What’s cooking: Lentil soup and menemen

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland, I have a limited food budget. But I also love food–both eating and making it. During PST, I cooked without an oven, refrigeration, and a non-stick skillet. Now at my permanent site, I have all three, though at a cost. This occasional series will highlight my cooking and baking and the recipes I use.

After spending a month in Turkey last year, there are many days where I wish for an excellent Turkish meal. Two of the easiest foods to prepare are lentil soup and a tomato and egg dish called menemen. I eat these dishes with a tasty slice of bread and I quickly return to the wonderful dinners of Turkey.


Difficulty: Easy
Cost of supplies: E20
Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 3

Tools needed:

  • Cutting board
  • Pairing knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • Spatula

Lentil soup ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 c red lentils
  • 5 c water
  • Dried chicken stock cube
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste


  1. In pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Once hot, cook vegetables until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add lentils, water, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils fall apart, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add spices to taste.


  6. If you want a thinner soup, add more water, a 1/2 cup at a time.

Menemen ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 fresh eggs
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste


  1. In skillet, heat oil.
  2. Cook vegetables until tomato juice is reduced and onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Make three wells in the vegetables.
  4. Crack one egg at a time into a cup and pour egg into one of the wells. If egg is not fresh, the yolk will crack. For best appearance, use eggs with solid yolks.


  5. Cook the eggs until the yolks are set, about five minutes.
  6. Pour eggs and tomatoes out of skillet or separate each and remove each egg with a wide spatula.

Serve lentil soup and menemen with crusty bread or pitas.




This entry was posted in Africa, Peace Corps, Swaziland, What's cooking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What’s cooking: Lentil soup and menemen

  1. Brittany says:

    Looovee me some lentils.

  2. I think that tastes good!

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