By Christine Vartanian Datian
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups water
1 1/2 cups fine bulgur
1 large white onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon sea or Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried cumin
Aleppo or cayenne pepper and paprika (to taste)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh pita bread, Armenian cracker bread (lavosh)
Garnish with chopped fresh mint, parsley, tomatoes, green onions and lemon wedges.
In a medium pot, bring the lentils, water, and a dash of salt to a full boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Add the bulgur and spices (except the Aleppo or cayenne pepper and paprika) to the cooked lentils and mix; cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. This mixture will be thick so cook until liquid is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and a drop or two of olive oil at this point, mix, and set aside.
In a medium pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil (and the butter) and sauté the onions until deep golden brown; add the browned onions to the lentil mixture and mix. Season with Aleppo or cayenne pepper and paprika to taste and adjust seasonings.
Transfer cooked ingredients to a large bowl and let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Moisten hands and form mixture into small cakes or patties (about 18-20) and place on a platter; top with chopped fresh mint, parsley, tomatoes, and green onions. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with pita bread, crackers, or Armenian lavosh and assorted peppers, cheeses and olives.
*Cakes may be rolled in chopped parsley before placing on platter. This is a perfect vegetarian dish for brunch or lunch and may be served as an appetizer. Cakes can be made in any size and served with a tossed spinach, tomato, celery, cucumber and red onion salad.
*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/
*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to: <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian> http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian