Lentil cakes

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Cakes, Snacks | Tags: , , |

In India, these light, spongy snacks from the region of Gujarat are as popular as samosas or pakoras, but they are much easier to make. This recipe serves six.

Timings :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins

Ingredients :

  • 125g/4oz plain yoghurt
  • 100g/3½oz gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1-2 thin green chillies, seeds removed
  • 0.5cm/¼in piece ginger, peeled
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 6 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp Eno’s fruit salts (available from chemists)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • To serve
  • handful chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • handful freshly grated coconut

Method :

1. Grease an 18cm/7in sandwich tin with vegetable oil.

2. In a bowl, whisk the yoghurt and the gram flour together to a smooth batter.

3. In a food processor, blend the green chillies, ginger, lemon juice, one tablespoon of the vegetable oil, and two tablespoons of the water to a smooth paste.

4. Add the chilli paste, turmeric, salt and one teaspoon of the sugar to the batter and stir until well combined. Loosen the batter if necessary with a teaspoon of water to return it to the consistency of double cream.

5. Add the fruit salts and stir well to combine, then set aside for 4-5 minutes.

6. Fill the saucepan of a 20cm/8in double boiler with water and bring to a boil. (Alternatively, place a biscuit cutter of the same size or an upturned heatproof bowl into a large, heavy-based pan and pour enough water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover the pan with a lid and bring the water to a boil.)

7. Pour the batter into the greased sandwich tin and carefully lower it into the double boiler. Cover the pan with a lid and steam the cake over a medium heat for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean.

8. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until the mustard seeds start to pop. (CAUTION: keep the pan well away from your eyes and face.)

9. When the mustard seeds have started to pop, add the sesame seeds and curry leaves and fry for a further minute, or until the sesame seeds are golden-brown. Discard the curry leaves.

10. Add the remaining four tablespoons of water and the remaining teaspoon of sugar and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture resembles syrup.

11. To serve, turn out the lentil cake onto a serving plate. Pour the syrup evenly over the cake. Sprinkle over the fresh coriander and coconut.

Chef’s tip:

As with any baked cake, insert a toothpick into the middle to test if the cake is ready: if it comes out clean, it is done. Then pour the tarka (spiced oil) over the lentil cake before it cools as it will soak into the sponge more efficiently.

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