A traditional Greek soup based on lentils, onions and carrots spiced up with lots of herbs and spices.
Ingredients for Greek Lentil Soup
230g / 8oz of green or brown lentils (see Advice section below).
1 medium carrot
1 medium to large onion
1.1 litres of chicken / vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of tomato concentrate
2 bay leaves
5cm / 2inch of fresh ginger
6 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
1½ teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
Handful of fresh mint
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Optional - serve with wine vinegar and some olive oil (see Advice section below)
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the carrot, top and tail it and then grate it.
Peel and grate the fresh ginger.
Peel the onion, top and tail it then finely chop, do the same with the garlic.
Finely chop the mint.
Wash the lentils under running water.
Greek Lentil Soup, or if you are in a Greek mood, Fakes Soupa, is still a frequently served meal in many parts of Greece. Here in the UK and the USA we seem to have fallen out of love with lentils but it is one of the tastiest foods when spiced up with a few well chosen ingredients.
At the heart of a Greek Lentil soup are brown lentils although other lentils can be used without impairing the taste. Onions and carrots are also very traditional, chopped celery is often also added if any is available. From there on anything goes although meat is not part of this soup. We have spiced this dish up with cumin, turmeric and paprika. However, every region in Greece has its own recipes for Fakes so experiment as much as you want.
Most lentils require no soaking just simmering for 45 minutes or so. These are the type we used for this recipe. Check the pack to ensure that you don't buy lentils which need to be soaked overnight.
If Greek Lentil Soup is being served as a main meal the Greeks would add three or four side dishes as well. Greek olives would be a must, pita bread smothered with tomatoes is also a favourite as is feta cheese drizzled with olive oil.
Final mention must go to the Greek predilection for adding wine vinegar and a good splash of olive oil to the soup. These two additions would normally be served separately so that individuals can add as much or as little as they like.
Pour the olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and fry them gently for 10 minutes. Turn the mixture several times to ensure it is evenly cooked.
Put the lentils in a large pan and cover with 3cm / 1in of cold water, bring to a boil and then boil gently for ten more minutes.STEP 2
Drain the lentils of all the water and then place them back in the big pan. Add the stock, fried onions and carrots, tomato concentrate, bay leaves, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric and turn the heat up to medium high until the soup begins to boil.
Turn down the heat, add the garlic and let the soup simmer for 35 minutes. When cooked, test for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Cooking Greek Lentil Soup
While the soup is cooking, add the yoghurt, mint and the juice of the lime to a dish and mix well with a fork.
Serve the soup into four bowls and top each with a good dollop of the yoghurt mix. Serve with bread, we have chosen pita bread topped with tomato and garlic. For the real Greek finish, place a small bowl of wine vinegar and olive oil in the centre of the table to add to the soup according to taste.