These spicy little morsels are incredibly quick and easy to prepare and are just so versatile: whip up the batter in advance and fry to order for an Indian or Thai starter – or canapés – or make into burgers. I also like using these as an alternative to falafels to pep up a work lunch box salad and have taken to keeping a bowl of batter in the fridge for an instant fix (ok – 5 minutes or so to fry) as I usually arrive home starving. As my children are also into these crispy yet melt-in-the-mouth little bites I’ll often capitalise on this and stuff them with more veggies such as pepper and grated courgette.
The only faff is remembering to soak the lentils overnight….or a couple of days which was the case when I first made these! Soaking the lentils will help pulverise them into a creamy paste when you blitz them in the food processor.
Ingredients (makes 6-8 fritters)
150g red lentils – soaked
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1-2 red chillies – more if you fancy
A chunk of peeled fresh ginger – around 2 cm in length
1 lime – juiced
Lemongrass – finely slice a stalk or cheat like I do and use a spoonful of paste
Oil for frying (I use rapeseed oil)
- Leave the lentils to soak in a bowl of water for at least 6 hours; ideally overnight.
- Dice the onion and finely slice the garlic.
- Rinse the soaked lentils thoroughly in a sieve and shake as much excess water off as possible.
- Blend with all the ingredients, bar the onion and garlic, for a few minutes into a paste. Add a tiny bit of water if you have to – the lime juice should be sufficient though.
- Stir in the onions, garlic and a generous pinch of salt.
- Heat up a good glug of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Once it is sizzling hot, dollop in a portion of the batter with a desert spoon. Go for two to three dollops depending on the size of your pan: avoid overcrowding.
- Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and consume ASAP!
Also try: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Gruner Veltliner – a crisp and characterful Austrian white that works well with spicy dishes.