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!

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