Turkish Lentil Kofta (Mercimek Köftesi)
Lentil Kofta makes a perfect appetizer or snack. Everyone loves it and it keeps really well in the fridge. Just follow a few simple steps.
Cook the lentils and bulgur.
Then sauté the onions.
Mix the lentils, onions, and other ingredients together.
And then form the lentil kofta.
- 2 cups red lentils
- Salt for boiling lentils
- 1 cup fine bulgur
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi – a mix of puréed roasted hot and sweet red peppers)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper (pul biber) (optional)
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup green onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp honey
- Romaine lettuce leaves and lemon for serving
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer partially covered over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the water, about 15 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and remove from the heat. Cover and set aside until the bulgur is very soft, about 15 minutes.
- In a small skillet, sauté the onions in olive oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and pepper pastes and mix well. Remove from the heat and cool. Add cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Season with salt to taste.
- Combine the onion mixture, lentil mixture, green onions, parsley, and honey, and mix.
- With dampened hands, form the lentil mixture into oval (traditional shape) or round balls, placing them on top of pieces of Romaine lettuce. Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve. These taste very good with a squeeze of lemon.
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