When I am in Sapanca I assume the duty of a lunch cook so I can test drive the professional kitchen of Zeliha Hanım, master new Turkish dishes and as a pure side effect feed six hungry diners of assorted appetites. No wonder I cook hearty, seasonal and cheap meals. “Few simple inexpensive ingredients always result in delicious food”, says Zeliha Hanım. This tomato soup is a proof.
I admit it is a sneaky move of mine to get around the kitchen midday when the master is not around. I treasure the hours spending watching Zeliha Hanım as she cooks her heavenly food but I also enjoy my playground. Not necessarily I am playing the melody I was taught. But producing any sound at all feels great.
Fully equipped kitchen that impressed my restauranteur clients from Ukraine once is a Wonderland. And I am Alice who goes around and peeks, touches, smells and tastes all the curiosities. Is that not a luxury to pick a knife you need from a dozen of chef’s knives, get a cooking pot or frying pen out of 20 different sizes and find just about any device you may think about? Like cherry pitter which was handy for making stuffed vine leaves with sour cherries. Or little mezzaluna knife for cutting herbs for mucver, zucchini fritters.
Through the extensive dish washing last year I thought I have acquired necessary fluency in the kitchen utensils and yet every day there are new things. Today I have found out my favorite pot I use for making this very tomato soup is reserved for boiling milk. And no other food should get in there so by any chance milk would not go sour. Now you can imagine how much of a trouble I am.
Still, when Zeliha Hanım is away for business in town we have to eat. So I take the liberty to cook. This soup is one of dozens things I saw Zeliha Hanım making. There is never a recipe – only observing, taking notes and tasting. I am sure she would say this is not how it should be according to her. But as far as I am concerned this is a perfect recipe for summer happiness. My six hungry diners prove.
Tomato Soup with Vermicelli
Bursting with the taste of summer sun caressed tomatoes this tomato soup is delicious whether prepared light or hearty
Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 30 Min
- 4 large tomatoes halved and grated
- 1 green banana peppers finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 gram vermicelli (up to 70 g for heartier soup)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 cups hot water
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dry mint
- 1.5 tsp salt
- In a pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it become slightly golden. Then add green peppers and paprika – cook stirring energetically for another 3-5 minutes until peppers soften.
- Stir in grated tomatoes. Bring to a boil; cook covered for about 10 minutes until tomatoes become dark red. Mix tomato paste with 1 cup water using a whisk and add to the soup, let simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 5 cups boiling water, increase heat to high, bring to boil and then gradually stir in vermicelli. Let cook covered on the high heat for about 3 min. Turn the heat off, add dry mint and let seat covered for about 3-5 minutes before serving.
- Suggestions for serving: sprinkle some crumbly goat cheese, or grated cheddar, or croutons with olive oil, sesame seeds, black pepper and thyme. Another amazing thing about this tomato soup is that because of the vermicelli it thickens over time: if you cool it down and refrigerate overnight then the next day you could dilute it with hot water, boil, adjust salt and spices – and enjoy again.