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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip

Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


Served as snack or appetizer, these steamed lentil balls are packed with so much goodness that I can end up overindulging. And, when cooked in a curry sauce, it is the perfect side dish for naan or roti.


Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


Petite French green lentils and split pigeon peas (tuvar dal), along with some bulgur (cracked wheat) is soaked in hot water till they soften a bit. Then ground up with some herbs and flavors.


Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


Grated parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, and ginger bring in the earthy flavors.

Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


Coconut flour, my latest obsession, is perfect to bring the dough together to shape into balls. High in fiber content, coconut flour helps bind the lentil paste and grated veggies. These balls can be steamed or deep fried or baked. I made a batch of steamed lentil balls and a batch of fried ones for kids's snack.


Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


These steamed lentil balls are very much like the traditional South Indian Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu recipe, but with a boost of flavor from winter root vegetables.

The steamed lentil balls can be cooled and frozen for later use. Just thaw overnight in the fridge before incorporating in curries or other recipes.

Ingredients
For the Lentil Balls:
1½ cups combined grated turnips, rutabaga, parsnip, ginger
⅓ cup coconut flour, more or less
to soak and grind to paste:
¼ cup split pigeon peas
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup bulgur
3 or 4 dry red chilies (optional)
to flavor:
&frac14l teaspoon turmeric powder
&frac1 teaspoon chili powder
&frac1 teaspoon brown sugar
salt to taste

For the curry:
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (optional)
2 Tablespoon tamarind concentrate (sold as Sour Soup Mix)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup finely diced onions
¼ cup finely diced red, yellow bell peppers
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
favorite spices - cumin powder, coriander powder, or ready-made taco seasoning, or even Ras al Hanout

Preparation:
  1. Soak the split pigeon peas, green lentils and bulgur with optional red chilies in boiling hot water for about half an hour or up to one hour
  2. Meanwhile, grate the parsnip, rutabaga, turnip and ginger and keep handy
  3. Grind the soaked split pigeon peas, green lentils, bulgur, chilies to a fine paste, adding no more than a few teaspoons of water if needed -- the lentil paste needs to be thick not runny
  4. Combine the ground lentils mixture, grated veggies, flavoring ingredients, add a little bit of coconut flour at a time and mix the dough to a stiffer consistency that will lend itself to shaping
  5. Shape the dough into balls and steam for about 10 minutes
  6. Meanwhile, start the curry simmering in the pot - simply combine all the curry ingredients and bring to a simmer, adjusting flavors
  7. Drop the steamed lentil balls into the gently simmering curry and allow to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes to absorb the flavors
  8. Serve warm with rice or roti or naan
Steamed Lentil Balls with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Turnip


Alternately, I saved a batch of lentil balls before steaming, and deep fried these for the kids. The steamed lentil balls can be deep fried as well, if preferred.

With some ketchup on the side, kids love eating up these fried balls not surprised at all by the fact that it has turnip, parsnip, and rutabaga which they typically avoid at all costs.



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