Turkish Lentil Kofta “Mercimek Köftesi” is easy to make and delicious vegan dishes with simple ingredients. Very popular among ladies in tea parties here in Turkey 🙂
The main ingredient is thin bulgur. It also has onion, tomato paste, olive oil and spices along with red lentils of course. For fresh ingredients, I used just chopped parsley as a fresh green but in original we also use finely sliced scallions too.
Ingredients for Lentil Kofta Balls
1 cup red lentils (wash and drained)
2+1/2 cups water
a good pinch of salt
1 cup thin bulgur wheat
1 big onion
5-6 tbsp olive oil
little less than 1 tbsp tomato paste
little less than red pepper paste (If you can’t find use tomato paste instead)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp or more salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/3 bunch of parsley
5-6 thin scallions
To serve: fresh lettuce leaves, lemon wedges
Wash and drain the lentils and cook in 2+1/2 cups water with a pinch of salt in a pot or pressure cooker to make it quicker with the lid on until lentils are very soft like a mashy puree.
Turn off the heat and while it is still hot, add the bulgur wheat, stir well and close to lid. Wait until the bulgur soaks all the juices.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Chop the onion finely and saute in 5-6 tbsp olive oil until it gets a bit color.
Add tomato and if you have pepper paste. Continue to saute until the raw smell of the tomato and pepper paste is gone about 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat.
Add salt, paprika and cumin, and then 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for about 1 minute and add the sauce to the lentil and bulgur mixture.
Mix everything well, you can also mash it with your hand. Give it a taste if it needs more seasonings and salt. Drizzle 3-4 tbsp more olive oil and mix well. The consistency we are looking for is like thick wet sand that you can shape it. If it seems too dry you can add little more water or olive oil for extra taste and adjust it. You can also check it by shaping a piece.
Finally, add finely chopped parsley and scallions if using and mix again without mashing the greens too much.
Shape the lentil kofta balls as you wish and serve with lots of lettuce leaves and lemon wedges and enjoy! Afiyet Olsun!
What Is Bulgur Wheat?
Bulgur is a cereal grain made from dried, cracked wheat — most commonly durum wheat. It is partially cooked so that it can be prepared relatively quickly. When cooked, it has a similar consistency to couscous or quinoa.
Bulgur is considered a whole grain, meaning that the entire wheat kernel — including the germ, endosperm and bran — is eaten.
It is originated in the Mediterranean and can be traced back thousands of years. To this day, it’s a staple ingredient in many Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
You might be interested in this similar recipe Cigkofte (Turkish raw meatless bulgur balls): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isohRsOHfJg
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