Red Lentil Kofte / Mercimek Köftesi
This vegetarian kofte is one of the most popular appetizers of Turkish cuisine.
1 cup red lentil
1/2 cup fine bulgur
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups of water
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste + 1 tbsp red pepper paste (if you cannot find red pepper paste you can use 2 tbsp tomato paste)
~1 tsp salt
juice of half or 1 lemon (depends on how you like it: sour or not so sour)
1/3 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch green onion, finely chopped
curly leaf lettuce
-Wash lentils and boil them in 2 cups of water until the water is almost gone.
-Once you turn it off, add bulgur and salt. Mix once and cover to let the bulgur expand. Let it cool off.
-Heat oil in a pan and add the onion (not the green one!) and cook until soft.
-Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
-Add cumin and stir once you turn it off.
-Add this to the lentils which should be cool by now.
-Add lemon juice and half of finely chopped parsley and green onion (we're saving the rest of parsley and green onions to garnish) to the lentils. Mix all well.
-Take walnut size pieces and give them kofte shape in your hands. Keep a little bowl of water close by to wet your hand frequently during this process since the kofte mixture will get stuck on your hands.
-You can either place lettuce leaves on a serving plate and put koftes on top as in the picture, or serve koftes and lettuce leaves separately, or skip lettuce leaves completely; however, they reallly go well together.