How To Make Tarhana Soup The Turkish Way

Tarhana Dried Soup Mix

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.

I added extra onion, pepper, spices and salt to mine, as well as subbing in tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes. Also, I ran out of flour when I was making this recipe, so I omitted a few cups. I couldn’t find a place to lay out the Tarhana mix to dry, so I’m storing it in the freezer as “wet” tarhana. I made some soup today with a ratio of about 1 Tbs. wet mix to 1 cup water, and its very good.

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.


I reprinted this recipe and history of  Tarhana soup with permission from Binnur, who’s recipes and photographs are outstanding


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