Now if you asked me to give an impromptu speel on fair trade v free trade/third world debt/the transatlantic slave trade/BRICS/the scramble for Africa you’d receive a a well put together, mostly coherent piece. At least we’d hope so, considering that’s what I’ve been studying all day. But if we were to discuss food? It’d be a pretty poor effort on my part. Unusual indeed. You see, I talk about food a lot. If you’re having a conversation with me, food will come into it at some-point. Guaranteed. Today? I’ll eat it yes, but discuss it? No. I’d rather be spending that time eating some more (study munchies, anyone?). Therefore, in lieu of Monday’s post we’re taking another trip back through the ‘not-so-good’ archives with this ‘gem’ from August last year. Since then my aptitude for using food processors has improved significantly – and one would hope that the photography (and writing for that matter) skills have followed suit!
Patties/fritters/burgers are such a versatile food. You can wrap them, stick them in a pita, make a good ol burger, simply serve with a salad…I could keep going for a fair old while on their many attributes. However I don’t cook them all that frequently. Why? Well I have a major bone to pick with them. It’s almost impossible to avoid caking your hands in a sticky, messy goo when shaping the darn things. It takes me straight back to third grade and making mud pies in the backyard after school. I mean it was fun and all that, but I now have a somewhat heightened sense of decorum. It’s a drag to have to constantly clean your hands. I somehow always manage to forget they’re covered in sticky-patty-goop and consequently wipe them down the front of my shirt. Perhaps I’m turning into a pedantic neat-freak. Maybe it’s simply best to embrace the messiness. However, what I do know is that these Gingered-up Lentil and Chickpea Patties (whew, that’s a long name) are a breath of fresh air. Why, my hands were hardly mucky at all after shaping them! The trick? It’s all in the consistency.
In fact the solution is so darn logical I’m baffled as to why I didn’t cotton onto it earlier. The thicker and smoother the texture, the easier the patty will be to work with. Bye, bye sloppy (or for that matter chunky) mixtures! Hello pleasant to put together patties. This is also the point at which I mention that a food processor becomes a staple appliance in one’s kitchen. It wasn’t until January that we finally caved and decided to invest in one. Prior to that we hadn’t been able to justify it – we simply weren’t cooking enough. However, once it became clear that I would be cooking every day of the week this year (and often more than once a day) it seemed worthwhile. You will get away with a blender for these patties, however a food processor will make your life a lot easier. Because the mixture becomes very thick, it would require constant scraping down of the sides of the blender in order to obtain the desired smooth consistency. Annoy-ing. It sounds as though I’m receiving a commission for promoting food processors, doesn’t it? I swear I’m not. In fact I barely know how to use the thing. Even after owning one for eight months. Let’s just say it’s quite an accurate reflection of my technological skills in general.
Let’s put aside the fact that I should have been born in early nineteen hundreds and get back to these patties. They have a wonderfully fragrant ginger flavour and are similar to a felafel in many ways. They contain enough spice to eat with very little dressing (you really only need it for added moisture), yet also go well with stronger sauce such as sweet chilli. My personal favourite is homemade red onion gravy. I shaped these patties quite thick as I was going for a patty+veg style meal, however if you’ve got the inclination to pop them in a pita or burger, you could certainly shape them thinner without fear of them crumbling or cracking.
For those of you who are like me and have limited tolerance for excessive mess in the kitchen, these patties are for you!
Gingered-up Lentil & Chickpea Patties
Serves 4 – 6
2 tsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated/minced
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
Pinch chilli powder
250g (1 cup) red lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
4 slices wholemeal bread, toasted & left to cool for 10 minutes
400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Big handful (about ½ bunch) coriander leaves, stems and all, roughly chopped
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Rice flour to dust – you can substitute, yet I think it provides the best ‘crunch’
Heat the oil in a small fry pan, sweat the onion over a medium – low heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the ginger and spices and cook, stirring, for one minute or until fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the red lentils and bay leaf in a small pot. Pour in sufficient water to cover by 2cm. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes or until just tender. Regularly skim off any froth or scum that rises to the surface. Drain the lentils, discard the bay leaf and rinse with cold water.
Tear the toasted bread into chunks and blitz in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.
Transfer half of the lentils to the food processor and the other to the bowl containing the breadcrumbs. Add to the food processor the onion, chickpeas, egg, coriander, parsley and mint. Blend for a minute or until smooth, scraping down the sides halfway through.
Combine the blended mix with the lentils and breadcrumbs and season well with salt and pepper.
Tip approximately ¼ cup of rice flour onto a small plate/shallow bowl and have a larger plate ready for the rolled patties.
Divide the mixture into 12 portions. Lightly flour your hands, take one portion and shape it into a 1.5cm thick round. Coat with flour and transfer to the larger plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Cover the patties with cling film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 100C.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and cook the patties in batches for 4 minutes on either side, or until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate or shallow baking dish and keep warm in the oven.
Serve with vegetarian gravy/sweet chilli sauce and natural yogurt/tahini garlic sauce, in a pita/as a burger/with sautéed veg/salad…the choices are endless!
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.