Cooking Class: Ezo's Turkish Wedding Soup with Red Lentils, Bulgur, Butter, and Mint with Jennifer Abadi

Cooking Class: Ezo's Turkish Wedding Soup with Red Lentils, Bulgur, Butter, and Mint with Jennifer Abadi


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Who was Ezo, and how does her nourishing soup of bulgur, red lentils, and mint continue to tell her story today? Learn a little background about the legend of Turkish Bride’s Soup and how you can prepare it at home to make any occasion special.

Turkish Ezogelin Çorbasi, otherwise known as “Ezo the Bride’s Soup,” is traditionally served for new brides right before their wedding day as a way of preparing them for the uncertainty of marriage.

The origin of this soup comes from a relatively modern and sad legend about a young Turkish woman in the early 1900s named Ezo (short for Zöhre) who came from the village of Dokuzyol near Gaziantep. Because of her undeniable beauty, many men who spotted her while traveling through the region longed for her hand in marriage. Unfortunately for Ezo, her first marriage ended in divorce and her second marriage years later forced her to move away from home to Syria where she raised nine children virtually alone and in poverty. It is believed that in order to please her cruel mother-in-law and prove herself worthy of marrying the woman’s son, she prepared this special red lentil soup.

A fragrant and wholesome soup that combines bulgur, rice, red lentils, and butter simmered with garlic, tomatoes, and mint, Ezo’s story lives on in Ezogelin Çorbasi, which over time has become a symbol of sustenance for new brides entering the great unknown future of marriage. It has also become a national symbol of love and pride for one’s country.

Led by Sephardic and Middle Eastern food instructor, Syrian cookbook author, and recipe preserver Jennifer Abadi, this interactive hands-on seminar will teach you how to make this nourishing and popular Turkish soup. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of this legendary dish. (And participants don’t have to be a bride — or a groom — to enjoy it!)

 

Below are the items you’ll want to participate in this class. We will email attendees the full recipe with measurements and instructions prior to the class, so that you can pre-measure ingredients before joining.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted, sweet butter (to keep non-dairy you can also use Earth Balance buttery spread)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped Spanish or white onion
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup peeled and finely chopped tomato pieces (about 1 large or 2 medium vine ripe tomatoes)
  • 1½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne (add according to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth/stock
  • 1½ cups red lentils
  • ¼ cup long-grain white or brown rice (not short grain)
  • ¼ cup fine- or medium-grain bulgur wheat
  • 3 tablespoon dried mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste; amount depends on how salty broth is)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve on the side (1 per person)

Special equipment:

We don’t list every item you’ll need here (e.g., standard items like knives, bowls, cutting boards). But we do our best to identify items that may not be in every kitchen, and alternatives where possible.

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping/chef’s knife
  • 3-quart pot with lid
  • Small saucepan or skillet, for heating topping

Jennifer Abadi is a native New Yorker, born, bred and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She is half Sephardic (Aleppo, Syria) and half Ashkenazic (Riga, Latvia). She is a researcher, developer, and preserver of Judeo-Arabic and Sephardic recipes and food customs, focusing on the Jewish communities of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is the author of two cookbooks: "Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe" and "A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen." Jennifer teaches cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC), as well as privately. Jennifer has been providing Jewish Food & Culture tours on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for Context Travel since 2012."

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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