These red Turkish Lentil kofte or Kofta are so versatile you could call them lentil balls or lentil bites. Or meatless meatballs? But before that, an announcement.
I am pleased to announce that my book Rice Bowl topped the charts and achieved the honor of being #1 Bestseller in the Amazon Kindle store in Indian cooking and one more category. Thank you so much for all your inspiration and support. I am struck dumb by the huge popularity of 30 Days of Daal, and now Rice Bowl. And now, back to our recipe.
The Indian Malai Kofta or other meat based Kofta dishes are obviously derived from the Middle Eastern kofte or kefte. But using lentils to make these kind of Lentil Kofta Curry is not very common in India.
Red lentils are my favorite kind of lentil. The Masoor Daal with Onion, one of the easy recipes from my popular book 30 Days of Daal is my favorite. And bulgur is also a staple in my kitchen. When I read about the Turkish Red Lentil Kofte, I liked the concept but also saw that they had a lot of bulgur.
To me, combining lentils and bulgur means Khichdi, a kind of stew which is pretty common in our kitchen. So I decided to skip the bulgur and use a majority of lentils for the recipe. In the end, this recipe turned out to be more of an adaptation of the traditional Turkish recipe.
I have tried to keep the flavor combinations intact, and also made it quicker or easier by using dry spices and herbs. The Turkish Lentil Kofte are cooked well and then just shaped into fingers. I wanted to avoid cooking time so I baked these. These are very low fat and I compensated by creating a creamy dip :).
The Creamy Red Pepper Dip – what can I say about it? It is tahini based but I made it from scratch using sesame seeds. I guess you can use bottled tahini for a more convenient version. I just prefer to use raw soaked sesame seeds.
Paprika and red pepper figure a lot in this recipe, and so does cumin and mint. Garlic of course makes an appearance. One thing I love about red lentils is that they cook so quickly, even without a pressure cooker. Even soaking them in hot water almost cooks them. The baking step just gives them a crunchy cover.
These lentil kofte held together well and were moist inside. This is a good vegan snack and the dip is vegan too if you are not adding dairy based yogurt.
Turkish Lentil Kofte Recipe
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cumin ground
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp dry mint
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds or Tahini
- 2 Tbsp dry oats
- 1 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
- Oil for brushing
- ¼ cup sesame seeds or tahini
- ½ tsp raw crushed garlic
- ¼ cup red capsicum or bell pepper chopped
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- ¼ cup plain yogurt (optional)
- Pinch of dry mint
- Soak the sesame seeds in water for 1-2 hours.
- Wash and drain lentils. Pour 2-3 cups of hot water over them and let them soak for 3-4 hours.
- Drain soaked lentils and add to food processor. Add 1 Tbsp of soaked sesame seeds or tahini and pulse until smooth or slightly coarse, per your preference.
- Transfer to bowl and add all the spices and seasonings to this lentil mix.
- Crush the quick cooking oats in your hand to make almost a powder out of them. Add these to the lentils. You can now form patties or balls, or roll into any shape. I formed small balls.
- Place the lentil balls or kofte on a greased baking sheet. Brush with some oil or use a spray.
- Bake at 375F or 200C for 20-30 minutes until they are slightly golden and crunchy on the outside.
- Turn them once to brown evenly.
- Combine all ingredients and process until smooth.
- If you are using yogurt, mix it in at the end.
- Lentil kofte are ready to be served.
- *This recipe makes about 12-14 ping pong ball size kofte. You can easily double the recipe for more.
Serve these Turkish Lentil Kofte with the dip as an appetizer or place them in lettuce leaves. You can also crumble them in a wrap, slather on the sauce and then add crunchy veggies for a wrap. These kofte are quite substantial.
However you serve it, this is a super healthy plant based recipe without too much added oil.
And here’s a Pinnable delight 🙂