This is another Greek recipe not very well known outside Greece: a Greek lentil soup called Fakes. Yes, we know, "fakes" sounds funny in English and you can make a lot of jokes about it, but you will get serious when you taste the amazing earthly flavor of this simple Greek dish :)
Fakes is another characteristic Greek comfort food, consumed during the greatest part of the year (Fall to Spring) and is amazing for any cold day. This lentil soup is widely popular in Greece, and is a low cost, humble food, which is both tasty and nourishing; lentils is a healthy legume, that is high in fiber, but also contains proteins! It will definitely fill you up and you'll probably eat as much as you can, asking for a second serving.
A lentil soup is off course a vegan dish, it contains no meat or dairy, and therefore is also suitable for the Greek Orthodox Fasting, which is one more reason why people love this dish here in Greece. Especially during Lent, Greeks consume huge quantities of lentil soup. Most of the people in Greece have memories of a hot dish full of lentil soup since they were kids. Among the legumes, lentils are quite popular, and the easiest/most suitable perhaps choice for a legumes dish for children.
Another great aspect of this dish, is that lentils as a legume, don't need to be soaked overnight like the beans; you don't need to prepare them from the previous day; You just open the box/pack, rinse them and use them in your recipes.
Just like Fasolada, this dish has two main versions: the white and the red one. The white does not include any tomato, while the red one -which is our favourite- does. The recipe we present here is a traditional Greek recipe for lentils, which includes grated tomato and some tomato paste, with a small twist: The spices used to enhance this traditional soup are the bay leaves and the garlic. What we did in our version, was adding just a bit of curry; It's not that much to make this dish taste like Indian, it just enhances the taste: we used one teaspoon for the whole pot.
We also prefer this dish thick, not too watery. This is called “hiloma”, meaning the starch has thickened the soup. As mentioned again in our Fasolada recipe, this is often a desired result for Greek legumes dishes. If you like a more watery result, read the Tips section, for an easy way to achieve this.
There are many different versions of the dish, some families like to add carrots, some others celery and others make it a bit more spicy adding peppers. You can adjust this dish to your taste by adding more or less of the ingredients and add any spices you love; the possibilities are really endless!
This soup is wonderfully served with a little vinegar and some olives or raw onions on the side. Some people also serve anchovies or other salted/smoked fish with fakes. You can also drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil when serving (extra virgin olive oil is also included in the cooking process).
We really think that fakes is one the best Greek recipes you can try, as it is very easy to make, it’s healthy, it has simple ingredients, and a beautiful, hearty taste!
- 400gr.14.5oz (2 cups) brown lentils
- 2 medium-sized onions, choppped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 500gr/17.5oz/1.1lb tomatoes, grated
- 70gr/2.5oz (3 tablespoons) tomato paste
- 3 bay leaves
- 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- 2lt (8 cups) water
- wine vinegar (optional, for serving)
Preparation: Ιt's important to rinse well the lentils, before cooking them, to avoid the foam during boiling.
Put in a large pot: water, lentils, onions, garlic, bay leaves, curry powder, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the paste, stir and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes. Always keep an eye on the water.
After this time, they will be ready, so serve the lentil soup in a deep dish, adding a bit of vinegar (optional) and Kalamata olives on the side. Kali oreksi!
1. Accompany the lentil soup with Kalamata olives and/or salted fish or meat.
2. You can also try "taramosalata" (fish roe salad) on fresh toasted bread. Delicious!
3. Before rinsing the lentils, spread them on a large dish and check for any small rocks. During processing/packaging sometimes one or two tiny rocks may have been left that you must remove. It’s very easy to spot and discard.
4. If you prefer your soup a bit more watery, add 500ml (2 cups) more water.
5. If you like the classic traditional version of the recipe, just omit the curry.