I am a fan of lentils — they are so tasty, inexpensive, and nutritious.
These tiny bright orange lentils are referred to as Red lentils, and are a favorite in dal and in patties because of how completely they break down and add texture to dishes. These savory, spiced patties start with thick lentil paste, seasoned with sauteed onion and spices.
Bind with panko and egg, then coat with more panko and fry in olive oil. Perfect on their own, these patties are fabulous in pita or wrapped in a leaf of red butter lettuce with a tangy lemon-yogurt sauce. Enjoy!
Red Lentil Patties
makes 14 – 15 patties
1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
3 cups water
1 large yellow onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
I package panko (about 7 oz)
2 tsp. warm spices (I used smoked paprika and tumeric. Curry powder is great)
1/2 cup fine dice red bell pepper
olive oil, about 3/4 cup total
fresh cilantro for garnish
To cook the lentils: combine lentils and water. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are very soft and thick. Cool until warm. Can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge.
To make the patties: Saute the onion in 1 TB olive oil until semi-soft and beginning to brown. Turn off heat and add the crushed garlic. Stir for a few seconds, but don’t let the garlic cook for more than 20 seconds. Transfer to a mixing bowl and cool for a few minutes.
To the onion/garlic mixture, add the cooked and cooled lentils, about 3/4 cup of panko, the eggs, salt (start with 1 1/2 tsp.), spices, and red bell pepper. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for five minutes for the panko to swell. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Place the remaining panko in a shallow bowl. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the lentil mixture and gently shape into a plump patty while coating with panko. Set aside formed patties on a parchment lined baking sheet while you heat up your frying pan.
To fry the patties, place 1/4 inch of olive oil in frying pan and heat on medium flame until ready. (this is a bit of a “you’ll know it when you see it” thing). Fry the patties until golden brown on one side. Watch the flame so that you keep a steady medium frying rate. Flip the patties and fry on the other side. Wipe out the pan, add more oil, reheat, and fry until all the patties are done.
Serve hot with pita and lettuce and yogurt lemon sauce. Or, cool and store patties in the freezer. Thaw for an hour or two on the counter, then bake in the oven to restore a nice texture.
Tangy Lemon Yogurt sauce
1 cup whole milk yogurt
zest of one lemon
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 TB minced chives
sea salt to taste (start with 1/4 tsp.)
Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning. Use on lentil patties. Store covered in the fridge for up to two weeks.