Mercimek Köftesi (Red lentil kofte)
Easy, vegetarian and delicious! This Mercimek Köftesi, also called red lentil köfte, is a delicious snack during a drink or at a picnic. We received this recipe from Hale Amus, the author of ‘De Bijbel van de Turkse Keuken’ (The Bible of Turkish Cuisine). She explains that the best way to eat this dish is to grab one or two köfte and wrap them in a crunchy lettuce leaf. Finally, squeeze some lemon over it to complete the dish. The absence of necessary utensils makes it an ideal snack for a gathering or a picnic.
Step 1. Prepare the red lentils and bulgur
Wash the red lentils under cold running water and rinse until the water is clear.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the lentils and 650 milliliters of water to a boil. Remove any foam that rises to the surface.
As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat to low and cook the lentils with the lid on and stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
Stir in the bulgur and let it steam with the lid on for 30 minutes. In the meantime, move to the next step.
Step 2. Prepare the köfte mixture
Finely chop the onion and heat the olive or sunflower oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the onion for 8 to 10 minutes until softened.
Add the tomato paste and pepper paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Meanwhile, finely chop the spring onions and parsley leaves.
Once cooled, mix the onion mixture with the cumin powder, pul biber, and salt into the lentils and bulgur mixture. Knead the mixture for 2 minutes until well combined.
Add the parsley leaves and spring onions and knead for another minute.
Step 3. Serve the Mercimek Köftesi
Line a serving bowl with the little gem lettuce.
Roll the köfte mixture into small torpedo-shaped balls. Place them on the bed of lettuce.
Cut the lemon into wedges, distribute them over the Mercimek Köftesi and serve.
Afiyet olsun! ('Enjoy your meal')
Curious about Hale's story about Turkish food culture? She will tell you more about it!
225 grams of red lentils
180 grams fine bulgur (Kısırlık bulgur)
120 ml olive or sunflower oil
60 grams tomato paste
25 grams Turkish pepper paste (Biber Salçası)
0.75 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp pul biber (Turkish red pepper flakes)
0.75 tsp salt
20 g parsley (leaves only)
4 spring onions
3 little gem lettuce
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