Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tarhana Soup

(Tarhana Corbasi)

Tarhana Soup
2-3 tablespoonful tarhana dough (see below)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp crushed tomato
2-3 cup chicken stock
Crushed red pepper, optional
1 tsp butter

Crumbled feta cheese

Place the tarhana and 1/2 cup water in a pot. Leave it alone for 1-2 hours for tarhana to dissolve a bit. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat. Adjust consistency of the soup to your liking by adding more water if you prefer. Taste for salt.

Place the soup into a bowl, sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese on top and serve while still warm.

Tarhana Soup is great for cold winter mornings as breakfast:)

This recipe makes 2 servings.

Meal Ideas:
- Lady's Thighs Kofte, Egg Noodles with Tomato and Carrot Salad.

Tarhana Dough


2 red bell peppers or long red peppers, discard the seeds, cut in chunks
2 medium sized onions, peeled, cut in chunks
2 large tomatoes, peeled, diced
1 3/4 cup yogurt, plain
7 gr yeast, melt in a little bit of warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dry mint
1 tbsp dry oregano
1 tbsp dill, dry or fresh, chopped
1 tbsp salt
7-8 cups flour (the amount of flour can be changed depending on the size of vegetables, add little by little)

Use the mixer to finely chop onions, tomatoes and red peppers. In a large bowl place the melted yeast, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, yogurt, mint, oregano, dill, olive oil and salt. Add flour gradually and knead until it becomes thick. During kneading add a few spoons of water in it.

Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel. Leave it at room temperature to ferment, which takes 5-6 days. Knead the dough every day for about 4-5 minutes, then cover it with the towel every time. Your kitchen might smell a bit sour, which is normal. When the dough puffs up, the bowl might be too small for it, so divide the dough into two pieces and place in different bowls on the 2nd or 3rd day.

It's the end of fermentation when the dough no longer puffs up. Divide them up and place them in Ziploc bags. Store in the freezer.

If you like to keep it dry, divide the dough into small balls, place the pieces on a cloth and let them dry. Turn the balls often. Every day divide the balls into 2 or 3 pieces. It takes a few days. Best way to let it dry is outside under the sun. Then strained through a sieve - use your fingers to crumble. Or you can use the mixer as well. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge.

History of Tarhana

Tarhana is the first instant soup which was invented by Central Asian Turks. In the summer time they mixed fresh vegetables with yogurt to prepare their hearty winter soup. In Turkey, there are several varieties of tarhana. For example some regions use corn flour instead of white flour or they add chickpeas in it.

The meaning of the word of Tarhana is not well known, however there's a story about it. Many centuries ago, the Sultan at the time was a guest at a poor peasant's house. There was only one thing that the peasant wife could offer to the Sultan. She boiled up the soup quickly, and she was embarrassed and said this is "dar hane" soup, which means "poor house". This "dar hane" soup eventually became known as "tarhana" soup. Also during the reign of the Ottoman empire Tarhana Soup entered Balkan cuisine like so many dishes of Turkish cuisine.


At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Nicole said...

This is such an interesting recipe! I enjoyed reading about the history!

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Nicole,
Thank you:) I love these kinds of little stories that are part of our
culture. That's why I like to share every one:)

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Saskia said...

Even though this soup sounds complicated to make, it is well worth it. When I am in a hurry, tarhana soup is quick to make (I don't usually soak the powder longer than half an hour). Also, I add crushed garlic and a dried chili pepper for flavor. Thanks for this recipe!

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Saskia,
It is a great soup for the winter time. Adding garlic and crushed
pepper will make Tarhana even more irresistible:) Thank you.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Roko said...

Can this soup be reheated, say, in a microwave?

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Roko,
Sure it can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave:)

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur
My family still makes tarhana in summer and dries it on the roof.
Deniz ipek :)

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Deniz,
How lucky they are:) Over here we don't have a roof or even a terrace to
dry them...that's why I keep them as dough in the freezer:)

At 3:57 AM, Anonymous chryssa said...

Hi Binnur,

I am a Greek girl whos is married to a Turkish guy, and as you can imagine I am very keen to learn as much as possible about your cookery. I have recently discovered your site, and I cannot wait to try out your recipes. Greek cuisine is very similar and very different to Turkish, which ofcourse leads to "heated" arguments with my husband. I come from a family of cooks (grandfather, father and mother!) and I think the best way to describe food in my home is Greek/Turkish fussion. And here comes my question: My family also makes trahana (that's what it is called in Greece) in the summer, but it is completely different dough to the one you described. It is made of pieces of wheat similar to bulgur which is boiled in milk, salt and pepper, and then it is dried in the sun. It is then cooked either with tomato sauce, or with milk. I made this for my husband who was not impressed! I want to use my dough, but how could I adapt Greek trahana to your recipe? Would it work?

Many Thanks,

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Chryssa,
We have some similarities with Greek and other Balkan countries,
because during the reign of the Ottoman empire so many dishes of
Turkish cuisine entered Balkan cuisine:) Like dolma (filled), sarma(rolled up), borek, baklava, kebabs, lokum.... Also we have been
neighbours for a long long time..... However, your recipe of Tarhana soup doesn't match our Tarhana Soup. Give my version a try too, you might like it :)

At 12:15 PM, Blogger labelga said...

Hello Binnur, thank you for your meal ideas, and the history & background to these fascinating recipes ad staples, like Tarhana, unknown to me.
I've just read about it thanks to your Meal ideas. I really like reading these explanations, thank you for taking the trouble introducing us to Turkish practices. Have a nic Sunday, Aagje

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Aagje,
Thank you for the nice comments, it really made me happy:) I love to
introduce and give some info on the history of Turkish cuisine.
Have a nice week :)

At 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur, what a great site!
I was wondering how you would keep the dried pieces of Tarhana. Is it best frozen ?


At 11:07 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Martin,
Thank you:) Dry Tarhana soup should be kept in the dark and in a cold place. I don't make dry Tarhana for myself, I think they should be refrigerated.

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,
Best way to store your dry tarhana in a cloth bag and tied up the so won't get anything in it.Keep in dark and cook place,like in a cupboard.It is best the finish in a year so you can benefit the nise smell of it.
We usually made a cloth bag ourself,It is look like bigger an old money purse:o)
And Binnur ,
Thank you very much of the Tarhana Dough.
I really missed its smell and taste.
I didn't know how I can make it.
Ellerin dert gormesin.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Nurel,
Thank you for all the information:) My grandmother used to make tarhana for all our family...and I do it the way I learned from her, she never made dry tarhana:) Simdiden ellerine saglik.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur

Thanks very much for the recipe, I have been on the look-out for this for sooooo long.

One question though. My husband claims that the traditional way of making the tarhana dough is with the actual "wheat seed" (döğme) rather than with the flour. He would really like me to use the seed, as he says it makes the dish perfect, as you are "feeling" the seed when eating the soup. He is however, not sure how to make the dough with seeds rather than flour. He just says, the seeds are soaked in yoghurt for a while and then dried before making the actual dough?

Can you tell me if this is true or whether the process of working with the seed is different?

Thanks again for a wonderful site...


At 9:49 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Thank you Sidse,
Making Tarhana dough may change from one region to other. I am sure what your husband asks for is his region's traditional Tarhana:) You should follow his direction. It seems he remembers very well:)

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur;
I am Turkish student who studies in Belgium. There will be a special day about international cultures in our school. So, I want to present tarhana in this festival. May I use your recipe and pictures in this site by referring your name in the brochure?, best regards, Serhat

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Serhat,
Thank you asking me for permission. You can put recipe and the pictures on the brochure as long as is linked under the recipe:)
Wish you the best,

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Sidse said...

Merhaba Binnur Hanim

I have just prepared the Tarhana dough today and put it aside :-)

I am so excited about it and hope it will turn put as good as your other recipes.



At 9:17 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Sevgili Sidse,
Your tarhana will be delicious, and you will enjoy it especially in cold winter days:)

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Sidse said...

I look so much forward to tasting it. It is waiting on the 2nd day know... smelling really delicious. I have a few questions though.

1. The dough is quity sticky. Is that supposed to be that way or should I add more flour now?

2. How long is the dough good for, once finished?

3. Is it important whether the dough dried or freezed? Which method keeps the flavour best?

Thank you once more :-)

Sidse Ünal

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Sevgili Sidse,
1) If it is too sticky, you should add more flour. When you touch it, it may be sticky but it shouldn't stick on to your finger.
2) It depends how hot the weather is. If the weather is hot the fermentation will be quicker.
3) The taste is the same if dried or freezed. I always freeze the dough because how my grandmother did, I don't want to change how I learned from her:)
Ellerine saglik:)

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Sidse said...

Iyi aksamlar Binnur Hanim

Thanks for your response. I have now added some flour, and the texture now feels much "more right". I hope it is not a problem that the flour has been added at a later stage.

I might not have been clear on 2), so allow me to rephrase the question.

What I wanted to know, is how long I can keep the dough for (when freezed or dried) before it becomes old?

Best regards,


At 6:58 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Sidse,
Sorry, I think I wasn't reading your question carefully:) I prepare my tarhana dough end of August. So I cook the last one about a week ago. I don't cook Tarhana soup in Summer time. It means almost 8 months I keep it in the freezer.The amount of the time is also the same for the dry tarhana. Keep the dry one in the cool and dark place.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

I loooove tarhana soup! It's so different. I have wanted to make it myself for the last 5 years, but never have. We are going to Turkey this summer, and I hope to bring some back.

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur

I have tasted a bean soup with meat (the soup tastes a little smokey) which Bosnians call Grah (not sure if thats how to spell it). Do u have anything similar in Turkey? If u do would u b so kind as to post the recipe

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Grah is a Bosnian bean soup with sausage (Sujuk) or Pastirma. It can also be plain. We cook Kidney Beans with Sujuk or Pastirma. It is a dish not a soup. If you like, you may add more juice in it:)
I have not posted Kidney Beans with Sujuk or Kidney Beans with Pastirma yet, I am going to do it in the future:)
Take care,

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Sidse Ünal said...

Hi Binnur

Just wanted to let you know how the whole tarhana-story turned out. My husband did not like my tarhana at all, and kept on telling me, that I made it the wrong way.

We just came home from a holiday in Adana, where I got a chance to see, how they make their tarhana there.

They use some kind of wheat which is kneeded with yoghurt. Afterwards it is dried (under the sun), and broken up in bits and frozen. When they want to use it, it is taken from the freezer and soaked. Finally when cooking all the spices are added. This is a very different way of making tarhana? It seems like every region cook their tarhana differently :-)

This is the only dish and have had this kind of experiencem so I was wondering whether you know of any other Turkish dishes where the variations are so strong.


Sidse Ünal

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Sidse,
Hosgeldin:) You did not make Tarhana in a wrong way. Many regions make and have Tarhana like this like west side of Turkiye:)For example, Wedding Soup also can be
different from one region to another. Also Adana Style Acili Ezme is different then Antep Acili Ezme, Adana regions Etli Yaprak Sarma is different from West side.... the list is goes on and on.... West is different from East, North is different from South. That's why Turkish
cuisine has a very large variety of dishes.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merhaba Bilnur abla,
I am turkish myself however I was never interested in the cooking side of things when it came to turkish food until i married a turk:) However this site is soooo goood I had to at least say thank you. You have saved me on phone bills coz I don't need to ring my mum overseas every time I need a recipe:) Good stuff!!!!


At 11:51 AM, Blogger Sandra said...

Merhaba Binnur,
Buldum! Yayla Corbasi degil, Tarhana Corbasi yapti! Cok, cok tesukker ederim. Esim'nin annesi bir ay sonra gelecek. Benim annegem cok sok olecem.
Elenize saglik.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Sandra,
Ben de az once Tarhana Corbasi diye yazmistim:) Geldigi zaman birlikte evde yapabilirsiniz:)
Kendine iyi bak,

At 11:56 AM, Blogger logfrogfog said...

Hello Binnur,

Tarhana soup is one of my favorite soups and I often make it with your recipe. I was wondering, however, if you know of a low(er) carbohydrate recipe for tarhana soup. I am wanting to make it for a friend of mine who has to keep a lower carb diet. Would soy or someother meal/flour work well?

Thank you!

At 10:52 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

I think you should try to make Tarhana soup with non-fat yogurt and low carb flour. But I never use any other flour to make it other than the regular one:)
Take care,

At 4:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

merhaba binnur hanim
i made tarhana dough two days ago the dough is sticy shall i add more flouer although i put 8 cups of floure
please i want to know how many taple spoons of tarhana powder shall i use for this recipe
best regardes

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Sousou:)
You need to use 2 tbs tarhana powder for 2 servings.
Take care,

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Sousou,
Sorry, I think I forget that one:) Sure, you can add more flour until the dough is not sticky any more.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Linda said...

I visited Turkey in September with a friend whose son married a Turkish girl. I bought some Tarhana when we spent the day in Sirince, and I had forgotten exactly how to make the soup. Thank you for your recipe! I will serve it tonight. And I also want to say that my friend's Turkish family were the warmest, most generous hosts I have every visited.

At 1:53 AM, Blogger Emily said...

I'm moving to Trabzon in June and since I got my plane ticket, I've been cooking recipes from your site like mad. This recipe seems so interesting, I can't wait to try it! Thanks for all your work.


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