Anatolian Curd Soup

Tarhana çorbası


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

A dish to be planned well in advance (ten days or more), this traditional Anatolian soup is made with a preserved vegetable dough (tarhana,) that is dried and then rubbed between the hands, or through a sieve, to create tiny flavoured grains which give the soup a sour, nutty taste. These curds, prepared in the villages weeks or months before the soup is made, are tied up in cotton bags and stored in a cool place for up to a year. This recipe is particular to the Black Sea region, where it is served with melted butter and kırmızı biber. The quantities given here make enough tarhana for several occasions.


For the tarhana

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tomato, skinned and chopped
  • small bunch of mint and parsley, finely chopped
  • 4-6 oz/120-175 g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon süzme (thick strained yogurt)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried yeast, dissolved in a little water

For the soup

  • 2 oz/60 g tarhana
  • 2 pints/1.2 litres lamb stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the top

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted with 1 teaspoon kırmızı biber or 2 oz/60 g kaşar peyniri or Parmesan, grated


  • To make the tarhana, soften the onion and pepper in the oil. Add the tomato, mint and parsley. Cover and cook to a pulp over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the vegetable pulp, süzme and yeast. Mix well into a thick dough and knead. Cover with a cloth or foil and leave to sit in a cool place for at least 10 days, kneading it with moistened hands from time to time to prevent it from drying out.
  • Now pull small lumps off the dough and place them on a cloth sprinkled with flour. Leave them to dry out for a few days, turning them over occasionally. When the pieces of dough are almost dry press them through a wire sieve to produce fine crumbs. Then dry them in the sun, or in a very low oven, before using or storing.
  • To make the soup, soak 2oz/60g of tarhana in a little water for 2 hours. Heat the stock in a pan and stir in the tarhana. Bring the liquid to the boil, stirring all the time, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Season to taste and serve with melted butter and kırmızı biber or grated kaşar peyniri.