Mercimek Corbasi / Lentil Soup

This is an old family recipe for the dumplings, which were originally Polish egg noodles (kluski), and over the years I have modified it to make homemade dumplings.


  • 1 mid-sized patato
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot
  • 200 grams red lentil
  • 20 grams tomato paste
  • vegetable broth
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red paprika powder
  • some olive oil
  • some butter
  • 1 lemon


1Boil 2 liters of water in a kettle. Take a large pot to put in the ingredients. Chop onions in small cubes. Cut potato into 6 cubes. Cut carrot into small slices. Mash and cut garlic clove into small pieces. Put onion, potato, carrot, and garlic into the pot. Add 20 grams of tomato paste and vegetable broth.

2Wash 200 grams of red lentil, 3 to 4 times until water runs clear. Add washed red lentils into the pot. Add a table spoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, black and red pepper.

3Add 2 liters of boiling water from kettle into the pot, and give a good stir until tomato paste is dissolved and all is mixed well. Put a lid -halfway- on the pot, but leave some space open to avoid overlow. Turn up the heat to mid, and keep it for 15 minutes. After 15 mins, turn the heat to minimum, and continue to cook for another 10 mins.

4Stir the cooking soup regularly. Once 25 mins is over, use a mixer or a blender with the soup to make all ingredients homogeneous. Your soup is ready!

5 Before you serve, melt some butter on a small pan, add a bit of red paprika powder. Add melted butter on the soup. Add some lemon juice for some taste.

A Look at Notes On Cooking

Turn off the television, don’t answer the phone, just sit and read it through. Make a mental inventory of the sort of equipment you need, the cooking techniques required, the ingredients you have on hand. Note the stages of preparation, and get a sense of appropriate timings.

Turn off the television, don’t answer the phone, just sit and read it through.

This is the kind of sage advice you find in Lauren Braun Costello’s new book called Notes on Cooking – A Short Guide to an Essential Craft. The quote above comes from her chapter on Understanding the Recipe and is exactly the advice I try to give my readers at The Reluctant Gourmet web site and the Reluctant Gourmet blog all the time. Lauren just says it a little more succinctly than I do.

This is not a book full of wordy chapters but instead there are 217 short “notes on cooking,” like above, each filled with culinary insight that can help you be a better home cook. Here’s another one I like in The Cook’s Role chapter:

Work from your Strength. Don’t try to master everything. Become known for a few dishes, perhaps even the near perfection of one. Discover your obsession, then make yourself a slave to it: the mastery of a traditional dish, the combination of ingredients that have never before met, precision in presentation, devotion to a culinary heritage, the introduction of color where it never before existed.

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