Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Red lentil and veggie patties

                                                 
                                                          
So I was tinkering around in my kitchen the other day having been bit by the creative bug. I wanted to cook something vegetarian that was different than anything I'd cooked before. Something that would fill the nutritious requirement of a meal while at the same time ranking high on the taste-meter. I reached for a bag of red lentils that I had sitting in my pantry. I didn't know how that would lend itself to the dish, but I knew it would come in handy. If nothing else, it's beautiful red-orange color was sure to add some visual appeal to the dish. There was also a lonesome zucchini in my refrigerator draw just calling out for my attention. I obliged it. It too, would lend itself to the meal. This scavenging expedition in my kitchen ended up being a creation I decided to call "Lentil & Veggie Patties". The recipe follows..

SERVING SIZE: Makes 8 patties.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
-Fish turner.
-Cast iron skillet.

                                                   

INGREDIENTS:
-1 medium potato (peeled, boiled in lightly salted water & mashed).
-1 cup red lentils.
-1 peeled and roughly grated zucchini.
-1 small onion, finely minced.
-1 teaspoon minced garlic.
-1 teaspoon ginger paste.
-1/2 jalapeno pepper, roasted for 15 mins, peeled, seeded and finely diced.
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped.
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
-1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt).
-1 teaspoon cumin powder.
-1/2 teaspoon garam masala.
-1 egg, lightly beaten (acts as a binder)>
-2/3 cups plain bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs).
-3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola).

INSTRUCTIONS:
-Put the lentils in a container and wash it several times until the water runs clear, then drain.
-In a medium pan, add some water, put in the lentils and boil for 15 minutes over medium heat. When the lentils are al-dente, remove them from the heat, drain and set aside (they should not be too mushy).
-Place the zucchini on a strainer and use the back of a spoon to squeeze out excess moisture. Alternatively, you can use a clean kitchen cloth to squeeze out the excess moisture from the zucchini.
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed potato, the drained zucchini and the cooked, drained lentils.Use a fork to fluff it so that the mixture is not too dense.
-Now add the spices to the mixture-cinnamon, salt, cumin, garam masala and fluff the mixture with a fork.
-Now add the onion, minced garlic, ginger paste, pepper and cilantro. Fluff the mixture again with the fork.
-Add the lightly beaten egg and fluff with the fork until everything is well combined.
-Add the bread crumbs a little at a time and fluff the mixture with a fork each time you add the bread crumbs. You should be able to form a ball with the mixture if the consistence is right. If your mixture appears too moist, add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs at a time until you are able to form a ball in the palm of your hand without it falling apart.

                                                        
-The mixture should be enough to form eight even balls. After you form a ball in the palm of your hand, flatten it with the other hand. 

***AT THIS POINT, HEAT YOUR CAST IRON SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT AND ADD THE OIL AND TWIRL THE SKILLET SO THAT THE OIL COATS THE ENTIRE INSIDE SURFACE.***

-Place the flattened patty on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil as shown below.


-Slowly transfer your patties to the skillet using a fish turner. Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet. See picture below.

  
-Allow the patties to cook for at least 3-4 mins on each side until nicely browned. You want them to look like the ones in the picture below.

  
-Once your patties are nicely browned on both sides, carefully transfer them to a flat plate lined with a paper napkin to absorb any excess oil. If you'd like to keep your patties warm, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees F. and place the plate holding the patties in the oven and keep returning the plate into the oven after you add the cooked patties until you are done cooking.  
-These are best served warm. I served mine as a side-dish with some chicken and oven herb roasted potatoes. You can be as creative as you want with these. Enjoy!!