Turkish Tarhana Soup

Tarhana pulse

Elizabeth Taviloglu

Prep: 120 hrs
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 120 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 100 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
48 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 100
Amount per serving
Calories 48
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 68mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 9mg 44%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tarhana is a traditional, spicy Turkish soup common throughout Anatolia. It is also the name for the dry pulse made from a fermented mixture of plain yogurt, flour, and vegetables that are used as a base for the soup.

Tarhana is a staple in many parts of Turkey. Tarhana soup is prepared by mixing the desired amount of crumbled tarhana with boiling water, milk, butter and spices and cooking it over a low flame.

Tarhana powder is prepared by mixing plain yogurt, flour, and grated vegetables like red pepper, tomato, and onion into a thick paste that is left to ferment for several days. The paste is then divided up, dried, and crumbled to make tarhana powder.

You can purchase tarhana powder in most Turkish groceries and Middle Eastern markets. Many cooks, especially those in rural areas, prefer to make their own tarhana. This is usually done once a year during the summer when drying the pulse is easy.

If you want to make and store your own dry tarhana, follow this simple recipe I use at home. It makes a lot of pulses, so have several large glass storage jars on hand, or make smaller jars to give as gifts.


  • 1 pound red bell peppers

  • 1 pound onions

  • 1 pound tomatoes

  • 4 cups water

  • 16 ounces drained cooked chickpeas, homemade or canned

  • 16 ounces plain yogurt

  • 2 pounds all-purpose flour

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Clean the vegetables—peppers, onions, and tomatoes—and put them into a large saucepan with the water. Boil them gently until very soft. Drain them, then add the cooked chickpeas and puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. If the mixture seems too watery, let it sit in a very fine wire strainer for a few minutes to let excess water drip away.

  2. Put the warm vegetable puree into a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt and mix thoroughly. Mix in the active dry yeast and spices.

  3. Now begin adding flour very slowly and working it completely into the mixture with your hands. Continue this process until all the flour is mixed in evenly and you have a smooth batter.

  4. Cover the top of the bowl with some cling wrap and a towel and set it in a warm place for five days. Check the batter every day and stir it to keep the fermentation even.

  5. On the fifth day, remove the towel and cling wrap and stir the mixture well. It should have a sour aroma and be bright orange in color.

  6. Divide the batter up by placing large spoonfuls on baking sheets covered with nonstick baking parchment. Leave the sheets in a dry place until one side of the patties are completely dry. Flip them over and allow the other side to dry.

  7. After the patties look dry, you can begin to break them apart with your fingers. The centers will still be moist, so allow more time for the coarsely crumbled tarhana to dry further.

  8. Repeat the crumbling and drying process several times until the pieces are small enough to put through a food processor or fine sieve.

  9. Once you have a lot of fine powder, spread it out on the trays and continue to dry it, shifting the powder with your hands occasionally.

  10. In the end, you should have a fine pulse that is completely dry. As long as you’re sure it’s dried thoroughly, you can store the pulse in glass containers for more than one year with no refrigeration needed.

  11. To make tarhana soup, simply cook a few tablespoons of the pulse in hot milk or water until it thickens, and add butter, salt, and spices to taste.

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.