My sister in law, Yeliz, made lentil kofte the first time I visited her at home. With her young children whizzing around excitably, she brought plates of kofte to the dinning table narrowly avoiding the toy cars in her path. What better way to welcome someone not only into your kitchen, but into your life by preparing a wholesome meal. I took the recipe away with me and now my own Mum often asks ‘When are we going to eat those lentil patties again?’
This is the type of meal prepared for large families so it’s no wonder then that my in-laws eat lentil kofte often. They are your typical large, warm Mediterranean family who come together around the table, conversing late into the night and getting drunk on laughter.
Despite being healthy and substantial, these kofte allow a fun, carefree way of eating; forget knives and forks! Lay one in a lettuce leaf, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top, wrap and enjoy. As always, best eaten in good company!
1 cup dried Red Lentils (washed several times)
1 cup fine Bulgur Wheat
3 and a half cups water
1 Onion – finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato / pepper puree
1 clove garlic – minced
1 bunch Salad Onions – chopped
Dried Mint & Chili flakes
Bunch fresh flat leaf Parsley – chopped
Romaine Lettuce Leaves
Boil red lentils in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes until they lose their form and liquefy. Turn off heat and stir in bulgur wheat and cover pan – they’ll soak up remaining liquid. You’re aiming for a coarse pate consistency – if too wet add more wheat.
Meanwhile, sauté white onion in plenty of olive oil. When soft, add the garlic, then after a few more minutes add paste and a tbsp of water. Mix all together to form a sauce and season with plenty of salt.
Once cooled combine lentil mixture with sauce, and add chopped parsley and salad onions, and dried mint and chili flakes. Mix until you have a pate consistency and check seasoning.
Take small handfuls of your mixture and create patties, or ‘kofte’, traditionally shaped by tightly clenching handfuls of the mixture thus leaving ridges created by fingers. It helps if you wet your hands with water. Lay on a serving plate with lettuce leaves and lemon wedges.