Are you a fan of dishes made with tripe? Tripe has been present in many world cuisines for centuries. It's especially popular in traditional British, Scottish and Irish cooking and in cuisines from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Despite its decline in popularity in Europe and North America in recent years, dishes made with tripe are still popular as ever in Turkish cuisine.
One of Turkey’s best known and loved tripe dishes is a soup called ‘işkembe çorbası’ (eesh-kem-BEH’ chor-BAH’-suh).
Turkish tripe soup is a simple recipe of tripe that is simmered for hours in stock then thickened with flour and egg yolks. The soup is flavored with hot pepper, vinegar, and crushed garlic and garnished with popular Turkish spices like mint, oregano, and sumac.
Many cooks make tripe soup at home, but it’s best known as a hangover remedy. That’s why the best places to enjoy authentic tripe soup are after hours soup kitchens that prepare the soup for late-night passers-by.
Night birds frequent 'işkembe' restaurants into the wee hours of the morning on their way home from a night on the town. A steaming bowl of tripe soup really does help to settle the stomach after having one-too-many.
The atmosphere of these restaurants is truly unique. As you sip your tripe soup, you can hear the chefs rhythmically chopping up the tripe on wooden blocks to the rhythm of soothing classical Turkish music.
If you decide to venture into one of these soup kitchens, you can order your tripe soup in two ways. The traditional ‘işkembe’ soup is mainly broth that contains tripe that has been cut into tiny pieces. If you like a heartier soup, you can choose to order ‘tuzlama’ (tooz-LAH’-mah), a version of the soup featuring very large chunks of tripe.
Tripe soup is served along with bowls of pure garlic juice and vinegar which you spoon into your soup to taste.
- 1 pound/ 600 grams veal tripe, dressed
- 12 cups water
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 2 to 3 meat boullion cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp. hot red pepper flakes
- Most tripe you will find at the butcher shop or in the supermarket will already be cleaned, or ‘dressed.’ This means it has been washed, scraped and trimmed to remove the membrane and excess fat, as well as bleached in baking soda solution to give it an even, white color.
- Wash your tripe in any case under cold water to remove any remaining debris.
- Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the tripe, cover the pan and let it simmer gently for about 4 hours. Periodically remove the scum from the surface as the tripe cooks.
- Once the tripe is tender, remove it from the broth and cut it into thin, bite-sized strips. Put them back in the soup, add the boullion cubes and let it continue to simmer.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter or margarine. Stir in the flour and let it lightly brown. Using a wire whisk, slowly add a few ladels of the hot broth. Let the mixture thicken as you continue to whisk it, then add it to the soup and stir it until smooth. Let the soup simmer gently for another 15 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks together with the lemon juice. Slowly whisk it into the soup, stirring constantly. Bring the soup back to scalding temperature but don’t let it boil. Turn off the heat.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter or margarine and stir the hot pepper flakes. Drizzle a small spoon of the butter mixture over each bowl of soup before serving.
- Serve your tripe soup with small bowls of vinegar and crushed garlic. Spoon the vinegar and garlic into the soup to your taste.