Twenty years ago I used to work in a Women’s Centre in Cambridge. No.1 Daughter was all fresh and new and still subject to the whims of her Mumma. I would pick up my wages and then I would push her in her buggy along Mill Road to get to the bus stop so as to go home. We would always stop in at Arjunas (a Wholefood Grocers) and buy some Ricecakes with Black Sesame Seeds, or a carton of Banana Soya milk, something to share on the ride home.
On the last Friday of the month an Asian woman would rush in with a tray of these Lentil Cakes still warm from her kitchen – just the one tray mind. They were never named anything and as soon as she arrived, they sold out.
Now I have eaten all sorts of foods, and these cakes she made were not any sort of Bahji or pakora I have eaten elsewhere. I have tried no end of recipes, tried out different formulations myself and have not got it.
These are the closest I have ever come to those ethereal, sublime delights and I am sharing them here.
I really like them, they are not quite there but trust that on the day that I crack that recipe entirely I shall let you know
Let me know what you think.
Gently Spiced Lentil Cakes
1 cup rice (Thai, Sushi, Risotto, Arborio, Short grain)
1/2 cup red lentils
2 medium onions
6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander leaves
2 tsp dried parsley
2 dssp cumin seeds, coarsely pounded
1 dssp grated ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
1 cups rice flour (as needed)
200ml vegetable oil to pan-fry the cakes.
Cook the rice and lentil in separate pans until they are cooked. Cool them in cold water, drain and set to one side in a bowl.
Peel the onions, carrots and garlic and cut into chunks.
Pop into the food processor and chop to a nice fine mince 🙂
Add in the spices, sea salt and herbs and give it a quick blitz.
Add in the rice and lentil and blitz again. You will have a soft, wettish mixture.
Tip this into a large bowl and add enough of the rice flour to make a nice firm mix.
Get your frying set up ready, the cakes will go onto kitchen paper in a warm dish as they cook.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a medium high heat.
And once you can smell it, it will be ready to start frying, so add spoonfuls of the mix or ice cream scoops (as I like to do) to the hot oil.
Get the pan full, the heat is high so you should be able to do this.
As they brown, turn them over with a fork or a knife or a palate knife.
Pop them onto the kitchen paper to drain
That’s it, they’re ready – pop them onto a plate with some salad or a nice chutney for dipping.
Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)
Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.