It’s the start of Lent and a time when many choose to give up a favorite food as penitence and a symbol of sacrifice. Christian’s will fast and pray during Lent, and in many parts of the world Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent is kicked off with various festivities, such as in Greece with the throwing of flour. The Catholic church singles out abstinence from meat because it is associated with celebrations and feasts, and this is a time of remembrance of the Friday on which Christ was crucified, which is done by penitence or some form of giving and sacrifice.
I expect that the search for meatless recipes will rise this month, so this post is my contribution with Lentil Fritters. This version of Lentil Fritters is made more in the style of what you might find in the Indian Subcontinent or Middle East. It is often eaten during Ramadan, which is a religious period of fasting in the Muslim faith. It’s got a spicy bite and a kick to it. You can make the batter for the fritters in advance and refrigerate until needed. The batter may seem wet but it will hold together as you fry it.
cup split red lentils
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 freshly minced onion
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup gram flour
3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Soak raw red lentils in water and cover and soak them for an hour or two. They’ll rehydrate and soften considerably as they absorb the moisture.
- Drain lentils and transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add turmeric and salt and mix well.
- Add gram flour, onion and cilantro and process just long enough to stir the works together.
- Pour about 3 inches of oil into a shallow skillet and bring to a steady 365° F.
- Using two spoons – the first to scoop, the second to release the batter – gently drop dollops of batter into the hot oil. Stir gently until fritters cook through and are lightly browned. Remove fritters from oil, strain and rest them briefly on folded paper towel to absorb extra oil.
- Serve warm with a yogurt base dip or ketchup.
Tip: Mix a handful of cilantro and a handful of mint with 1 cup of yogurt in the food processor for a quick Cilantro Mint Dip. Add salt to taste.