Sunday, 6 March 2016

Indian lentil balls in tomato and coconut sauce (vegan, glutenfree, kosher)

And it's back to the lentils with this recipe - better make most of that theme year (and my ridiculous stash...)

I first fell in love with lentils through Indian food and dhals are still among my biggest favourites. It was my first ever visit to an Indian restaurant and a very exotic experience by all accounts: me and my friends had travelled through Europe and found ourselves in Berlin. As I saw my (slightly more travelled friend) leave a tip I almost fainted - the worldliness of it all just got too much for a small town girl from Lapland.

India is what inspired this recipe, too... after a couple of mishaps along the way.

The range of soy-based meat substitutes is so extensive these days you'll have a meat-free choice for just about any need. They do make an easy way to cut back on meat, but they're not for everybody. But lentils, too, can provide a surprisingly meaty texture - just try these! 

In case you or your stomach has no problems with soy, check out these recipes of mine.

Serves 4

Indian lentil balls in tomato and coconut sauce:

The sauce:

1 onion
4 large cloves of garlic
1,5 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 red chilli
a couple of tbsp (coconut) oil for frying
1,5 tsp black mustard seeds
3/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp Garam Masala
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
400 g passata
1 tin (á 400 ml) coconut milk
salt, pepper

Blizz garlic, onion, ginger and chili into a paste in a food processor. Add a little passata if needed to get a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the dry spices. Keep sautéing for a couple of minutes until the scent changes and then add onion paste. Continue cooking for a couple of more minutes and then add passata and cocont milk. Bring to boil, check the taste and season as needed.

Lentil balls

2,5 dl red lentils, soaked in warm water for an hour and drained
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
stalks of a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato concentrate or passata
(1-2 tsp rice flour)
salt, pepper

to serve: coriander leaves, a dash of fresh lime juice (if desired)

Drain the lentils and blizz them in a food processor. The mixture does not need to be entirely smooth, as then it can become too moist and difficult to shape. Combine with remaining ingredients. Add a little rice flour if needed, but avoid the temptation to add much more as then the balls get hard and floury. If the mixture is difficult to shape, leave it in a fridge for an hour or so as this will help it set.

Using a spoon, form the mixture into 20 balls. Don't let the loose texture or the small size of the balls fool you as the balls will firm up and swell as they're cooked. 

Drop the balls into the sauce, shake the pot a little to make sure they're covered n sauce and simmer, covered, until done - 15-20 minutes.

Once they're done, fold in the chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice and naan bread. For home-made naan bread, check my recipe over here.

My,my. Lately my kitchen seems to have come up with a whole lot of vegetarian recipes - I wonder what's gone into me...? Have you had the chance to try them? Did you find your own favourite?





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