Some weeks it is challenging to come up with something that I think is worthy of sharing. I had intended on sharing a recipe for a Neapolitan Curd Tart, (which I am still determined to do – someday…) but while certainly edible, it just wasn’t share-worthy. However, I did come across a vegan recipe for a vegetable fritter that uses red lentils as a binder and I was hooked.
I never really knew my maternal grandmother. She was already fairly old and quite ill by the time I came along. However, I was always told that she had “golden hands.” My grandmother was a wonderful cook and baker and also could sew anything. But getting recipes from her was nearly impossible. She made an ice box cookie that my mother once tried to watch her make in order to write it down. Grandma was always improving recipes and would measure with instructions like “If the flour feels a little heavy in your hand, take a little off” or If it feels a little light, add some more.” I guess even though I never really got to know my grandma, I take after her in some ways. I’m fairly clever with my hands and I am constitutionally incapable of making a recipe exactly as written. While I am sure that the original recipe is very good (although I never made it that way) I have to say that the version I am presenting here is outstanding. But feel free to improve it yourself. Change the seasonings to suit your taste. And if you prefer sweet potato to regular potato – go for it.
Since I am not actually a vegan, I served this with a simple Greek yogurt that I flavored with Major Grey’s Chutney. If you wish to remain vegan you could stir the chutney into a good quality vegan mayonnaise or use it as is or you could make a tahini sauce instead. If you don’t like Indian flavorings (really?!!) you could season with pretty much any herbs or spices you like. These would make a wonderful appetizer or a summer dinner served over some peppery watercress or arugula with a nice glass of Chardonnay or a Rose and some fresh melon for dessert.
Vegetable Fritters with Mango Chutney by Sina from Vegan Heaven and seriously adapted by me
Yield: About 2 dozen 3-inch fritters
3/4 cup red lentils, well-rinsed and cooked until very soft (I used masoor dal, which are split red lentils, but any red lentil will do. Cook according to the package since the time and amount of water will vary with the type of lentil used.)
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped (Any kind of onion will do; I used a yellow onion.)
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium raw potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (I used golden potatoes but a Russet would also work.)
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
1 ear of corn with kernels removed OR 1/2 cup of canned or frozen kernels
5 Tablespoons of flour (I used Besan or Gram flour made from chickpeas which adds flavor and protein, but you can use all-purpose flour if that is all you have.)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 generous teaspoon of Garam Masala
1 scant teaspoon of Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Oil for frying (I used Grapeseed oil)
- Cook the red lentils according to the package or until very mushy. Drain any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
- Mix together all of the remaining ingredients (except for the oil!) in a large bowl.
- Heat a shallow layer of oil in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet until hot but not smoking. Add about 1.5 Tablespoons of the mixture into the pan. I used a cookie scoop to make it easy. Using the back of a spatula, slightly flatten the fritters. Fry until browned on one side and then turn to brown on the other side. The whole process takes about 6-8 minutes. How crispy you like them is a matter of personal preference and since there is no raw egg you don’t have to worry about under cooking the fritters. I placed browned fritters on a Silpat covered sheet pan in a warm oven while I continued frying. Alternatively you can place them on a plate lined with paper towels and serve immediately. Any left-overs can be refrigerated and reheated the next day in the oven or in a frying pan.
- Serve with any sauce you wish, although, honestly, these are also good just as is.
NOTE of CAUTION: Be a little careful of popping corn kernels if they are in the oil for too long!