This special appetizer is another popular dish among Turkish women. Just like Kisir, it is an indispensable taste of their gatherings in the afternoon. Of course it doesn’t mean that men doesn’t love lentil balls. Thay also love it as a snack. But maybe because generally women meet at a friend’s house in the afternoons, and make it together, lentil balls are more popular among them.
As Kisir and Lentil Balls are both made of bulgur (pounded wheat), they are alternatives for each other. And it is both a tradition and a must to serve tea with or after them. Bulgur easily makes you full and if you can not dominate your appetite and eat much, you may feel bad, have some trouble with your stomach. In this case, tea is your life saver. It definitely relaxes your stomach.
Unlike Kisir, lentil balls have lentils in its ingredients besides bulgur. You’ll taste the perfect combination of bulgur and red lentil with these lentil balls. There are two types of bulgur; small grain and big grain. Bulgur with big grain is for pilaf. We need bulgur with small grain here just like kisir.
Ingredients (servings: 4)
• 1 cup red lentil
• 2 cups bulgur
• 3 cups water
• 3 tsp salt
• 3 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp red pepper flaes
• 1 tbsp tomato or red pepper paste
• 1 tea cup olive oil
• 1 big onion, diced
• 3 scallions, chopped thin
• Half bunch of parsley, minced
• Lettuce and lemon for serving
Clean the lentil, wash it and drain. Pour 3 cups water in a pot, add 1 tsp salt and the lentil in it. Boil it over medium heat until tender (about 20 or 30 minutes). Lentils should be easily mashed after boiled. Take the pot from fire.
Add 2 cups bulgur into the same pot, while it is still hot. Combine it with bulgur and put the lid on. Wait it for 15 minutes until bulgur absorbs all the water in the pot. Then transfer this mixture in a large tray.
Saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil until golden brown. Add pepper paste, 3 tsp cumin and red pepper flakes into it. Saute it for a few minutes more.
Pour the sauted onion into the lentil – bulgur mixture. Add 2 tsp salt and start to knead it. They should be combined very well. But be careful, if it’s too hot to knead with hands, just start mixing it with a spoon and then when it reaches the heat enough to touch, knead it with hands for about ten minutes. Then add finely chopped scallion and parsley into it, knead it just to combine these greens into it, do not work on it much.
To serve it, take a piece from the mixture and shape it in your palm (one hand is enough) in two or three movements. You’ll see a nice shape with your finger marks on them. Put some leaves of fresh lettuce and place these lentil balls on it. Serve it with lemon slices.
Note: There is a special style of eating these balls. Put one of it in a lettuce leaf, squeeze lemon on it and roll. Now you can have a bite and want more.