Fragrant Dreams of the Bosphorus

IMG_5073My quest for adding different ethnic flavors to my traditional European fare is never ending, and one of my new favorite hobbies is cooking Middle Eastern food. I remember my first trip to a Lebanese restaurant in London over a decade ago; as I bit into my first meze, I realized that Italian food, while delicious in its own right, really couldn’t hold a candle to the spices of the Middle East. I literally could not put my pitas down. In the town where I live now Italian seems to be the local favorite so to keep my taste buds in the Middle East I’ve stocked up on some cook books, visited a spice store, and gotten busy in the kitchen. Today I would like to share a favorite recipe of mine from the Eastern Mediterranean cookbook, “Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume” by Silvena Rowe. The delicacy is called red lentil kofte, or meatballs of the Lebanese vegetarian variety.  Come and cook with us!

Red lentil kofte (literally translated as red lentil balls) served with pomegranate and cilantro can be eaten as an appetizer, a light lunch, or a snack. The main ingredient, the red lentils, don’t hold their shape as well as brown and green lentils, but they are still packed with soluble fiber which makes them a low glycemic food. In addition, these lentils are a terrific source of folate, iron, manganese and more. Serve these little delicious treats with pomegranate molasses, an easy sauce to make right at home.

Come with me on a trip to Istanbul where our writer, Silvena Rowe, picked up this recipe from the city’s most popular vegetarian café.  It tastes of Istanbul!  Try it and let me know what you think. Come and cook with us!

Red Lentil Kofte
Pomegranate Molasses

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