You are here

Member since April 2003

Kirmizi Mercimek Koftesi (Red Lentil Burgers)

What you need: 

1 cup red lentils
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
corn flour, as needed
cooking spray or oil, as needed

What you do: 

1. Boil the lentils with the bouillion and water. When the lentils are cooked, all the water should be absorbed. If the lentils are watery, let them sit to absorb the rest of the moisture.
2. When the lentils are cooked and relatively cooled, add the parsley, garlic, onion, and spices. If the mixture is watery, add some corn flour to bind the ingredients.
3. Shape the lentils into patties and broil in oven or fry in skillet. Garnish the lentil kofte like you would a burger.

Preparation Time: 
45 minutes
Cooking Time: 
Recipe Category: 


I make these a lot of times, BUT they are never cooked! it is always a 1x lentils and 1.5x bulghur wheat cooked in like twice as much boiling water (or broth) together until soft, then everything added as above PLUS tomato paste and some hot paprika sauce (aci biber sosu) and spring onions - then you form köfte and put them in a piece of romaine lettuce , in which you roll it up for eating. You usually serve it with some lemon wedges to sprinkle it with some lemon juice to your own liking, - no frying, no bakin whatsoever, - really fast, simple and delicious :^)


Kirmizi Mercimek Koftesi (Red Lentil Meatballs) is a common dish. However, this is very very different from any recipe for it that I've seen before. Generally, the recipe includes fine bulgur, red lentils, parsley, scallions, onions, red pepper paste, tomato paste, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I have never seen it with corn. I use cumin, but it is not traditional to do so. The patties are not usually fried. Lentils are cooked in water or stock. At the same time, a big onion is fried in olive oil. Once lentils are cooked, bulgur and olive oil are added while lentils are hot. While bulgur is absorbing excess lentil liquid and oil, other ingredients are prepared (chopping, etc). After about 10 minutes, everything is mixed together. If mixture is dry, more liquid is added. When mixture is moist and holds together *but isn't soggy*, kofte are formed by hand (they are usually about half as long as a hot dog and twice as fat). It's very easy and healthy.


Turkish and Greek cuisine are very similar. This is a recipe with a Turkish name - but it is a food also eaten by Greeks. George was right to say "Keftedes."

I confirmed this with my Greek husband, who says that his Mom made these for him during Lent when he was growing up. This is a Lenten (vegan) variation of the food Greeks call Keftedes which are made with meat during other times of the year. Of course, my DH specified that his Mom would improvise rather than using a printed recipe like this.

I have personally eaten red lentils many times when visiting my husband's family in the old country. So, I cannot understand why Fatih thinks that Greeks don't eat them - but that doesn't mesh with my experience.


As I realise it, according to the Greek nationalists everything is greek. But let me point out a few truths regarding this
recipe and the kofte recipes in general. Kofte as a word is of Iranian origin. So nothing greek about koftes koftedes or
whatever. Now as the Kirmizi Mercimek Koftesi recipe... Well, it is 100% Turkish since the Pul Biber which is a Turkish spice is not available
in Greece. Instead we use mpoukovo which is similar but it tastes awful since we also grind the seeds of the red pepper and the
result is a MUCH inferior spice. Plus in Greece we DO NOT HAVE red lentils. They are grown exclusively in Turkey and most Greeks
(including my greek fiancee, I am half Greek half Azeri Turk) don't know they even exist. So George keep your food rhetorics to yourself,
unless you find more concrete evidence. Cheers!!!!

Log in or register to post comments