Hey hey, it's Caera. 
I happened to stumble upon some lentils in my pantry the other day. Usually, we don't have these in stock because, if there exists a place where all the cheap and abundant is expensive and rare, visa versa, then Japan it is. At least I struggle to find anything. I had 1 cup exactly on hand. Thankfully, lentils act like rice and double in size when cooked. Funnily enough, these patties call for both lentils AND rice. Woo.

The task; I needed to find something to do with them! Lentils are a great source of protein and are actually considered the best meat replacement food. They're really versatile, too, so you can find a lot to do with this staple food. Lentils alone; okay. Lentils jazzed up; amazing. It is easier, though, if you can buy lentils in larger quantities. But, having no experience with these legumes, I was sort of unsure. It doesn't take long to find some inspiration, though!

I've grown to love curry. I remember being younger and really hating the idea of curry for dinner. I always preferred meat bbq'd with salt. (The salt was so necessary) I believed that cooking meat for such a length of time meant "killing the meat even more". BUT, I grew out of that silly thought and I absolutely LOVE curries now. I can appreciate curried/stewed meat just as much as a juicy piece of steak. It's probably one of my favourite comfort foods, among SO many others.

Talking about meat here is quite contradicting because this is actually a vegetarian post, but the point I'm focusing on is the curry sauces that traditional indian dishes have and all of the flavour enhancing spices that go into them. De-lish.

So, here we are, Curry Lentil and Rice Vegetable Patties which were insanely delicious with my homemade Cumin Pita's.  

NB: I'd make the pita dough first, as it needs about 1-2 hours rising and proving. 
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 garlic clove
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 + 1 1/2 red bell pepper
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, more to taste
- 1/4-1/2 rolled oats
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- Bunch of coriander, chopped
- splash of vegetable oil


1) In a pot of water, place the lentils and bring to boil for 3 minutes. Then turn down to simmer and wait until tender. Then pat the lentils dry once cooked. Cook the brown rice in a pot of water too, until tender. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius/ 356 Fahrenheit.

2) In a food processor, place the peeled garlic clove and turn it on for a few seconds until the garlic is minced

3) Chop the carrots, 1/2 pepper and onion. Then, add them to the processor with the garlic. (I partially cooked the onion in the microwave with a splash of water because raw onion doesn't work well with me).Pulse until all about the same size but not pureed.

3) To the processor, add the lentils, brown rice, all spices and tahini. Pulse this until everything is about the size of a grain of rice. The bowl will need to be scraped down now and then. Do not puree the mixture though. 

4) Empty the contents into a clean bowl and add the oats, seeds and coriander. Taste and check for seasoning. Form the mixture into patties about the size of your palm. Add more oats if the mixture will not form easily. 

5) Heat a large pan over medium heat with a splash of oil. Place the patties onto the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes on either side or until browned on either side. If your pan can be placed in the oven, do so once browned and cook for another 5 or so minutes, depending on how thick your patties are. If your pan cannot be placed in the oven, simply line a tray with foil and transfer the patties onto it. 

6) Let them cool a little before eating. 

Pita Bread
- 1 tsp dried yeast
-60g strong wholemeal bread flour (or rye flour, or half and half)
- 250g strong white bread flour, you'll also need some for dusting

- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin seeds (optional if you want plain)
- 2 tsp olive oil, and some to grease

1) In a bowl, mix the yeast with 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Leave this for 5 mins, and stir again. 

2) In another bowl, large, mix together the flours, salt and cumin seeds.

3) Make a well in the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture along with 190ml of lukewarm water and the oil. Combine  until dough is formed. 

4) Turn out the dough onto a clean, floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. The place into a greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave this to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours. It should double in size.

5) Once risen, turn out the dough and knock it back (knead lightly again until volume is smaller). Shape the dough into a cylinder 5cm wide and cut into 6 pieces.

6) Work with each piece of dough individually, leaving the rest covered. Take a piece of dough and shape into a ball. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into an oval about 18 cm (Refer to images). Once each one is done, place onto a baking sheet and keep covered in a warm place for 20 mins. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees C. 

7) Place another baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Once hot, place the pitas onto it and cook for 5 minutes. You'll see them puff up, and the whole pita should have puffed before they're done. They should also be slightly browned on either side when they're done. 

8) Once baked, transfer the pitas to a wire rack to cool and in addition to this, brush the tops of the pitas with a touch of water. 

These are best eaten warm, so get the dough ready and cook just before serving. 

Also, these pitas can be sliced and toasted to make tasty dip companions. You could probably also add other seeds and spices with equivalent measurements of the cumin seeds. SO VERSATILE. SO TASTY.
Voila- this was cool to watch
SOME CHEMISTRY FOR YOU Pita Bread is cooked at really high temperatures which seals the outside and traps the gases existing in the dough on the inside. In line with the gas laws,these gases and the change from water in the dough into steam, increase the pressure and causes the bread to split at it's weakest point. 
PREP some extras. 

Roast Some Peppers!
- Slice the red pepper and place onto a baking sheet. Coat lightly in oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven at 200 degrees C/ 390 fahrenheit and cook until soft.  
Caramelize Some Onion!
- Chop an onion into rings and place into greased pan on medium heat. Drizzle over some balsamic and spoon over some brown sugar. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Slice and avocado
Crumble some tangy cheese
Find some nice leaves of lettuce to line your pita!

So many options. 
A few extra toppings, such as soft goats milk cheese (feta if you havn't got the buds for goatsmilk), avocado, roasted red capsicum/pepper, and lettuce can intensify the flavors, adding tartness, creaminess and sweetness, respectively. 

But, after devouring this plate of food, we came to conclusion that it was missing something, whether it was a squeeze of lemon juice, or a sharp, tangy relish, I think it was an absence of an acidic element in the dish. I ate the leftover patties with mango chutney, which pairs really well with curry and did improve the flavour. Do experiment, but these are my suggestions :) 

...and STUFF!  ...and you already know what comes next. 

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