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Seasonal food blog of Chef Deborah at Cuvée at The Greenporter Hotel

Meatless Monday: Red Lentil-Saffron Rice Cakes

May 2nd, 2015 · No Comments · Brunch, City Cooking, Cooking Classes, Dietary Restrictions, Dinner, Entertaining, Events, Fall Recipes, Gardening, Gluten-free, Greenport, Holiday, Italian, leftovers, Long Island Wine, Lunch, Meatless Mondays, New York City, North Fork, Nut allergy, nut-free, Queens, Side Dishes, Spring Recipes, Summer, Summer Recipes, Winter Recipes

This recipe speaks to the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention” in that this is a recipe emerged from the limited budget of graduate school days in a Camden Town flat in London when rice and dal (stewed lentils) were one of the few affordable dishes for a student. When combined, rice and dal, or any bean, result in protein and are ingredients that feed the masses in many parts of the world from Asia to Latin America and the Caribbean. Sometimes there was leftover rice or dal and I would make a kind of patty out of it and serve it on toast as a kind of veggie burger making me very popular among my roommates. This patty can be elevated with dressed greens and a spicy salsa which is how I eat it nowadays!

Red Lentil-Saffron Rice Cakes

It is easier to make this with leftover rice but use this or your favorite rice recipe to make your own.

5 cups water, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 or 4 Saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt plus a pinch for rice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place lentils in a large bowl.

Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan with saffron threads with a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, cumin seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles or 4 larger ones for burger size; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and rice mixture. Serve on bread as a burger or on a salad — both with spicy green salsa.

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