Lentil Cakes Tikka Masala

By • June 19, 2012 • 22 Comments

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Author Notes: You can make these spicy hot by adding chile flakes or cayenne to the cakes or the sauce or both. thirschfeld

Serves 4

For the Lentil Cakes

  • 1 cup dried Lentil du Puy, rinsed and picked over for stones
  • 1/2 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 cup flour, I used millet flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro
  • canola oil
  1. Place the lentils into a 3 quart pot and cover with water by two or more inches. Add the minced onion. Place the pot over medium heat. Slowly bring the lentils to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the lentils until tender adding a pinch or two of salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This should take approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the lentils. Let them cool but puree them in a food processor while they are still warm. They will be easier to handle when warm.
  3. Add the remaining lentil cake ingredients and pulse the cakes a few more times until the rest of the ingredients are combined into the mix. Taste the lentil puree then season the puree with kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Let the cakes sit for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. Take a tablespoon of the mix and make a ball. Is it really wet or is it too stiff? You want the mix to hold its shape but not be overly stiff otherwise they can be dry when cooked. It should just hold its shape. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if you need to letting the additional flour hydrate before testing. Divide the lentils into eight balls.
  5. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed sauté pan by an 1/8 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Test the oil by dropping a pinch of lentil to the pan. It should begin to sizzle right away but not violently sizzle and pop.
  6. When the oil is ready take each lentil ball and smash it down gently forming it into 1/2 inch thick cakes and add them to the oil. Let each side brown nicely and then remove them to a tray lined with a brown bag to soak up the oil. Keep the cakes warm, either in a low, 200 degree oven or in a warm place on the stove.
  7. Drain the oil from the pan, place it back on the heat and then add the remaining diced onion. Saute until tender then add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Stir to combine, bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Let it simmer for ten minutes to come together. You can puree the sauce to make it smooth or leave the onion chunky making the sauce rustic.
  8. Serve with rice.
Jump to Comments (22)

Comments (22) Questions (2)

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1-july4thgirls

3 months ago Michelle

This recipe looks so good, I can't wait to try it. I'm thinking of adding some more spices to the sauce - I'm looking to recreate my favorite Seeds of Change tikka masala sauce for this recipe. ;)

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4 months ago Sara Lynn

Can any part of this recipe be easily frozen?

Stringio

7 months ago Erin Aguayo

the only meal every person in our family loves, every time. a miracle, albeit a very messy miracle.

Stringio

11 months ago Marie Weber

Going to try this tonight with some leftover lentils. I made a huge batch by mistake and need a good way to use the rest up. Think this will be a good meatless Monday dish.

Stringio

11 months ago Marie Weber

These were delicious! Could not have come out better. I have attempted similar recipes but never had such good results. Even the leftovers, a little mushy, are very tasty. I made no substitutions.

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over 1 year ago Chocolate Be

This is a wonderful recipe! The mixture looks perfectly awful in its uncooked state, like mud, but once you have sautéed them, they have a beautiful crust, like a sausage patty. The sauce is great, too. We mostly eat vegetarian but I have served these to lots of omnivores who rave about them. You can make both the lentil mixture and the sauce ahead and store in the fridge. I have often eaten leftover already-sauteed patties the next day, just gently reheating them in a frying pan.

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over 1 year ago beejay45

Great idea, thanks for putting these two together.

I was thinking these reminded me of falafels and wondering how they would taste with your tikka sauce. Then again, these lentil burgers would probably also be stellar with tahini dressing, the lemon, garlic and sesame paste one. I always have trouble between tahine and tahini. Also chile and chili. ;)

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over 1 year ago Lemoni

I have about 2.5 cups of cooked chickpeas that have been languishing in my fridge for a few days. I wonder if I could employ this recipe to use them up? Thoughts?

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over 1 year ago thirschfeld

Chickpeas make great fritters. You might need to add some sort of flour to make the mix bind. It all depends on how wet the peas are after you grind them.

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over 2 years ago EatDrinkLyon

I made these last night. I only had kamut flour, so I used that. I thought at first that I had too much flour, but I left the mix for around 40 minutes before cooking and it was pretty perfect texture wise. I added a lot more, and different spices though (cumin, coriander, a hint of hot chilli as well as a small pinch of chilli flakes). They were really delicious and I will def make them again. question - for the sauce when you say tomato sauce do you mean homemade tomato sauce or ??? I used tomato purée and yoghurt and left out the cream. Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe - really tasty.

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over 2 years ago bewler

Did anyone else have trouble with the sauce curdling after adding the yogurt? Any advice on how to prevent that?

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over 1 year ago beejay45

Not sure this is it, but if the heat is too high or you stir/agitate too vigorously, almost any sauce with dairy in it will break or curdle.

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over 2 years ago Rivka

Made them tonight. Fantastic. In case others want to do the same, I made the batter - cilantro and all - in advance, formed balls, and packed them between layers of parchment in a loaf pan. Fried them up tonight, and they were really stellar. One comment, though, which is that I had a hard time getting the cilantro in the sauce to blend smooth, even after ten minutes of cooking. After everal attempts, i ettled for rustic, but no less tasty. Thanks, Tom.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

I love food52 most when it provides exactly what I am looking for at just the right moment. Today's mention of this recipe is an example of this - I made this tonight and it was just what we all needed. Delicious and will definitely go into the rotation. I used a combination of sorghum and quinoa flour because I did not have millet. Thanks for the recipe, Tom.

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over 2 years ago Rivka

Planning to make these for dinner this week - very excited. Do you think I can make and shape the burger dough in advance and cook them a couple days later?

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

Rivka, I would make them ahead, they for easier, but I wouldn't add the spices till you get ready to make them. Reason being cilantro a it sits in food sometimes gets soapy tasting.

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over 2 years ago Demington

Do you think I can make the cakes with masoor daal?

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

I am guessing yes just don't overcook them or the cakes might be really wet.

Meg_b_f52

over 2 years ago meganvt01

I am currently trying with some regular green lentils and I'd say I have lentil pancakes rather than the beautiful burger shape in your pictures. Tasty pancakes - but next time I make this I'll have to get some du puys

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

Sorry to hear that meganvto1. Runny pancakes or stiff pancakes? Just wondering if you could have added more flour?

Meg_b_f52

over 2 years ago meganvt01

They were very wet - so I just added flour to thicken - I didn't want to overdo it so I had more of a thick pancake batter rather than a dough like ball. BUT - it was SOO delicious! The sauce was divine. I'll be making this again very soon with the proper lentils and a bit of heat. Thanks for the recipe!

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over 2 years ago farmmommy

This recipe sounds delicious! definitely going to try it. also, I LOVE the "tray lined with a brown bag" idea. I never buy paper towels but I'm stuck with what to do with cooked bacon or other oily things at that need to drain into something. I don't want to ruin a dishtowel and I usually have a brown paper bag around. Thanks for the great tip!