A tale of a bride and her now national treasure soup recipe.
There are poems, films and folk songs written for her, even a Turkish TV series starring Turkish superstar Nurgül Yeşilçay, based around her hardship and its viewership was somewhat significant to say the least, popular across Turkey and abroad.
Ezo the Bride’s story is heartbreaking, no two ways about it. Yet this story has a heartwarming sense of innocence and goodwill, true folklore. So we really wanted to share it with you.
Her real name, Zöhre Bozgeyik, was born in 1909 in southeastern Anatolia, in the small village of Dokuzyol near the city of Gaziantep, a common traveller route where caravans stopped for rest and replenishment. By the time Ezo was 20 years old her beauty was the talk of the town with men of the village as well as the travellers stopping by lining up for her hand in marriage. Eventually marrying Şiddo Hanefi Açıkgöz from her village, some sources say the marriage was arranged the Berdel way (An exchange of brides between two families) and some say Şiddo stole Ezo’s heart and their love was the envy of the village.
Unfortunately, this marriage didn’t last long and Ezo divorced her husband Açıkgöz on the grounds of mistreatment as he was in love with another woman. Again, some sources say their love drove others envious who succeeded in driving the couple apart. After her first marriage, Ezo stayed single and sullen for some years before she re-married and moved to the south of the border to Syria, taking her away from her home and family, becoming homesick. Poor Ezo the bride now had a difficult to please mother-in-law which the legend tells tales of Ezo making her now legendary soup just to please her. Having beared nine children, Ezo passed away in the 1950’s in Syria and was repatriated to her village in Turkey with government officials intervention as it was her dying wish to be buried overlooking her home village.
It has now become tradition in southeastern Anatolia to feed brides Ezogelin soup on the eve of their wedding to symbolise the uncertainty and hardships ahead. We don’t know whether her second mother-in-law was ever pleased with her soup, but we can say with confidence that millions in Turkey sure are. Ezo the bride gave her name to this delicious soup, made with red lentils, bulgur and mint, perfect any time of the day with some Turkish bread to dip with. Ezogelin soup is one of our favourite on our Top Ten Turkish Soups list and a favourite amongst Turks in winter.
- 1 large onion, very finely diced
- 1 ½ cups split Red Lentils
- ½ cup Baldo Rice
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- ¼ cup Coarse Bulgur Wheat
- 1 heaping tbsp. flour
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. virgin olive oil
- 1 large vine tomato, skin peeled, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. sweet red pepper paste or tomato paste
- 8 cups beef or chicken stock
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. hot red pepper Urfa flakes, adjust to taste
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. dried mint
- lemon wedges
- Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan (with lid) with 2 tbsp. of virgin olive oil. Adding the onion and garlic, fry and gently stir with a wooden spoon under low heat until soft and transparent.
- Add the flour and keep stirring, making sure you don’t burn the flour.
- Mix in the finely chopped tomato and your choice of paste according to taste. Keep stirring. Add a tiny amount of water (2-3 tbsp.) and the paprika + Urfa red pepper flakes.
- Start pouring the beef/chicken stock slowly and keep stirring, making sure the contents mix well, bringing to a slow boil.
- Now add your rice, bulgur and lentils to the pan. (wash them beforehand) Add salt according to taste, keep checking the consistency and flavour . simmer for 20 minutes until the pulses are soft and the desired thickness is achieved according to preference, of course.
- Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan, you can add some paprika, mint and Urfa red pepper flakes at this stage or you can add later if you prefer. Give it a quick stir over low heat, not burning the flakes and pour over the soup served in a bowl, with a generous squeezing of lemon.
- Dip Turkish bread. Repeat.