I have discovered a really amazing traditional soup thanks to the gift of a huge container of homemade erişte/erish:teh that Hatice gave me (along with homemade couscous and yet more of the new crop of olives) when we left our village of Assos a few days ago.
I don’t know about you – and here I am addressing all of you who live in Turkey and like me, see bags of erişte on market stalls everywhere and even in the supermarkets (but pazar/market is best; best of all is from someone that you actually know as we know Hatice) – but for years, I saw it, thought OK this must be some sort of noodle, and left it at that.
HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO DISINTERESTED?
Now I know exactly what erişte is: a dough comprising the usual ingredients, flour, eggs, salt and water. Nothing amazing there. But it is an Anatolian village staple. The women make it at the end of summer when this dough that they roll into sheets, can dry out in the sun.
The big deal is cutting it into 2.4cm strips and then here it is all ready for use in winter to make soups and other dishes. While researching this particular recipe, I came across one suggestion from a Turkish cook obviously living abroad, who says she cuts sheets of lasagne into strips that equate erişte and it does the job. But today I am thinking to myself: but surely it cracks when you cut it? But basically a great idea.
Now, to come back to this interestingly-named soup: of course my first point of reference is always TT – but he had never heard of it!
Daugher No 2 had indeed heard of dulavrat in connection with the Black Sea:
which means horse, woman and weapon. For me this immediately conjures up amazing images of mountains, yurts, goats, guns and life on the high plateau. How about you?
But the thing is, dul means widow so here we have a soup called widow woman: do you think it refers to the ingredients which are regular staples, inexpensive, things she would have to hand without too much fuss and with which she could make a delicious, nourishing soup?
Apparently, the soup hails from Adana which is in the south of Turkey. I am slightly surprised as for me Adana has definite associations with acı or hot’n’spicy, and this soup isn’t that.
Anyway, here is the recipe for Dulavrat Soup according to Alev Kaman: I hope you enjoy it as much as we did:
2 cups green lentils/yeşil mercimek
- Wash the lentils well, put in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain and put aside. Chop the onion finely and peel the garlic.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and gently cook till it starts to change colour. Add the flour and with a wooden spoon, mix in and cook a little. Add the two pastes and mix. Then add the hot water, bit by bit so that’s it well incorporated. Add salt and also pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked green lentils, cook for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Finally, add the erişte, crushed garlic and lemon juice and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve hot.
- TIP we found that extra lemon juice was a great idea.
In some of the recipes I researched, chickpeas were an addition. I can quite see that but since I am an Alev Kaman afficionado and she didn’t include them, I didn’t add any. But it would be easy.
What she does suggest as an extra is sprinkling 2 tbsp dried mint along with 1 small tsp flaked red pepper at the end of cooking and bringing to one last gentle boil before serving.
*A little word about pepper paste: I realise that perhaps not everybody knows what it is. Well, it is this delicious stuff made from fresh summer red peppers that I can just eat off a spoon.
It comes in two versions: tatlı/sweet, or acı/hot.
Once again, homemade is best eg from the villages from somebody that you know. But commercial is pretty good too.
I was given this one made in Eceabat, a place that we know well as it’s situated on the Dardanelles where you cross over to Çanakkale.
So I was inclined to think it would be tasty. However, it was disappointing. The taste of those red peppers just did not come through as I was expecting. Of course this taste does depend on when exactly they were harvested because the sweetness is an integral part of it. But I won’t be buying this make again.
If you can’t find pepper paste at all, then you will have to manage with a little bit extra tomato paste.
But do try this soup! It’s full of flavour and full of nourishment! I’ve already made it twice since the arrival of the cooler weather.