Red Lentil Köfte


Sunday 22 February, 2015 by Uncle Spike

One of the meals favoured by the Spike tummy is what is known in Turkish as Mercimekli Köfte (pronounced Mer-ji-mek-li Koof-tee), which is often served as a mid-afternoon snack, but for us constitutes our main meal, with usually enough spare to keep me going for a few days as Aunty Spike works away each week.

Basically, it’s slightly spiced vegetarian patties made from red lentils and bulgur. It’s a very easy meal to knock up, so a good one to share I thought. There are of course many many recipe variations around, but here’s our version and the usual step-by-step photo guide from the Spike Kitchen.


Step one

The base ingredients are fine bulgur (cracked wheat) – the fine bulgur works better than the coarse version – and red lentils. We use one large glass of each, around 300 grams, or 10 ounces.



Add the 1 glass of red lentils to 2.5 glasses of water (the ratio is important), and boil for around 20-25 minutes until almost all the water has gone.



Step two

When there is still some water left, keep the heat on and add the bulgur to the now-cooked lentils.  



Keep stirring the brew until it becomes a paste-like mixture. Then turn off the heat, place the lid on the pan and leave for 20 minutes.



Step three

Then, finely chop one large or two medium-sized onions. Some recipes also use garlic, but unlike many of our meals, we don’t for this dish.



The onion is sautéed in olive oil (of course) until nice and soft.



Step four

To the cooked onion, add a good dollop of tomato paste, and some hot pepper paste (according to taste), a some cumin, salt, black pepper, and the juice from one or two lemons.

Stir until a lovely smelling red paste… and then turn the heat back on under the pan with the lentils and bulgur, and add the onion mix just prepared.

Then replace the lid, and leave to cool for an hour at least.



Step five

Fresh from the garden, finely chop a couple of fresh green onions and some flat leaf parsley, and squeeze the juice from a few more lemons. 



Step six

Then add the greens to the pot and mix thoroughly. Try a taste and see what you think… we often add more lemon juice as our sun-ripened lemons are generally sweeter than from the supermarket. Then add a couple of spoons of red pepper flakes according to taste. We like ours to be sort of zesty and spicy taste….



Step seven – the messy bit

Stick yer paws into the mix and make sure the pepper flakes and the lemon juice are well mixed in. Taste test and add more as you like. If already too much of either, err, guess that’s tough – lesson for next time.

Then form small patties in your hands, trying not to scoff them all as you prepare your families meal 😀





Step eight

We often serve with a bowl of fresh yoghurt, some strong white cheese, and of course, Turkish çay (tea). They will keep well, if covered, in a fridge for 2-3 days. Great to snack on every time you pass the fridge door 🙂

āfiyet olsun (bon appétit)


27 thoughts on “Red Lentil Köfte

  1. lulu says:

    I like red lentils and this looks like an interesting way to use them to say nothing about being a tasty way.


  2. neihtn2012 says:

    An ideal meal: tasty and healthy. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Colleen says:

    Yummy! May have to try my hand at these! Thanks I love Turkish food!


  4. I’ve had some of those in a Turkish restaurant as a starter. Now my mouth is watering, as I know how delicious they taste:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AnnetteM says:

    They certainly look worth a try – and can’t go wrong with those good photo instructions. I have bookmarked it and will give it a bash. Thanks


  6. suchled says:

    I don’t want to sound a complete clutz, but I assume you cook them after shaping them, like meatballs.??


  7. sb2711 says:

    Woow…I love Koftas….these red lentils are called Masoor Dal in India and you can have a number of yummy dishes from it. Add some garlic choppings in the koftas and they will be more tasty!


  8. Sue Slaght says:

    This looks delicious but a bit more complicated to do than Turkish coffee. 🙂


  9. joannesisco says:

    They look delicious!! This is something I would like to try 🙂


  10. Step 9 – I’ll be right over! Sounds brilliant …


  11. dayphoto says:

    YAY! I just bought a whole new bag of dried red lentils! Thank you…I shall try to recreate. As for the Turkish Tea…I love tea…how do I make that?

    Linda ♪♫❤


  12. TheDigger says:

    I am SO HUNGRY after reading this . Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

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