As much as I enjoy making foods from the Moosewood recipes, I look forward to my non-Moosewood foods on weekends. Today for the Father’s Day dinner, I tried making Middle Eastern variations of fritters. The fritters reminded me of the flat version of falafel and loved the yoghurt sauce (very close kin of tsatziki and raita). When I told my girls I’m making “fattoush”, they started to giggle, then I realized what they were laughing about – seriously, their brains are so messed up – did you get what they were laughing about? yeah, “fat” “tush”, but don’t worry, you won’t get fat tush from eating “fattoush”. Fattoush is a Lebanese toasted bread salad and for me, once I start eating this, I can’t stop, it’s quite addictive! I got these two recipes from a cookbook “Taste of Mediterranean”.
Lentil & Bulgur Fritters with Yoghurt Sauce: makes 20-35 (depending on the size you make this)
3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup bulgur
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 small Lebanese (short) cucumber, peeled
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Place the lentils in a saucepan with 2-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and add water to just cover the lentils. Pour in the bulgur, cover and let it stand for 1-1/2 hours, or until the bulgur has expanded. Transfer to a bowl.
To make the yoghurt sauce, halve the cucumber, scoop out the seeds and discard. Grate the flesh and place in a bowl with the yoghurt and garlic, and mix together well.
Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the cumin and coriander. Add the onion mixture, mint, eggs, flour and sea salt to the lentil mixture, and mix together well. The mixture should be thick enough to drop spoonfuls into the pan. If the mixture is too wet, add a little extra flour. Heat the remaining oil in the cleaned frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, drop heaped tablespoons of mixture into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes each side, or until browned. Drain, season with salt and serve with the yoghurt sauce.
Note: If you cannot find Lebanese cucumbers, you can use Persian or Japanese.
Fattoush: serves 6
2 pita rounds
6 romaine lettuce leaves, shredded
1 large Lebanese cucumber, cubed
4 tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 scallions, chopped
4 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350F. Split the pitas in halves (so that you have 4 round halves) and bake on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, or until golden crisp, turning halfway through. Break into pieces.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together until combined. Place the bread and remaining salad ingredients in a serving bowl and toss to combine. Pour on the dressing and toss well. Season. Serve immediately.
Note: I did add chickpeas to this salad.