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Crunchy red lentil köfte with fresh mint

Australian Gourmet Traveller Turkish recipe for crunchy red lentil köfte with fresh mint by Greg Malouf

By Greg Malouf
  • Serves 6
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Crunchy red lentil köfte with fresh mint
The inspiration for these spicy little köfte comes from a lovely home-style restaurant in Gaziantep. This recipe is from by Greg and Lucy Malouf.


  • 40 gm butter
  • 1 small purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp mild Turkish red pepper paste (see note)
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 100 gm red lentils (½ cup)
  • 350 ml water
  • 80 gm fine burghul (½ cup)
  • 2 tbsp shredded mint leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp dried mint
  • To season: sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 baby cos lettuce, washed
  • 6 baby salad onions


  • 1
    Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, tomato paste, pepper paste and cumin. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften, then add the lentils and water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed two-thirds of the water. Stir in the burghul and fresh and dried mint and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in half the lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the oil. Tip the mixture onto a tray to cool.
  • 2
    When ready to serve, whisk the remaining lemon juice and oil to make a dressing and season with salt and pepper. Form the cooled lentil mixture into little patties and use your thumb to make an indentation in the surface of each. Arrange the köfte on a platter with the lettuce leaves and onions, then drizzle over the dressing.


Turkish red pepper paste is available from Turkish and Middle Eastern food stores.

  • Author: Greg Malouf