The lentil puffs, studded with spinach and cilantro, are a specialty in the northern and western parts of India, where they are enjoyed with various sauces. Make these up to an hour ahead. To reheat, lightly cover and place in a 250º oven for 12 minutes or until warmed.
Sort and wash lentils; place in a bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Drain well. Place lentils and 3 tablespoons water in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally. Combine the pureed lentils, spinach, and next 7 ingredients (spinach through garlic), stirring well.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop lentil mixture by heaping tablespoons into pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and lentil mixture.
To prepare dip, combine 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until well blended. Serve with puffs. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Made this a couple different ways.
Definitely soak the lentils, they need to be a bit firm for this recipe to work.
They do not puff if you use the spinach as stated.
If you take the whole mixture and put it all in the food processor - whala - better puffing magic!
Also - use a teaspoon or cookie scoop - much better results with smaller patties.
I used a whole serrano pepper, and some red pepper flakes, I love this recipe! Although chopping fresh spinach is time consuming!
I usually skip the sauces, so i can't comment on how that tastes, but this can be a substitute for rice for another recipe!
Both "puffs" and sauce are excellent. They do not puff so as long as you're not expecting that...I dropped by teaspoonfulls to make bitesize appetizers for a party and they were a hit! Used brown lentils with no problem.
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