Keeping up with the "Koftes"
For many, weekends are packed with fun-filled outings, dinner with friends, maybe some gardening, various chores and of course doing some prep for the pending work week. Beyond other fun weekend activities, most Saturday mornings I can be found making my way across the city of Boston into Cambridge and Watertown to visit some of my favorite shops to pick up my weekly Mediterranean fixings.
We have some amazing stores to explore in and around the Boston area that offer some of the plumpest dates, delicious dried apricots, wonderful whole grains and homemade Greek yogurt to die for! I am also always lured in by lentil kofte as an additional treat to bring home because my husband happens to love them. Recently I changed it up and purchased kofte from a different shop (they used red lentils and looked to be loaded with fresh herbs). Well, they were so wonderful I was inspired to make them myself. I searched a few different blogs to get a sense of the ingredients and came up with my own modified version that is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I have made kofte several times now and even took a batch to a cookout where the plate was almost instantly empty! I hope others enjoy them as much as we have.
2 cups red lentil
1 cup bulgur
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups of water
1 large yellow or white onion, very finely chopped
3 teaspoons cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
1 1/2 cups finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups finely chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cilantro
Rinse the lentils for about a minute, then add them to 4 cups of water and heat on the stove until most of the water is absorbed, typically about 10 minutes.
Remove the lentils from the stove, add the bulgur and salt. Mix well, cover and let it sit for about a half hour until the mixture is cooled and the bulgur is absorbed.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add in the white or yellow onion. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until the onions are nice and soft (but not brown.) Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, mix for 1 minute and remove from the stove.
Combine the cooled lentil mixture with the onions and add in half of the parsley, green onions, cilantro and all of the lemon juice. Mix well.
To make kofte I have found it easiest to line a cookie sheet with foil as the mixture can be a bit sticky until it firms up. You can either use your hands or a large spoon to scoop them out of the pan. Take a spoonful or handful of the mixture in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze to the shape of your closed hand. Place on the foil. Repeat until all of the mixture is used. Allow kofte to rest for 10-15 minutes.
You can either plate individually as an appetizer or make a platter to serve family style (as i have done in the photo). I sprinkled some of the leftover herb mixture (parsley, green onions and cilantro) on the plate with a handful of mixed greens, arranged the kofte and then sprinkled the remaining herbs on top.