‘Hüzün, which denotes a melancholy that is communal rather than private. Offering no clarity, veiling reality instead, hüzün brings us comfort, softening the view like the condensation on a window when a teakettle has been spouting steam on a winter’s day. Steamed-up windows make me feel hüzün, and I still love getting up and walking over to those windows to trace words on them with my finger. As I shape words and figures on the steamy window, the hüzün inside me dissipates and I can relax; after I have done all my writing and drawing, I can erase it all with the back of my hand and look outside. It is time to come to a better understanding of this feeling that the city of Istanbul carries as its fate’ – Orhan Pamuk,
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnishing
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp of crushed chilli flakes
1 tsp dried mint
250g of red lentils, rinsed
150g of toasted bulgar wheat
Juice of a lemon (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
How I make it
Heat up the oil in a large pan, add the carrot, onion and garlic and sauté them for around five minutes until they are soft.
Add the tomato purée, tinned tomatoes, spices and mint; stir for a minute or two until everything is combined.
Add the lentils, bulgar wheat and about 1.5 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil, partially cover and simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and, if you need to, topping up with hot water until the grains are cooked through.
Blend to a chunky consistency, adding more hot water if you need to to achieve your desired consistency. Add the lemon juice (if using) and season to your taste.
Serve with a lightly sautéed garnish of red chilli and chopped spring onion, a sprinkle of pul biber, a drizzle of olive oil alongside some freshly baked Turkish flatbread and a little bowl of Turkish yoghurt.