Sunday, March 2, 2014

Red Lentil Balls a.k.a. Mercimek Koftesi

1 cup red lentils

2 cups bulgur wheat, fine grind

2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1,5 tbsp tomato puree

1,5 tbsp Turkish red pepper paste


crushed red pepper (optional)

black pepper

small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

6 spring onions, finely chopped

lettuce leaves, lemon slices, tomatoes for garnish


1. Wash the lentils and combine them with four times their volume of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Then, simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally until the lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the water about 10 minutes. 
2. Stir in the bulgur and remove from the heat. Cover with aluminium foil and allow to stand for 30-45 minutes. 
3. In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion, sautéing until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree and pepper paste and mix well. Remove from the heat and cool. Add crushed red pepper and black pepper. Season with salt to taste.
4. Add the onion mixture to the lentil mixture and stir for 10 minutes using your hands to mix. Add the remaining ingredients mixing gently. 
5. Shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls (with dampened hands) and serve on a bed of lettuce. Serve with lemon and tomato slices.

P.S. The photo below show the most common way to shape red lentil balls in Turkey. 

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