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İşkembe, Turkish tripe soup, my way

Posted on 30 September 2018

 I had my first Turkish tripe soup – İşkembe Çorbası – in 1983 in the Çiçek Pasaj. It was after a night out with friends and firm drinking. My Turkish friends said “you must try this soup, guaranteed no hangover tomorrow.” I did not believe it, but the soup tasted fine. And you know what? The morning after, no hangover!

I love cooking. And I have prepared many Turkish dishes, but no tripe (cow stomach) soup so far. Why not, I asked myself. First I asked my Turkish friends about their favorite way to make işkembe Çorbası. Online I found many other variations. I made a list of the ingredients that I liked for the soup and I went to work.

The rumen, diced, I bought at the local butcher in our bazaar in Kadıköy. After I washed the pieces I put them into a pan with 2 liters of boiling water. After five minutes the odor in the kitchen was unbearable.

My wife, who is from Poland and likes her mother’s tripe soup (flaki), gave me a golden tip: get rid of the water and foam after 10 minutes and cook the tripe again. That was it! The odor was gone and after three hours, we ate delicious tripe soup.

 Işkembe çorbası is a tripe soup in the Turkish and some Balkan cuisines. The name is from Persian language shikambeh ‘stomach/tripe’ + shorba ‘thick soup’, from shir + ba ‘milk broth’. It entered the Slavic languages via Ottoman Turkish.

Here is the recipe for the tripe soup as I’ve made it.

Tripe Soup
Serves 4
1 kg clean lamb or calf rumen, 2 liters of water, 1 herbs cube, pepper and salt, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 eggs, 2 lemons, olive oil and butter, thyme and 2 winter carrots.


Wash the tripe, peel the onion, mix the eggs, squeeze the lemons and cut the carrots in small pieces.

Put the washed and diced tripe in the pan with 2 liters of boiling water.
After 10 minutes pour all the liquid and wash the tripe again.
Add a little olive oil and butter and put the pieces of tripe on a small fire. Add the chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves, carrot pieces and thyme. Fry for 5 minutes on low heat and then add 2 liters of boiling water.
Leave the pan for 2 to 3 hours on a low heat. Anyone who wants the tripe pieces soft chooses the option 3 hours.
Mix the juice of lemons and eggs with 2 tablespoons water and 1 cup of the broth. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture while stirring. Serve with whole wheat bread.

Enjoy! Afiyet olsun!


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3 responses to “İşkembe, Turkish tripe soup, my way”

  1. Ben says:

    shorba ‘thick soup’, comes from ararbic:where ş + r +p is the consonant patttern for ‘drinking’.

    Compare f.ex. şarap (wine) or sirup, which goes back to that as well


  2. manukian says:

    to Ben: that is true and makes sense, but definitely does not apply to çorba. çorba is derived from the persian words shor (شور) and ba (با), literally meaning salty or thick food

  3. MY says:

    If you are going to try it for the first time, don’t forget to add vinegar and garlic! IMHO these two ingredients make the soup delicous, which is otherwise barely palatable.
    I for one, add two spoonfuls of vinegar and garlic to my bowl before enjoying my tripe soup. Maybe I’m overdoing but you should add at least a little.

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