhana in a cloth, a glass jar in a dry and dark environment will be the best and safest option.

The consistency of the dough will vary depending on how watery the tomatoes are and the kinds of other vegetables used. Creating a soft dough is essential as adding too much flavor is not desired, hence the 1-kilogram margin in the ingredients table.

Many like to add hot peppers in as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and vegetables.

Making Tarhana soup 

As long as it takes to make the actual tarhana itself, cooking the soup is much easier and quicker. Many women sell their own tarhana at bazaars or you can easily purchase some at grocery stores. No tarhana soup will taste like the other, but here’s how to make a soup of it:


  • 3-4 tablespoons tarhana
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper, mint (to taste)
  • water or broth of your choice


Put the dried tarhana into a bowl of your choice and pour some hot water or broth over it, making sure it is dissolved completely.

While that softens, add the oil, tomato paste and garlic to the pot for the soup and lightly sautee them.

Pour the dissolved tarhana liquid mixture into the pot and add the seasoning of your choice. Add more water or broth depending on how thick you want your soup. Don’t forget to stir constantly. Let it boil and then simmer for a few minutes. Then turn the heat off, top of with some dried mint and serve!

The amount of tarhana mentioned here is my preference. The more you add, the thicker and more intense the taste will be. If you have never made this soup, start out with this amount and work yourself up to using more.

Garlic is, of course, optional but slightly roasting the cloves gives a great and subtle flavor.

Black Sea style corn soup

When it comes to specialty dishes like this, it’s normal for you to encounter many versions. Some prefer to add more ingredients to this, but I’ll try to stick to the basics to make it more accessible to more people. This soup is also more on the thicker side, but that can always be rectified by adding more water if you so desire.


  • 500 grams mısır yarması (cracked corn)
  • 1-2 onions
  • 200 grams cannellini beans
  • 100 milliters vegetable oil
  • salt, pepper to taste


Let the corn and the beans rest in water the night before so that they soften and are easier to cook. Wash them the next day and boil them in a pressure cooker with about 2.5 liters of water for about 45 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker or are scared to use them (rightfully so), you’ll need to cook them for about 1-1.5 hours. Once boiling, add the salt, pepper, finely chopped onions and the vegetable oil and add more water if it has become too thick. Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes and check to see if the corn and beans have softened by then. If that isn’t the case, continue cooking until it softens. Otherwise, turn it off and serve.

Lebanese Soup

Lebanese is a kind of yogurt soup. It is found in Lebanese cuisine and Turkish cuisine. It is also called shepherd’s soup in Türkiye’s Mardin.

  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons of rice
  • 1.5 cups of yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 6 glasses of water (You can add water if it has a thick consistency)

For the meatballs:

  • 200 grams of minced meat
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, pepper

To fry:

  • 2.5 tablespoons of butter
  • Dried mint for topping

Two tablespoons of rice are placed in a pot and a glass of water is added to it and boiled until it softens. To prepare the meatballs, put the minced meat in a bowl with grated onion, salt and pepper and knead the mixture thoroughly. Then, the meatballs are shaped by rolling them into marble-sized balls. Add four or five glasses of water to the rice, add chickpeas and boil. Add yogurt, flour, lemon juice and about half a glass of water into a bowl and whisk. Use a ladle to scoop some water from the rice mixture boiling in the pot and add it to the yogurt mixture. Whisk thoroughly. This prepared yogurt dressing is added little by little to the chickpea-rice mixture cooking on the stove. Add salt and let it boil. In a large pan, melt the butter and fry the meatballs. Two teaspoons of mint are added to the fried meatballs and heated. The soup is transferred to a serving plate and the buttered mint meatballs are poured over it.

Antep Byran

Antep Byran is a local dish with meat and rice. It has been registered with a Geographical Indication product label by the Turkish Patent Institute.

  • 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meat with bones
  • 300 grams of rice
  • Pepper leaf
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 100 grams body fat (tallow)

In a pot, boil the meat and bones over high heat. Reduced the heat and boil until well done. In another pot, cook the rice, and after 15 minutes, the boiled rice is placed in bowls in five portions. Ladle the meat and broth along with the garlic, pepper leaf and salt over the rice. Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon.

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