Penny Soup

Mangir Corbasi

A mangır was an Ottoman coin of very low value. In Turkey, the pasta used in this soup was farfur, a tiny, flat pelletlike homemade pasta in the shape of a coin, thus the name Penny Soup. This Ma’min recipe is from Esin Eden. For ease, use broken vermicelli, orzo, or pastina in place of the homemade egg pasta. This same soup made with rice instead of noodles is called sopa de huevo y limon and was eaten to break the Yom Kippur fast in Salonika. During Passover in Greece and Turkey, broken matzohs replace the noodles, and the soup is called sodra, which means “deaf.” In La table juive, the recipe for sodra calls for simmering 3 broken matzah in 6 cups chicken stock for 5 minutes, and then adding a mixture of 4 eggs and the juice of 2 lemons. Although the addition of the egg-and-lemon mixture in all these versions guarantees a nicely tart soup, lemon wedges are still passed at the table.

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  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • cups orzo, pastina, or other small pasta
  • 4 cups meat or chicken stock, or as needed
  • 2 eggs
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges


Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the pasta and cook, stirring often, until pale gold, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the 4 cups stock to a simmer in a separate saucepan. When the pasta is golden, add the hot stock and the remaining uncooked pasta to the pan and simmer gently, uncovered, until the pasta is tender. The timing will depend upon the type of pasta used. If the soup is too thick, thin with more stock.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and lemon juice until quite frothy. Whisk in a little of the hot soup to temper the eggs, then gradually stir the eggs into the soup over low heat. Cook very gently for about 1 minute, but do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the mint or parsley. Pass the lemon wedges at the table.