YELLOW SPLIT PEA FRITTERS AND TOMATO-Y SAUCE
I've been delving into Indian recipes this winter. People rarely request anything of this sort but I like Indian fare and especially the vegetarian dishes. People are frequently put off by the word spicy, but spicy does not necessarily mean 'hot'. The spices used are seeds and roots that are known to have beneficial health qualities. It's so rare that we use them in any cuisine. I'm a great fan of pulses, legumes and nuts. I made this the other night to great delight. The original recipe called for making the fritters into patties but I found I liked the balls, similar to Felafal, a lot better and easier to hold together. If you live near an Indian grocery store you will have no trouble finding the spices, or you can get them by mail order. If you buy them in a standard grocery store you'll find that they are really expensive. Then again when you get them in an Indian grocery you can purchase a lot for a little. The problem there is you might have too much. It's better to have too much than a little for a lot, at least that is what I think. Here is a photo of the finished dish, followed by the recipe:
1 cup yellow split peas, chana dal (similar to the kind used for split pea soup)
3 cups hot water
1 - 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 jalapeno or other green chiles - with the seeds if you want a bit of heat - chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, or chick pea flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots or red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted cashews
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
a handful of curry leaves, basil, or thai basil, thinly julienned
Vegetable oil for frying
Pick over the peas for stones and dried up ones. Place them in a bowl and cover it with hot water. Let the peas soak for 3 hours then drain. Place them into a food processor with the ginger, chiles, flour, salt and 2 tablespoons water and puree to a coarse texture - not too pureed or too coarse but totally combined. Add the shallots, cashews, cilantro and curry or basil leaves. Process briefly to combine. Transfer to a bowl.
Add enough oil in a deep saucepan to deep fry the fritters. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Using a small ice cream scoop place balls of the fritter mixture into the hot oil. Fry until well browned all around. Drain the fritters on paper towels.
Tomato Sauce with Spices
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-2 yellow onions, sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, or grated fresh turmeric
2 fresh tomatoes or 3-4 canned, finely chopped
2-3 cups water
half or more of the fritters
1 teaspoon garam masala
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Warm the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cumin to brown. Then add the ginger, coriander, garlic and turmeric for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Careful when adding the tomatoes as they tend to splash. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes. Add the fritters and some more water. Mix them in well. Cover again and let it all simmer for another 10 minutes. To serve: take out a portion of the fritters, spoon sauce over them, sprinkle with the garam masala and cilantro.
You can serve this with one or two other Indian dishes as part of a meal, or just by itself with or without some basmati rice.
If you make this, let me know what you think.