Anyone who knows Turkey will know that çorba (soup) is a staple of Turkish cuisine, and while there are some Turkish soups that might prove a challenge (I’ve never enjoyed a bowl of brain soup for example), others, such as red lentil soup (kırmızı mercimek çorbası), will be some of the best soups you have ever tasted.
Another favourite of ours is good old domates çorbası. Tomato soup was always a favourite while growing up, but that was out of a tin. When we started to make our own tomato soup, that was when it got really good!
This is a simple soup recipe using fresh ingredients from Fethiye market. As we were having it for dinner, we decided to make it more filling by adding şehriye (vermicelli) at the end.
This is a common addition to Turkish soups and Turkish rice.
Turkish Recipe For Şehriyeli Domates Çorbası
A quick scan online will reveal many different versions of tomato soup recipes – but this is how we make ours. This recipe makes four large servings, or six if eaten as a starter.
First of all, you need a stock; anything from simple hot water to a stock cube to a homemade vegetable, chicken or beef stock.
- Ours is a very simple stock of water, chicken bones, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Turn the heat high and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
- Meanwhile, you can move onto your main ingredients.
These quantities are not hard and fast. The beauty of any soup recipe is that you can add as much or as little as you like of any ingredient and, as you may know from our previous Turkish recipes, we like strong flavours. Our soup recipes, more often than not, contain chillies.
- Finely chop a large onion and add to a large saucepan with a glug of oil.
- Grate or crush 3 large cloves of garlic and add that to the pan.
- At this point, we grate 3 large green or red chillies on the finest setting and add to the pan.
- Sweat the mixture on a low heat for a few minutes and, meanwhile, grate 4 large tomatoes into a bowl. You don’t need to peel them as most of the skin will be left behind as you grate the flesh.
- Into the pan, add 4 cubes of butter (about 1 cm cubed) and allow to melt before adding a tablespoon of flour.
- Stir the mixture so you can see the butter and flour form a paste, and then add the grated tomatoes.
- Now add 3-4 ladles of whichever stock you are using along with some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for around 20 minutes and then add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (domates salçası) and stir into the soup.
Taste your tomato soup and check the consistency. Add more salça if it’s too thin, more stock if it’s too thick.
If you’re happy with it, remove from the heat, take out the blender and give your soup a good whizz until it’s smooth and creamy. Some people add milk or cream to their soup at this point, but we find the butter and flour that was added earlier is enough richness for us. It’s up to you.
Now, add a good handful of şehriye (vermicelli) to your soup, stir it in and place a lid over the top to keep it warm. The şehriye will cook in around 5 minutes in the heat of the soup. While you are waiting, cut some thick wedges of fresh, crusty bread.
Now you’re ready to enjoy your tomato soup. We ate ours last night for dinner and there was just one thing missing: freshly torn basil leaves. Alas, the basil season is still to come, but we’ll definitely be making this şehriyeli domates çorbası again once those tasty, little, green leaves are available.