With many countries outright closing down their stores, workplaces and schools, you'll definitely have more time to spend boosting your snack-making abilities at home. One treat that has been keeping me chugging along for the last few days, in particular, has been the simple, yet oh-so-yummy lentil köfte. These "vegilicious" patties don’t require too many ingredients and make a great side dish to lunch or dinner, not to mention a decent (and vegan) snack overall when you start getting those pangs of hunger.
400 grams red lentils
1 liter of water
170 grams thin bulgur (known as "köftelik bulgur" in Turkey)
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Some black pepper, salt
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
A bundle parsley
7 stalks of green/spring onions
First off, boil your lentils until they are completely cooked through. Then add the thin bulgur to the cooked lentils, which should still be steamy, close the lid and allow it to sit. As the bulgur is pretty small, the remaining moisture in the pot of lentils should be enough to soften them.
Chop the onions and fry with some vegetable oil until they start to show a golden hue. Add the red pepper flakes, black pepper and other spices – and don’t forget your salt! Mix well together with 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste and fry them together a bit. Pour the tomato paste-onion mixture onto the lentils and give it a good stir until all the ingredients are more or less blended in.
Chop the parsley, green onions and spicy peppers into small pieces and add into the lentil mixture. Now, when this mix has cooled down a bit and won't burn your hands off, start kneading. The longer you do this the better the koftas will take shape. But if it still seems too dry, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. When they start to take form, knead your köfte into the shape of your choosing (oblong shapes are easier) and enjoy with some crisp leaves of lettuce and tangy lemon slices.
*Instead of tomato paste, you can add a spoonful of pepper paste for a spicy kick. This will give the köfte an added kick. I accidentally mixed in a little too much once and I must say it burned my tongue, but for some, this is just what the dish needs.
*If some of the fresh green ingredients are missing, or you just don’t like them, you can skip them, of course. Experimenting according to your taste is a must in every kitchen.
*Before serving, you can also drizzle a little lemon juice over the top should it take your fancy.