|Alternative names||shurbat al-adas, mercimek, tlokheh|
|Place of origin||Middle East|
|Region or state||Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Palestine|
|Main ingredients||Lentils (green, brown, red, yellow or black)|
|Cookbook: Lentil soup Media: Lentil soup|
Lentil soup is a soup based on lentils; it may be vegetarian or include meat, and may use brown, red, yellow or black lentils, with or without the husk. Dehulled yellow and red lentils disintegrate in cooking, making a thick soup.
History and literature
Lentils were unearthed in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic layers of Franchthi Cave in Greece (9,500 to 13,000 years ago), in the end-Mesolithic at Mureybet and Tell Abu Hureyra in Syria, and sites dating to 8000 BC in the area of Jericho. The ancient Greeks were lovers of lentil soup, as attested to by a comment by Aristophanes: "You, who dare insult lentil soup, sweetest of delicacies." Lentil soup is mentioned in the Bible: In Genesis 25:30-34, Esau is prepared to give up his birthright for a pot of fragrant red lentil soup (a "mess of pottage" in some versions) being cooked by his brother, Jacob. In Jewish tradition, lentil soup has been served at times of mourning, the roundness of the lentil representative of a complete cycle of life.
Lentil soup may include vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery, parsley, tomato, pumpkin, ripe plantain and onion. Common flavorings are garlic, bay leaf, cumin, olive oil, and vinegar. It is sometimes garnished with croutons or chopped herbs or butter, olive oil, cream or yogurt. Indian lentil soup contains a variety of aromatic spices. In the Middle East, the addition of lemon juice gives a pungent tang and cuts the heaviness of the dish. In Egypt, the soup is commonly puréed before serving, and is traditionally consumed in the winter.
- List of soups
- Dal, Indian lentil preparations
- Ezogelin soup, a Turkish lentil and wheat soup
- Haleem, a soup with wheat, barley, lentils, and meat
- Pea soup
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