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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Spicy Lentil Balls with Kale, Eggplant, Bell Pepper, Zucchini

Lentil balls (Paruppu urundai) sambar was a favorite when I was young; and of course, my mom made the best lentil balls sambar. Growing up vegetarian, and looking back at the amazing array of vegetarian foods I got to eat, I am always eager to share some of these recipes with friends who feel limited by their choice of vegetarian diet - salads are fine; steamed broccoli and cauliflower are nice; creamed corn and blanched green beans are wonderful, but that is not all. There's so much more.

Anyway, lentil balls can be made ahead (as in the paruppu urundai kozhambu recipe), steamed and then frozen for later use. Thaw before incorporating it in recipes. This time, I added some tomato paste, sambal oelek, cayenne pepper powder and paprika to the soaked-and-ground lentils before forming balls and steaming them. Hence the "spicy" lentil balls.

The combination of bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini is quite irresistible for me. Sauteing these three with some red onions and a touch of garlic, with a sprinkling of salt and turmeric powder gives off a heady aroma that is utterly appetizing.

6 to 8 lentil balls
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup diced eggplant
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp brown sugar
salt to taste
oil as needed
water as needed


  1. heat the oil in a pan, saute the onions, garlic, tomato paste with a dash of salt and turmeric powder
  2. add the rest of the veggies and spices, a cup of water, cover and allow to simmer
  3. slide in the steamed lentil balls and simmer till the flavors infuse into the balls
  4. serve warm with basmati rice or roti

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