Thursday, April 13, 2006

Red Lentil & Rice Patties with Cilantro Sauce

If I'd eaten these red lentil and rice patties with cilantro sauce in the best vegetarian restaurant in the world, I would have been impressed. As it happened, I made this recipe from The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld (author of The Voluptuous Vegan) in my own humble kitchen and was completely and utterly awed by the sophisticated combination of flavors. As I prepared this dish, I agonized over what I should serve with it. Kornfeld suggests them as a "vegetarian main course or as a side dish to fish and chicken dishes". Darlings, these aren't a side dish to anything. These should be eaten and reveled in without other flavors. These must be eaten alone.

So, what made these so amazing? The combination of the nutty red Bhutanese rice, red lentils, fragrant cumin seeds and hot pepper flakes was aromatic and tasty. But, then, adding the bright green and spicy Cilantro sauce really heightened the flavors and made this dish a wonder. I love this sauce. It would be a great match with Indian and Thai curries and Mexican dishes. With its wonderful flavor, it could make the simplest food into a delectable meal - rice, tofu, and steamed veggies with this sauce - delish! Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips. Don't like cilantro? Kornfeld says mint makes a delicious substitute.

Although these patties were hard to keep together, they are so worth it. Make sure you cook the lentils and rice until all the water is absorbed to avoid the mixture being too watery. Also wait until the lentil-rice mixture is completely cooled before trying to make the patties - they'll hold together much better if you do.

And now, without further ado, the adapted recipe:

Red Lentil Patties with Cilantro Sauce (from The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld):

1 cup Red Bhutanese rice (I got mine from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups finely diced onion
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp sesame or olive oil
Cilantro Sauce (recipe follows)

Rinse the rice and lentils. Put them into a medium saucepan with the water and salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down to lowest heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer an additional 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

When you uncover the lentil/rice mix, heat the 2 tbsp sesame oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook until very tender (about 10 minutes). Add the red pepper flakes then add the onion mix to the rice-lentil mix and allow to cool.

Once the rice-lentil mix is cool, form into small patties and coat with arrowroot (like cornstarch, only better). Fry in sesame oil over medium heat for 3-4 mins per side.

Cilantro Sauce:
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
I jalapeno, deseeded
1 garlic clove
1" piece peeled ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped cilantro

Blend/puree all ingredients until smooth.

I can't wait to try some of the other recipes from this book!


Blogger Susan Voisin said...

Okay, I'm sold! I'm definitely going to try these. I have some red rice (not sure if it's Bhutanese, though) and I will substitute mint for the cilantro. (It's not that I don't like it; I think I have a cilantro allergy--it tastes exactly like soap to me!)

You really do a great job of making this recipe sound delicious!

11:01 AM  
Blogger Alanna Kellogg said...

Okay, sold to the cook from St Louis, too! I'll have to work on the red rice ... Alanna (who's still in recovery from blogging addiction)

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You've really made this recipe sound amazing and irresistible! I've been interested in that cookbook for awhile now. Like I need another cookbook.... Ha!

Have a great weekend!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Ha! now I'm glad I toned my enthusiasm down ;-)

But seriously, this is the best thing I've eaten in ages. I'm very curious to hear other opinions.

1:39 PM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That made me hungry, just reading it. I must be getting over my cold.
(I do appreciate the enthusiasm, BTW; it's how I choose which recipes to try.)

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this book too. I recently made two of the sauces from her book and served them with salmon. Not vegetarian of course, but the sauces were so good that you could put them on all sorts of things. I really like her palate and her spicing.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi kymm - thanks for visiting. Which sauces did you try? I'd love to hear. I agree re: palate and spicing - I've learned a lot after two recipes!

Love the name of your blog! I will definitely be visiting you!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Isil Simsek said...

I'd love to try this recipe. I just love lentils!

3:00 AM  
Blogger Diane Daniel said...

Oh great another cookbook I just HAVE to have!!! :)
Thanks for the tip! I can't wait to try this recipe - my husband is a cilantro nut & the lentils fit right in with our spring plan to trim up a bit. YUMMY stuff - thanks for posting it!!

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an unrepentant meat-eater, I have to admit that I'm usually skeptical to the point of cynical about vegetarian/vegan food.

Then I tried this recipe.

Amazing!! I'm absolutely sold and can't wait to recommend it to friends and family. The only modification I made was an extra japapeno and about 5x more garlic (I'm a garlic addict). Thanks for publishing this wonderful meal and I look forward to trying more of your meat-free options.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Anon - Thanks for posting your variation. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did. Of course, Myra Kornfeld is the genius here.


5:50 PM  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

wow! These DO look good. I will try these! I'm bookmarking now.

8:27 PM  
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Blogger Just a Girl said...

I found your recipe through fatfreevegan's blog and had to write to tell you just how wonderful these were! I used her rice cooker method (though if you want the lentils to stay whole, this is not the way to go) and brown rice because I couldn't find red rice but followed the rest of the directions from your site. I sauteed the onions/spices as directed and added them into the rice/lentils from the cooker and then put the whole mess into the freezer on a cookie sheet to cool off (I was hungry!) I didn't have any problem with the patties falling apart, probably because they were so cold when I cooked them. This was delightful and worthy of a 5 star restaurant! Thank you for a new favorite! ツ

5:36 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Ellieut - thanks so much for your comment. You just reminded me that I really must make these again soon!

5:15 PM  
Blogger JoAnna said...

LOVE this recipe ! I have made it many times when a vegan guest is coming for dinner. I have found that both the sauce and the patties can be made ahead of time and then i reheat the patties in the oven - i have also used the cilantro sauce over fish for non-vegan folks.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Time's Up: A Liberation Ritual said...

Just made some with leftover rice that was already cooked. Made the lentils separate then mixed with cold rice to cool faster. I had trouble keeping the patties together so I added a beaten egg. I had leftover arepa flour (pre-cooked corn meal). I toasted it then rolled the lentil patties in the toasted meal before frying. With the cilantro sauce... O.M.G.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I love the arepa idea! I'll have to try that.

Thanks for sharing!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also found your recipe through SusanV's Fatfree vegan blog. I followed your recipe, but I only had regular lentils and wild rice in the pantry. Still, it worked beautifully. The combination of the cuminy patty and the cilantro sauce just exploded my palate. This is definitely one I will be repeating again and again!

4:35 PM  

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