The Canadian Lentils, Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge is on and I went in for it on a whim. I’ve entered all the categories: Appetizer, Salad, Main Dish, Dessert/Baked Goods, and Freestyle. Yes, my excitement over lentils got the best of me. I think it was the same reaction you’d see in me over a “SALE” sign in any shop. Looking at the challenge I just thought, “I’m a Bengali, I should be able to cook some daal, it would be a shame not to!” I had an idea or two, thinking the rest would just follow from my 30 plus decades of daal consumption. I realized after I had registered, “Not one or two but five different original recipes with lentils by April 7th?” My husband and daughter do not even like lentils … what was I thinking?” Of course I could back out of any category if I wanted to, but then it wouldn’t be challenging enough for me, would it? What is life without a little bit of nervous tic?
If you are interested in entering the Lentils Recipe Revelations Challenge, you still have time. The challenge is open to all Canadian and U.S. residents and runs until the 7th of April. The hyperlink on this blog will lead you to their webpage. If you are interested in checking out their recipes, which have the ability to make your jaw drop, you must check out their recipe page. And if you are solely interested in knowing what the other contestants have cooked up check their Facebook page.
I think you should join the challenge! If not for the prize, join the challenge for fun. My aim is to push myself to create something that my husband and daughter, who are otherwise lentil haters, would eat.
This recipe is a take on a traditional Bengali fritter that my Ma fries for lunch, mostly during the monsoon months. Bengalis love anything fried with their rice. The fritter that inspired me is a concoction of red lentils and fresh shrimp paste. Fresh shrimp that are way too small to be shelled are ground up (shell and all) and then mixed with red lentil paste and spices and finally fried as fritters. Here I have substituted fresh peeled shrimp for shrimp paste, adding onions and fresh oregano to give it a fresh twist. These fritters have a pronounced lentil flavour that is complimented with the freshness of ginger, the heat of red chills, the sweetness of onions and the zest of fresh oregano leaves. Tofu or any other diced vegetable could be substituted for the shrimp. The lentil base of these fritters can be fried without anything being added to it and it would still taste amazing. Best of all, they are a cinch to prepare, are incredibly light and moreish and my non lentil eating husband ate every one of the fritters you see on the photo.
This recipe is my entry for the Appetizer category and I would absolutely LOVE your FEEDBACK! Does this appeal to you? Would you want to taste it?
Lentil Fritters with Shrimp and Oregano served with Balsamic Dip
- Red Lentil: 1/2 cup
- Flour: 1 Tbsp
- Shrimp: 1 cup diced (about 15 medium sized shrimps)
- Onion: 1 medium sliced
- Ginger: 1 inch julienned
- Fresh Red chill: 3 ( 1, deveined if you don’t like heat)
- Fresh Oregano: 1/4 cup leaves plucked
- Salt: 1/2 tsp
- Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
- Oil: for frying
- Reduced Balsamic Vinegar: to serve with fritters
- Soak lentils in fresh water for a minimum of 45 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the drained pre soaked red lentils, half of the julienned ginger, half of the sliced onions, 1 chopped chilli and 1/4 cup water.
- Puree until well blended.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt. Blend well.
- Meanwhile heat your oil for frying in a shallow frying pan.
- Keep heat at low medium.
- Transfer lentil puree to a bowl. Add shrimp and fresh oregano leaves. (If you are using any other substitute, like cauliflower, zucchini, tofu, etc, add them at this point)
- Mix the batter well, and with a help of a tea spoon drop batter in batches into hot oil.
- Keep heat at medium low and fry fritters on both sides by flipping at every 1 and half minute intervals.
- The fritters should be ready when golden brown in colour.
- Drain briefly in paper towel before serving.
- Serve with reduced balsamic vinegar as a dip. The tanginess of the balsamic compliments these fritters very well.