Çorba: The Legacy of the Ottoman Empire

The term Çorba (pronounced as Chorba), a Turkish word that refers to soup, comes directly from the Old Persian šurbâ, which in turn is a combination of the morphemes salt and love (salty love). At first glance, the traditional soups of the former Ottoman Empire (what is now Turkey and other countries of the Anatolia penisula) don’t seem to be anything special compared to those of other regions. However, these Bosphorus dishes are much more than just soup. And because there is such a great variety of them, Turkish cuisine turns out to be one of the few in the world in which you can find varieties of soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with at least 500 different options.

Some were consumed only by the imperial court in coronation ceremonies or religious events. Likewise, the bowls in which the soup was served were of paramount importance. The finest were made of porcelain and decorated with delicate images of plants, sacred animals, or entrances to temples. The most refined bowls came on a small iron base decorated with similar characteristics, and these pieces were often granted by the nobles themselves to certain soldiers, doctors or other people who provided their services to the empire. Nowadays, of course, all varieties of Çorba can be consumed by any one of us. Therefore, if you go to a Turkish restaurant in Mexico City, be sure to carefully review the soup menu, where you are sure to find some deliciously rich options. We’ve highlighted a few below.


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Probably the most famous Turkish dish throughout the world, right after kebab. Its preparation, in principle, can be somewhat cumbersome, since its main ingredient is a type of sourdough that must be left to ferment for a few days. However, once ready, only water, stock (usually chicken-based), tomato paste and red pepper are added. It is served hot and sprinkled with feta cheese and fresh yogurt. It has an incredibly spicy flavor and is a perfect accompaniment to chicken with honey, another iconic dish served to emperors before the fall of Constantinople.

Mercimek Çorbası

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One of the most popular breakfasts in Istanbul, it is made with lentils, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Accompanied by a piece of bread and seasoned with a pinch of paprika, every spoonful of this traditional lentil soup is an unforgettable experience.

Badem Çorbası

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Straight from the kitchens of the palace of Edirne, a city famous for its mosques and its almonds, this soup has the latter as its main ingredient, in addition to milk, beef broth, and red pomegranate. It is not only delicious, but also nutritious, as it contains vitamin E, potassium and magnesium. It is no secret that almonds provide us with many nutrients, in addition to preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Ayran Çorbası

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Ayran is the name by which Turkish sour yogurt is known. It is very refreshing and nutritious, it has even been speculated that it is anti-carcinogenic. Ayran soup is usually eaten cold and served with chickpeas.

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