Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Lentil Pate

(Mercimek Koftesi)

Lentil Pate
1 cup Turkish bulgur, small grain, washed and drained
1 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp cumin
1 lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Cook the red lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water at low heat. When there's a small amount of water left, add the bulgur. Stir and and continue cooking until all the water evaporates. Cover and put aside.

In another medium-size pot, saute the onion with sunflower oil. Then add all the remaining ingredients, except parsley. Also add in the lentil and bulgur mixture. Cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes doughy and starts to leave the sides of the pot. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Place a clean kitchen towel across the top of the pot on the rim and cover. Let it cool down.

Mix in the parsley and using your hand, give them the shape shown in the picture. Keep refrigerated and serve on green salad leaves.

* This is a vegetarian dish. Mercimek Koftesi



At 3:58 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I fell in love with these at Zencifil, in Istanbul. Is kuskus the Turkish name for bulgur? And does it matter if the red lentils are split or whole?

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Lisa,
Kuskus (Couscous) is a small tiny ball shape pasta, Bulgur is grain that come in different sizes. I've already posted some recipes for them. You can use either split or whole red lentil to cook any kind of dish.
On the site, below the google ads on the right, there's a search box. So you can search just my site if "TC" is selected, it will help you to find any recipe that I posted:)

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, Binnur. I seem to recall at Zencifil, some kind of sauce served with these lentil balls. What would you suggest?

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Lisa,
Lentil Pate traditionally is served with lemon juice on the lettuce leaves. If you wish to make a sauce, you may use zencefil, lemon juice and olive oil. But I wouldn't use any sauce for it because simple it is, better it is:)

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binur
I was just wondering what you mean by "when a small amount of water is left". I'm worried I will leave too much or too little water.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Jennifer,
The red lentil should be almost done with a little bit of water left. Do not worry about leaving too much water, after adding bulgur you will continue too cook until all the water evaporates:)

At 5:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are awesome - I usually mold it all into a shape like a heart and have guetss spread it on crackers. so delicious.

At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for all of your wonderful recipes! i wonder, what other foods (if any) can you serve with lentil pate?

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

It is a meze (appetizer) which can be served with any kind of dishes or mezes:)

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur, I've been using your site for a while now. I'm from the states but I have been living in Turkey for about three years. I leared how to make mercimek kofte from a woman from Mersin and she put a lot more tomato paste and spices in it... the mixture was almost too soft to role into balls. I've tried your recipe too and I found it equally delicious. I was also wondering if you had a recipe for kol boreği with ground beef. The kind I buy in the pastry shops doesn't seem to be made from yufka, it seems much more fluffy and buttery... can you give me any ideas of what and how they make this kind of borek? Thank you for all of your recipies!

Kind Regards,

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Emilee,
Kol Boregi which are sold at the pastry shops made of very soft and very thin oiled dough. I am going to post it in the future:)

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

I saw your comment about a sauce to go with these red lentil balls and the first thing that came to my mind is Pomegranate Sauce (Molasses). It is dark and has a syrup-like consistency with a great sour taste. It goes well on salads and another Turkish dish called Kisir. You can find it at any Turkish or Middle Eastern grocer. Hope you enjoy it!

At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are simply the best Binnur Hanim!

On an entirely different note, do you happen to know what the soap in Turkey that is called "arab sabun" is made from? I use it but don't have a clue!

Also curious what the Turkish word for the herb tarragon is. Not sure whether I can find it in Istanbul.

Thanks so much for a fantastic site.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these! I was wondering, do you think it's possible to freeze the mix before shaping it into kofte? I always seem to make too much and then I'm eating them for days!

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Sure, why not:)

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Thank you:)
Tarragon means tarhun (Tarhun otu) in Turkish.
Arap sabunu: Soft soap. Arap soap is a healthy general cleaning agent that can be used safely. It is more natural compared to other soaps as it is made from vegetable oils. It is less harmful to skin and environment.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Carson said...

Hi Binnur! LOVE your website - you have so many recipes for Turkish dishes that my friends and I go crazy for, including these lentil balls that we just tried for the first time yesterday. I'm really excited to try making them myself, but I wanted to ask, do they contain the juice of 1 lemon, or is it supposed to be something like 1 tablespoon lemon juice?

Thanks so much for this great website!

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Carson,
Thank you:) It contains the juice of 1 lemon. You can use less amount of lemon juice, then later if you like add more:)

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi binnur!love ur site! i was wondering whether you as a turk heard of sth like a chickpeas kofte made of chickpeas,onion,garlic,parsley(fried)or is it only an arabic dish and the turkish cuisine has nothing to do with it?greeetings!

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

I am going to post it in the future:)

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Binnur,

I love your recipes. Before i used to wait for mom to cook but now I cook 3 different types of meals before she comes from work. Thanks to your simple, fresh recipes. I cooked this dish but i am being little conservative with the lemon. I am just not sure if it suppose to taste lemonish?

Tesekuler ve ellerine salik ( i am turk from bulgaria)

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

You will not taste the lemon, it is just to stabilize the taste of the whole recipe. If you like you can add the lemon gradually.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arap sabunu: Thick Murphy oil.
I was just e-mailing your site to my daughters. Very easy and tasty food.
Thank you.

At 3:11 PM, Anonymous sukeyrod said...


Can I make these with green lentils?


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Sukey,
Sure, you can:)

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur Is it true that each kofte should be eaten in a salad leaf? or is it up to us? I have never done it before, today is my first time however for the time being I coudnt shape them because the dough is too soaky:)...Probably I need some practice:) Greetings!

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Binnur am I supposed to use small grain or large grained bulgur?

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Continue to cook at medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes doughy and starts to leave the sides of the pot:)
It is up to you how to eat it:)

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Small grain bulgur should be used in this recipe:)

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Sara said...

selam Binnur abla!

would it be possible to make these without bulgur? what would you recommend to add in its place? we are thinking of making these gluten free, so bulgur wouldn't work.


At 8:37 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

Selam Sara:)
You can use broken rice or potatoes instead of bulgur:)

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Rachna said...

Hi Binnur,

V interesting recipe. I plan to try these out before serving them for a dinner party. Pls advice if these can be made a day or two in advance or should be made fresh the same day?

Also, whether they should be served hot or cold?


At 10:12 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Rachna,
Sure, you can make them a day or two in advance. They can be served at
room temperature or cold.
Take care,

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't have small coarse bulgur (köftelik bulgur), I only had organik bulgur from a store here. I added the bulgur to cooked lentils as you said. Bulgur did not get soft and I am afraid I ruined the recipe already. İf I add more water do you think it works?

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

The measurements are not for the large-sized bulgur so you should occasionally add more hot water until they are cooked. But it is hard to give it a kofte shape that way.

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Binnur,

Could you make the koftes the day before or must they be made on the day?

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Tanya,
You can certainly make them the day before and store in the fridge :)


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