Lentil cakes with Raita
I had been cooking lentils in soup, curried and for taco beans but I wanted something different to try with them. After Googling and hunting through cook books, this was the recipe that caught my eye. It was featured on Epicurious as South Indian Lentil Cakes with Raita. As usual, I deviated from their recipe but not much!
The cakes turn out much better if you give the beans and lentil a couple days to sprout, at least start them the morning of the day before you want to make this for best results. This batch feeds AJ and me ,when hungry, with just a little left over.
1tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil
salt, ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 or 1/2 cup finely chopped English or baby cucumber or seeded other cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 minced seeded jalapeño
juice from half a lemon – more to taste
|yummy roasted garlic|
Extract the cloves by squeezing from the base of the head of garlic up, depending on how much of the top you cut off you might need to cut open some cloves. Don’t wait around to do this, the garlic gets really sticky and is a pain in the butt if you let it cool off all the way. Once you get all the goods out smash them into a nice paste. You will spread this deliciousness onto the lentil cakes when they are finished.
They shouldn’t start smoking but if they do just a little, you can still use them. If you use nonstick, this is something you will need to find another type, any other type, of pan for. If you do this with non-stick it will not only release toxic fumes but ruin the pan. Those fumes cause flu like symptoms called “polymer fume fever” and are deadly toxic to birds. I was unable to find a temperature where fumes are created that affect humans but birds have been documented to die from fumes created at 325°F. To give some perspective, Teflon coated light bulbs used in commercial poultry operations were responsible for killing many birds. If you want more information on this topic visit the Teflon offgas studies page at EWG.
|use a spice grinder, mortar and pestle or get inventive.|
|thick yummy raita|
1/4 cup rice, I used basmati rice- this is our go to brand but you can use whatever rice you want, I want to try this with wild rice next!
1 clove garlic , minced
1 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger- turns out fine without it
1/2 jalapeño, seeded, minced
1 cup spinach- or pea tendrils, arugula, mustard, kale? use a green that hold up nicely when cooked
1/2 cup peas- can be with edible pods or just peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onions or scallion or leek
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
These cakes are edible, tasty and stick together because the legumes are sprouted. Since they are sprouted the cakes cook very fast, you can actually eat the mung beans and lentils just sprouted, try them before you grind them up. They don’t taste half bad and are really good for you. The original recipe only says to soak for five hours, I think that is way too short. They are not at all soft by then, not sprouting yet so you don’t get any of the health benefits of sprouts and they don’t stick together that great.
|these little beauties had been growing for two full days|
To soak, rinse the lentils and beans, then put them in a container with twice their volume of water and room to expand. It’s a really good idea, especially in hot weather, to change the water once during soaking. After overnight soaking, rinse the beans and put them in an inverted mason jar with a sprouting lid ( it’s just a mesh lid so water can drain and air can circulate) or in a mesh colander or large bowl. You can use them in the cakes at this point but if they have even a day to sprout the cakes with taste better. Rinse them at least twice throughout the day, five or so times is best.
Add your sprouted legumes, peas, ginger, coarsely chopped onion, cilantro, garlic, pepper and seasonings to your food processor. You will probably have to stop and push everything off the sides once or twice. When the mix is about as course as the picture below add your coarsely chopped greens and process until it’s about twice as smooth as pictured. Look at the picture of the frying cakes to see what I mean.
|texture from first round of processing|
|sprouts, peas, onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, seasonings.|
|how the final texture should be|
I think making smaller cakes is better because they are pretty fragile little buggers at first. I made them about half cup size. Add a just a drizzle of oil to coat your pan, you will need more as you are frying. Heat it until you see the oil ripple, meaning it’s hot, and add some of your cakes. I found that it was easier to do multiple batches so I had more room to turn them; cramped spacing the first time resulted in a few broken ones.
These cook really fast. Medium heat and a watchful eye are in order. When overcooked they get unappetizing hard bits in the browned areas. If that happens lower your temperature and/or cooking time. Remember, everything in these patties you can eat raw so frying is really about making them warm, stick together and flavor from browning; not about cooking them.