Tikka-Spice Lentil Patties

Serves 3-4

(Vegan; no gluten, dairy, egg, nightshades or grain)

Enjoy the crisp texture, moist interior and mild Indian flavours. Serve with roasted, steamed or mashed vegetables. Or with a hearty salad such as Coleslaw with Tahini Dressing. The patties cook in just 4 minutes. Make a double batch and freeze some – shaped but uncooked – for an easy meal later. Left-overs are also good cold for lunch. Cook extra quinoa* – and lentils, or use tinned – and use in soup, stew or salad.

Every ingredient is available in good supermarkets. Spices are one of the highest sources of many antioxidants, minerals and specialised phytonutrients designed to protect plants and thus those who eat them. Legumes are a good source of protein, soluble and insoluble fibre. These qualities are excellent for blood sugar regulation and thus vitality and weight management.

1 cup cooked lentils (about 1/3 cup dried)
1 cup cooked quinoa* (about 1/3 cup dried) or if grains are fine, brown rice
1 cup thinly sliced and chopped raw mushroom; or 1 large onion chopped and cooked 1 small carrot, grated
***
¼ cup chickpea flour*
¼ cup savoury yeast flakes*
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt with kelp*
½ tsp turmeric
***
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil or other cold-pressed oil* (plus extra for frying)
1 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce*

In a medium bowl combine the lentils, quinoa, mushroom and carrot. Note that unlike the mushrooms, the onion needs to be cooked first since the patties are cooked so briefly.

Stir in the flour, yeast, cumin, garam masala, sea salt and turmeric until everything is well mixed. Stir in the water, oil and tamari.

Heat a little oil in a large heavy fry pan. Use about 3 tablespoon amounts to form a flat patty. Fry patties about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve.

Shopping and Preparation Tips*

  • Chickpea flour (also called besan): adds golden colour, binding ability and markedly increased protein and calcium content. Most supermarkets stock this. Legume flours taste bitter when raw so batter-lickers are warned. If you cannot use legumes then to help with binding and minimise crumbliness add 1 tsp guar gum (a white powder from ground guar seed), or 1 tsp xanthan gum (a white powder made from fermented corn) per standard size cake, loaf or pastry recipe. These are available in health stores. Replace any legume flour called for with equivalent rice flour, cornflour or tapioca flour.
  • Oil: mild, cold pressed oil suitable for baking and cooking is Ceres brand Organic Roasting and Frying Oil (from health stores). It is also second to extra virgin olive oil for affordability. Or use peanut, almond or untoasted sesame oil. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
  • Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
  • Quinoa: (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is a seed from Peru: high protein and fibre, low-starch; good source of manganese, magnesium, folate, flavonoids, some Omega 3 and other anti-inflammatory factors. It has a mild nutty taste; resembles and is used like a grain such as rice. Many people who are grain-sensitive can do well on quinoa as it is not a member of the grass family. Whole quinoa (looks like millet) and flaked quinoa (resembles rolled oats) are in most supermarkets. Use 1 part rinsed quinoa to 2 parts water or stock. Cover and bring to a boil; simmer about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
  • Sea salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed or kelp (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.
  • Soy sauce: can be a fake, unfermented chemical concoction of caramel colouring, artificial additives, wheat and cheap salt. True soy sauce contains nothing artificial and is naturally brewed for two to three years. It is made by fermenting soybeans with the help of a healthful mould (similar to making yoghurt or cheese); roasted grain – usually wheat or barley – for flavour and fermentation, plus salt. ‘Shoyu’ is the Japanese word for true fermented soy sauce. ‘Tamari’ describes naturally brewed soy sauce which does not contain wheat or other grain. In the supermarket look for organic Ceres brand, or plain only Kikkoman (their other varieties usually contain artificial additives including MSG: TIPS).
  • Yeast, flaky savoury: this is the yeast used to make Marmite and similar spreads; not the yeast used for bread making. It looks like pale brown chocolate flakes – but there the similarity ends. High in protein, B vitamins, hard-to-obtain chromium and other minerals. High in one of the 5 core tastes: umami, meaning savoury. Imparts a nutty, cheesy flavour. Buy from health stores and many supermarkets.

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