culinary review

Fried Vegetable & Lentil Cakes (Fritters) Spiced with Cumin and Curry

Last Modified: 11/15/10
First Published: 11/15/10
Views: 684
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Views: 684

Flavorful, hearty and yet light; these fried vegetable and lentil cakes (or fritters) are so tasty and would be an interesting alternative to fried potato cakes (also known as platskis). Since these little cakes contain both protein as well as vegetables, they can really be considered a complete meal and would be perfect to bring in the lunch box, munch on as a snack, or of course have for dinner with a salad on the side. Cumin, curry powder and smoked paprika add plenty of flavor here, but the spices don't overpower the dish. We choose to use red lentils, however mashed up chickpeas would also be great. As for the vegetable part, we used onion, sweet potato, parsnips, zucchini and red pepper, but of course the choice in vegetables is not written in stone either (finely chopped up greens, leeks, fennel or why not cauliflower also comes to mind...)

One interesting method used here is grating the vegetables first, then sauteing them in a pan for a few minutes. Once they are a bit soft, then add the cooked lentils, egg and flour, mix the batter and fry the cakes. That way you don't have to worry about cooking the cakes long enough to completely cook through the vegetables.

All in all, this is a very simple recipe to make. We had it with some nice greens and garlicky tsatski which was wonderful, however any cold sour cream sauce would be great, or perhaps something a tad sweet such as mango chutney. These are great warm, room temperature as well as cold, so no matter whether you eat them for dinner or as a snack, these patties are filling as well as flavorful.

Fried Vegetable & Lentil Cakes Spiced with Cumin and Curry

Makes lots of cakes (enough for 8 servings or 4 dinner servings and leftovers!)

  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (ideally smoked, hot)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 green zucchinis
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup flour
  • salt and pepper


Cook the lentils in salted water. Drain when they become done and set aside. Grate all the vegetables (if you use a food processor it will be quickly). Using a large pan (ideally a cast iron pan) heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil and add the spices (cumin, curry and paprika). Cook until fragrant; a minute or two. Add the grated onion, sweet potato and parsnips as well as some salt. Let cook for about 5 minutes and be sure to scrape the pan frequently as it tends to stick with grated vegetables. At this point add the grated zucchinis, red pepper, garlic and some more salt. Cook for another few minutes.

Now add all the vegetables in a big bowl and add the cooked lentils. Stir and taste, possibly add some more salt if needed as well as some pepper. Now add the egg and the flour and mix well.

Using the same pan as before, add about an inch of vegetable oil and heat up. When a bit of batter splatters in the oil, start spooning out the mixture into nice size cakes. Let cook for a minute or two on each side until nice and brown. Then transfer the cakes to a sheet pan lined with newspapers or paper towels and keep in a 200 degree oven to stay warm. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

Serve with tzatziki and a green salad.