The challenge with these fritters is to infuse them with flavor as they tend to be bland on their own; so go ahead and add all the spices that your little heart desires and you will be rewarded with a delicious appetizer. Squeeze some citrus juice on the fritters before inhaling them, it will enhance their flavor and help with the absorption of the iron in the lentils.
- 1 cup of red lentils, cooked in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes till soft.
- 1/2 cup of bulgur (#1), soaked in water 10 minutes, then drained and squeezed of the extra water.
- 3/4 cup of rice, cooked.
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
- 2 tablespoon of harissa (can substitute red pepper paste of your choice or chili paste)
- 4 cloves of garlic, mashed with salt in a mortar till pasty
- 2 scallions, minced (can substitute shallot) (optional)
- Rind of an orange or a lemon or a lime
- 1/2 cup of minced cilantro
- 1 cup of minced Italian parsley
- 2 Tablespoons of powdered dried mint
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
- 1 cup of sesame seeds (can substitute pistachios, pecans or walnuts, chopped fine)
- 1 or 2 lemons, quartered
- oil for frying, as needed
These are served with a quick salad of diced tomatoes, diced feta and minced parsley dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, with a touch of sumac if desired.
NOTE: I made the effort to buy a feta with a Greek origin and was rewarded with a creamy smooth-tasting cheese, far superior to the other varieties I used to buy. I soaked the feta in water to make it a bit less salty.
For extra flavor, fry the minced herbs and garlic in a little olive oil for no more than 10 seconds, then add to the lentil mixture.
- Place the cooked (and drained) lentils in a large bowl. Add the drained bulgur, rice, egg, flour, minced scallions, harissa and other spices, rind of a citrus and toss well to combine. Heat a little olive oil in a small skillet, throw the minced herbs and mashed garlic and stir to combine the mixture for no more than 10 seconds. Remove and add to the lentil mixture and toss.
- Shape the fritters with an ice-cream scoop and dip in the sesame seeds or other nuts.
- Heat some oil in a pan (about one inch) and when hot (at 350F to 375F), drop the fritters and cook about 3 minutes on one side and one minute on the other. Place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Serve with the salad and some quartered lemon or limes.