Indian Spiced Red Lentil
Cakes with Coconut Raita

Indian Spiced Red Lentil Cakes with Coconut Raita

These spicy little cakes are not truly Indian in origin, but they are so called because they use all the flavors that I love In Indian food: cumin seed, Madras curry powder, fresh ginger, browned onion and hot green pepper. The cakes can be made ahead and served at room temperature or reheated in a low oven. I like them as a side dish as part of an all-vegetable menu or with roasted meats or grilled fish. They are also good as a snack with a tall glass of iced tea or a frosty beer. Be sure to serve the Coconut Raita with them: It provides a cooling counterpoint to the spices in the pancake.

Makes about 24 3-inch pancakes

Lentil Cakes

  • 1 cup red lentils (available in health-food and specialty markets)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon seeded, chopped jalapeño or other hot chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Coconut Raita

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk (or low-fat) yogurt
  • 1/4 cup peeled, finely chopped seedless cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut (available in health-food and specialty markets)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste

To make the Lentil Cakes:

1. Combine the lentils and 6 cups water in a small saucepan; heat to boiling. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain well.

2. In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, combine the lentils, chili pepper, ginger and salt in a food processor and process to a coarse purée. Transfer to a bowl and stir In the sautéed onion mixture. Add the eggs and stir to blend.

4. Heat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Brush with a thin film of vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the batter by tablespoons and cook until the cakes are set, the tops are covered with small bubbles and the bottoms are browned. Carefully turn and brown the other side. Arrange on a plate or tray. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To make the Coconut Raita:

Combine the yogurt, cucumber and coconut. Place a spoonful on top of each pancake and garnish with a pinch of chopped cilantro. Serve warm.

From: Pancakes A to Z
by Marie Simmons
Photos by Richard High
A Chapters Book/Houghton Mifflin, $15.00
96 pages; November 10, 1997
ISBN: 1-57630-04309
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.


Breakfasts, Brunches & Savory Lunches

"Breakfast in Bed" by Jesse Ziff Cool
"Pancakes A-Z" by Marie Simmons

This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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