Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lentil and Spinach Puffs with Plum-Date Dip

Try this yummy appetizer for a taste of India in your kitchen.

Ahead of time, place 3/4 cup dried red lentils in a bowl, and cover with water up to 2 inches above the lentils; cover, refrigerate, and let stand at least 8 hours and up to overnight. Drain, then combine with 3 tablespoons water in a food processor and process until smooth.

Combine the pureed lentils with 3 and 1/2 cups chopped spinach, 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon finely chopped and seeded serrano chile, 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. baking soda, and 1 minced garlic clove; stir well to combine.

(Note: the original recipe said to coarsely chop the spinach, which I interpreted as larger pieces; I wish in retrospect that I'd chopped it quite finely, so that is what I recommend).

Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lentil batter in ten, tablespoon-ful size portions - I definitely made my first batch too large, which meant my final batch were awfully small, so try and keep them fairly small from the get-go to avoid this problem! Cook for 2 minutes on each side.

Repeat the procedure twice - each time with 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and 10 more tablespoon-ful size lentil patties, so at the end you have 30 puffs.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper, 4 pitted prunes and 4 pitted dates in a blender; process until smooth. Do use a blender here - I tried my food processor, but it didn't quite make the sauce smooth enough.

Serve 3 puffs with about 1 tablespoon of dip for 10 appeatizer portions of 140 calories each.

red lentils $2.99
spinach $2.50
green onions $0.99
cilantro $1.69
serrano chile $0.12
prunes $2.99
dates $4.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance