Samosa-like lentil snacks

Lentil snacks

Hooray! The Hungry Tiger is back! New link to the original recipe Here is a variation on these lentil snacks over on Just Bento - it's not the same, but very similar.

As I have mentioned before, The Hungry Tiger is one of my favorite food blogs. Ms. redfox, the owner, recently posted about a delicious looking lentil snack called kibbeh. Lentils are one of my favorite things, so I just had to try it.

The first time, I used some black-and-white lentils that I'd bought some time ago from an Indian/Tamil food store in Zürich. This didn't turn out too well, because the lentils were quite firm and kept their shape even after an hour or so of cooking. The resulting lentil snacks were quite crunchy and tasty but did have a rather unfortunate after effect on everyone who munched on them several hours later.

So the next time I tried red lentils, like the ones redfox uses. This turned out very well - the lentils turn suitably mushy after about 20 minutes. The texture reminded me of samosas, so for the third attempt I changed around the spices from Middle Eastern to Indian sub-continent. This has been the biggest hit so far - this batch disappeared astonishingly fast. I was able to rescue a few for a photoshoot before they were gobbled up.

So, here are the instructions: follow the original instructions for cooking the lentils, and for soaking the bulgur in the excess moisture of the lentils. To the sautéed onions, add about 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin, cardamon, and turmeric or curry powder, then add some crushed red pepper flakes. The amount solely depends on your fondness for heat. Optionally you can also add some chopped pickled or fresh red chili peppers, which I did here. And instead of tarragon, add a handful each of chopped fresh coriander and parsley. The original recipe calls for a little lemon juice, which I forgot to add each time until after I'd made the balls, so I sprinkled the balls with the lemon juice instead and that worked pretty well. Then cook them in the oven as per the original instructions.

And, as Ms. redfox speculates, these go amazingly well with a yogurt sauce which is dead easy to make: roughly chop up a couple of garlic cloves, and add about a teaspoon or so of salt to it on your chopping board. (If you are fastidious, you may have a small chopping board devoted exclusively to garlic tasks. I don't.) With the tip of a knife, crush up the garlic - the salt holds your garlic in place as you crush, and also takes a bit of the edge off the rawness. This, by the way, is a classical way of crushing garlic that's to be used raw, such as in salad dressings. Add the garlic and salt to plain, creamy yogurt, taste and adjust for more salt if needed. This is so good that you may find yourself just spooning it up into your mouth as-is.

These really are the perfect snack - filling, tasty, and fairly low-fat. If you omit the bulgur, which does add a pleasing texture, they'd be almost all-lentil and thus a great low-carb snack too.

Filed under:  snack legumes vegan

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Oooh...that sounds delicious! We're planning a bunch of Indian dishes soon, so I'm going to have to add this recipe...thanks!

I made these when Ms. redfox originally posted the recipe and they were delicious. My 9 yr old son just loved them. I left out the tarragon and added parsley instead as you did.

I LOVE red lentils! One of my favourite, easiest and healthiest meals to cook is a sort of soup-y/stew-y/curry dish starting with a base of red lentils, stock, crushed tomatoes and onion, then adding various combinations of fresh and dried herbs. It can taste mediterranean one time and south asian the next! The only problem is the 'mush' factor. It doesn't bother me, but I suspect that my boyfriend would be more willing to eat lentils if the texture were a little less... mushy. Oven-baked lentil and bulgur-wheat 'meatballs' sound like the perfect compromise! Thanks Maki :)

I love this recipe too! I've made it a few times with the middle-eastern spicing, but can't wait to make them again with your modifications.

Yum...i have had kibbeh made with lamb and pistachio nuts too and they are real tasty!

Hi there, I came across your blog while surfing food blogs for new cooking ideas.

Anyways, there is an indian version of the kibbehs called 'masala vadai' and you have to wash and soak the lentils (yellow gram dall/channa dall) for about 6 hours and then grind half of it into a thick paste with a wee bit of water. Mix the other half of the soaked lentils and the ground lentil paste with your spices and fry. Hope this helps. You can add finely chopped and fried onions into the mixture as well. Cheers and happy cooking.


Did you omit the tomato paste from the original recipe in your version?

I should have written months ago to tell you how much I've appreciated your miso soup recipe, which I made at least a dozen times last winter. Your blog is lovely.

I substituted couscous for the bulghur the second time i made them and thought that was even better. They are so popular that i have to keep making them. A friend asked me how long they keep in the fridge and we couldn't answer the question because they never lasted more than a day...

Marley - if you want to have lentils that don't get mushy you could try "Beluga" lentils. Like red lentils, they don't need soaking and are done in about 15-20 min, but they keep their shape and have a lovely flavour.

Thank you Sasha! I'll look out for them. And your couscous substitution sounds great, too.

I'm so glad the lentil snacks are such a hit. The couscous substitution is ingenious! I don't think you'd have good luck with just eliminating the bulgur element outright, though -- I think it's pretty crucial to making them stick together properly without, say, frying them and making fritters. That would be good, too, but at that point I think it's getting to be a different food altogether.

(I also hope that someone, somewhere is trying them with the tarragon, because it's really awfully tasty that way.)

Hi, just wondering about the couscous variation. It sounds delicious, but do you use the same amount of couscous as you would using bulgar? (1/2 cup)

This recipe is making me hungry! I can't wait to try it!

Grat recipe. thanks.

My husband loves lentils and I liked Ms Redfoxs' suggestion for the creamy yogurt sauce. Going to try to make these over the holidays as an appertizer. Wish me luck!

I have been living in Philippines for the last 20 years. Once i visited India along with my parents and the food culture there was really amazing and very diversified. Each and every state there has it's own speciality in especially in food (language cloths, and tradition would be other terms). I enjoyed many recepies their, some of them i remember Chola bhatoora, shahi paneer, matar paner i like most. If in future i will get a chance to visit India, I would not like to miss it, exclusively for Indian Food :)

these look amazing! Great website~

And they were great! I made a couple mistakes but they still turned out good. I plan on making these once a week snack.

I am being asked for a password when I try to go to the original recipy.. can someone give me the recepy as i realy wana try this :D

I see the hungry tiger site says temporarily restricted. If it doesn't come back soon I'll try to post a recipe, though it won't be exactly like the original of course.

oh nooo. the blog seems to have disappeared :( is there any way for me to get the recipe? thanks!:)

I second the disappointment--please post your version of the recipe. I'm so excited to try these!

I too was disappointed by the original page's disappearance. You can still see it if you look on the internet archive site:

archived page on

Thanks for that link sbb! Love the Web Archive.

Just the snack I need, tasty, delicious but low in carb... thanks for the post,really appreciate it :)

Btw I run a blog about Chinese Recipe, would u be so kind to exchange link with me? I've added your blog in my "Delicious Blogs" section.... :)

Secret Chinese Recipes:

Would there be something you could substitute for the bulgar/couscous that would make these gluten free? Would something like quinoa work?

You can just leave out the grains, or use cooked quinoa or something similar.

I have found brown rice couscous. It's toasted, and has great texture and taste. Maybe it would work for the non gluten substitutions, it's what I intend to try. Possible brown rice "bread crumbs" which I get at the health food store might work also.
I started making bentos this summer and my children's friend are so jealous. What a lot of fun.

Had no bulgar wheat so used quinoa instead - bit trendy but worked really well