Children love to eat things that they can pick up and eat easily. This mixture of red lentils and rice can be made into balls or patties and either fried or baked. I usually bake them when I don’t have the time to stand over the stove, but frying gives them a nice crispiness and a bit more flavor. If you have very young children, you can just make them into bite size balls and serve without cooking them any further. In my experience, they aren’t very picky with that kind of thing.
Make the recipe as is or add some finely diced, sautéed onions, garlic and sea salt after the lentils and rice are done cooking. This is adapted from a recipe I found a few years ago. The original recipe called for curry powder, but I didn’t like the way it tasted. If I decided to add it now, I would sauté it with the onions first before adding it to the lentil mixture.
Red lentil and Rice Balls
1/3 cup white rice
2/3 cup red lentils
2 cups water
kombu, postage stamp size piece
3 slices raw ginger
olive or sesame oil
1. In a medium size saucepan, rinse the rice and lentils several times until water runs fairly clear. Drain.
2. Add 2 cups water, kombu and sliced ginger. Bring to a boil on medium heat, turn the heat down to simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the ginger slices. Transfer to a glass dish and let cool.
3. When cool, form into 2-3″ balls or patties. I usually make the balls fairly small, but patties can be larger.
4. If baking, place the lentil balls or patties on an oiled or parchment covered baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
5. If frying, use a high heat oil. Heat a medium size saucepan on medium low heat. Add a generous covering of oil. Heat until a little drop of water sputters gently. If the oil starts smoking toss the oil and start over. When the oil is the right temperature, gently place the balls or patties in the saucepan. Cook on each side until light brown. Add more oil halfway through cooking if necessary. When both sides are done, remove to a plate covered with something absorbent like a paper bag to soak up the extra oil.
6. Enjoy as is or add a sauce.
Add these to pita sandwiches with lemon tahini sauce, arugula and fresh tomatoes.
I have made these with brown lentils, but suggest using more rice and less lentils otherwise the mixture turns out too dry to make into balls.