Ever heard of Tarhana Soup or Tarhana Çorbası as we say in Turkish? A heartwarming, traditional Turkish dish that's been around for ages. It combines tangy, savory, and slightly fermented tastes. This is what makes the soup unique. If you are a soup lover, you have to give it a try!
In our kitchen, there's always a special stock of Tarhana soup powder, lovingly made by our relatives in Turkey.
It's a heartwarming tradition: Whenever we visit our family back home, they gift us a bag of this homemade treasure. Every time we cook this soup in our kitchen, its wonderful smell reminds us of family times, with each spoonful full of tradition and love.
Other Turkish recipes that give us a sense of home include:
- What is Tarhana?
- What's Inside Tarhana Dough?
- Where to Buy It
- Is It the Same as Greek Trahana?
- What are Tarhana Chips?
- What Does it Taste Like?
- Ingredients for Making the Soup
- How to Make the Soup
- Adjust the Consistency
- Fixing Lumps in the Soup
- What to Serve with Tarhana Soup
- Storing and Reheating
- More Delicious Turkish Soups
- 📖 Recipe
What is Tarhana?
It is a dry soup mix that is used to make Tarhana corbasi, one of the most famous Turkish soups.
The dry soup mix starts out as a mixture called "Tarhana dough." This dough is basically a blend of plain yogurt, vegetables, and flour. It undergoes fermentation, a process where it sits for about 5-6 days.
After fermenting, the dough becomes like a thick paste. Then it is divided into small patties and placed on big trays or on a large, clean cloth to dry. This drying process takes a few more days. Once the dough is dry enough, it's ground into a powder using a food processor.
This final pulse is the "Tarhana soup powder." This powder is like the instant soup mixes you see at stores.
This powder is then carefully stored in fabric bags or jars for a year or longer. In Turkey, it's common to find it in every household's pantry.
In certain regions, instead of grinding the Tarhana dough into powder, it's cut into blocks and stored in this form.
Tarhana holds a special place among other Turkish dishes. It's made by families coming together, usually during the summer when tomatoes and peppers are ripe and plentiful. The warm, dry weather of summer is perfect for making Tarhana.
This unique soup is quite popular in Turkish cuisine for its rich taste and health benefits. It's packed with vitamins coming from the vegetables and yogurt it contains. It is also valued as a healthy baby food in Turkey. For babies, it's made less spicy, providing a wholesome and easily digestible meal.
What's Inside Tarhana Dough?
Tarhana is a diverse mix of ingredients, with each type varying slightly across different regions of Turkey. The basic components include flour, vegetables, yogurt, and a blend of spices.
Flour is the main ingredient, and it's what holds everything together.
Vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and green and peppers are added for flavor.
Yogurt plays a significant role in Tarhana's character, providing a tangy and slightly sour dimension to the mixture. It also aids in the fermentation process, contributing to Tarhana's unique profile.
Spices are also a key part of Tarhana. Common spices include mint and paprika, but each family or region might have their own special blend.
In different parts of Turkey, people add their own twist to Tarhana. Some regions include chickpeas in their recipe, adding a nutty flavor and extra protein. Others use grain like cracked wheat, bulgur or semolina which gives the Tarhana a heartier texture.
Each region gives its own name to their produce like Maras Tarhanasi, Usak Tarhanasi, Antep Tarhanasi and so on.
Where to Buy It
Making your own Tarhana from scratch is a time-consuming process, so not everyone opts for it. Fortunately, there are excellent brands that offer ready-made Tarhana for your convenience.
Finding authentic tarhana might require a bit of searching, as it's different from instant soup options. While you might come across brands like Knorr selling Tarhana soup, these are not the same as the traditional soup powder described above.
You can find Tarhana at Turkish or Middle Eastern markets, or online platforms like Amazon. Popular brands to look out for include Tombul Tarhana, Hasiroglu, and Kral Tarhana. Each offers a unique taste of this traditional Turkish soup.
Is It the Same as Greek Trahana?
Turkish Tarhana and Greek Trahana may sound alike, but they have differences:
Turkish Tarhana is a tangy mixture of grains, vegetables, spices, and yogurt, fermented and dried into a powder. It's known for its use in hearty soups.
Greek Trahana features cracked wheat or semolina mixed with yogurt or milk, dried in pellet or sheet form. It offers a milder taste and is used in soups or porridge.
What are Tarhana Chips?
When you're at the store, you might see something called Tarhana chips. These are different from the soup powder. Tarhana chips are like snacks, made from the same dough used for the soup.
Instead of turning the dough into powder, they bake or fry it until it's crispy. This makes them into chips, kind of like potato chips, but with the Tarhana flavor.
What Does it Taste Like?
Tarhana Soup has a distinct taste. It's slightly tangy, hearty, and doesn't taste exactly like any other food. The combination of vegetables, spices, and yogurt gives it a unique flavor that's both traditional and comforting.
Ingredients for Making the Soup
Making Tarhana Soup is simple and requires just a few ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Tarhana Soup Powder: This is the main ingredient. It's the dried and powdered form of the fermented dough we talked about.
- Water: You'll need water to mix with the tarhana powder to create the soup. You can use chicken stock or vegetable stock for extra flavor.
- Olive Oil and Butter: For cooking and add a rich flavor to the soup.
- Tomato Paste: You can substitute it with tomato puree or finely diced tomatoes. If you prefer, you can even leave it out. We love the extra tomato taste in our soup, so we add it.
- Dried Mint: A staple in Turkish dishes, dried mint offers a strong, fresh flavor that fresh mint can't match.
- Garlic: It adds a nice kick and depth to the flavor. Feel free to increase the amount if you're a garlic lover.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning the soup to your taste.
How to Make the Soup
Making a delicious bowl of Tarhana Corbasi is super easy. Here's how you can do it:
- Prepare the Soup Powder: Mix the Tarhana soup powder with some room temperature water in a bowl. Stir it well and let it sit aside. This allows the powder to soften and blend with the water.
- Make the Base: In a pot, heat some olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it well. Then add dried mint and grated garlic. Cook these until the garlic releases its aroma, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add Tarhana Mixture: Pour the mixture of the soup powder and water into the pot. Make sure to mix it well so there are no lumps.
- Add More Water and Seasonings: Pour in more water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir.
- Cook the Soup: Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens. Remember to stir occasionally so it cooks evenly.
Pro Tip: When cooking Tarhana Soup, be sure to stir it constantly until it reaches a boil. This helps evenly blend the ingredients and prevent any sticking to the pot.
Adjust the Consistency
The consistency of Tarhana corbasi can vary between brands of the soup powder you use. But it is easy to fix.
If your soup is too runny, mix one tablespoon of soup powder with about ¼ cup of water and stir it into the pot. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
If it's too thick, add about ½ cup of water and let it simmer. This simple adjustment ensures your soup turns out just right.
Fixing Lumps in the Soup
If you encounter lumps in your Tarhana Soup, you can make it smooth using a blender stick (immersion blender).
Here's how: Take the pot off the heat. Carefully blend the soup using a blender stick (immersion blender) until it becomes smooth and lump-free. Put the pot back on low heat and continue cooking while stirring.
The Tarhana Soup recipe we're sharing is the most popular in Turkey, but many people put their own twists on it to create different versions. Here are some ideas:
- Orzo Pasta: To make your soup heartier, toss in a handful of orzo pasta during cooking. It adds a delightful texture and thickness.
- Ground Beef: Browned ground beef brings a savory depth to your soup. Simply sauté it before adding the other ingredients.
- Cooked Chicken: Shredded cooked chicken is an excellent protein addition. Stir it in during the final minutes of cooking to warm through.
- Cooked Chickpeas or White Beans: These legumes provide creaminess and nutrition. Just add them to the soup, allowing them to heat.
- Other Vegetables: Get creative with vegetables like diced tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and carrots. Include them at the beginning of cooking for a well-balanced soup.
What to Serve with Tarhana Soup
When enjoying Tarhana Soup in the most traditional Turkish way, you'll find these classic Turkish side dishes:
Dried Mint and Red Pepper Flakes: These spices are always on the table, allowing everyone to sprinkle on their soup as they like, adding a burst of flavor.
Bazlama Bread: For an authentic touch, serve Tarhana Soup with Bazlama bread. It's a beloved village bread, just like Tarhana itself, and pairs wonderfully.
Other Breads: Alternatively, you can serve the soup with other traditional breads like Ramazan Pidesi, Cornbread without Flour, or Easy No Yeast Bread. For a non-traditional twist, try feta grilled cheese.
Borek: Pair it with a type of Turkish borek for a satisfying lunch.
Sliced Vegetables: Freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, or radishes make a refreshing side. Or opt for a Turkish salad like Çoban Salatası (Shepherd Salad).
Yogurt: A bowl of plain yoghurt on the side is a common and traditional choice. You can even whisk it with a little water and put some on top your Tarhana Soup.
Pickles: Pickles are a traditional accompaniment. They add a tangy and crunchy element to the meal. Check out our quick pickled cabbage recipe and make your own pickles in the easiest way.
Cheese: Crumble feta cheese or Turkish beyaz peynir for a creamy and savory pairing.
Storing and Reheating
- Let your soup cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3-4 months.
- For refrigerated soup, gently heat in a pot over low-medium heat, stirring often.
- Thaw frozen soup in the refrigerator, then reheat.
- Microwave in short intervals, stirring between heats.
- Adjust consistency with water or broth if needed. Enjoy!
More Delicious Turkish Soups
- Ezogelin Soup
- Turkish Lentil Soup
- Şehriye Çorbası (Turkish style orzo soup)
- Domates Corbasi (Turkish Tomato Soup)
- Tomato Rice Soup
- Yayla Corbasi (Yogurt Soup)
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
Tarhana Soup Recipe
Tarhana soup is a hearty and tangy soup popular in Turkish cuisine. It is made from a special fermented mixture that is dried and ground into a powder. This powder is then cooked with water or broth to make the soup. Often seasoned with spices, it's known for being nutritious and comforting, especially in cold weather.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 5 tablespoons tarhana (powder)
- 5 cups water, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a bowl, mix the Tarhana Soup Powder with 2 cups of water at room temperature. Set it aside to allow the powder to soften and blend well with the water.
- While the Tarhana mixture is soaking, heat olive oil and butter in a pot over medium heat.
- Add the tomato paste, dried mint, and minced garlic to the pot. Stir well and cook until you can smell the garlic and the tomato paste turns a deeper red.
- Pour the Tarhana and water mixture into the pot, along with the remaining 3 cups of water. Give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Keep stirring the soup constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Once the soup starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer. Continue to stir occasionally as it thickens. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Once the soup reaches your desired thickness, remove it from heat and serve.
- Remember to stir the soup continuously until it boils to prevent any sticking or lump formation.
- If you encounter lumps in your Tarhana Soup, you can make it smooth using a blender stick (immersion blender).
- For added protein and flavor, consider incorporating cooked chickpeas, white beans, or chicken into your soup. Simply add them during the final minutes of cooking to warm through.
- Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add a little water if it is too thick.
- Enjoy it with traditional Turkish bread like bazlama.
- Nutrition information given here is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 89
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 1058.5 mg
- Fat: 6.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.5 g
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 7.6 mg