These are crisped yellow lentil and spinach cakes. Hara means "green;" the bright color of the greens is maintained by blanching the spinach first. Be sure to use a good-quality garam masala.
The mixture for the cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Serve these cakes with Mint Chutney (see accompanying recipe).
Servings: 8 - 10 2 1/2-inch-wide cakes
- 2 pounds spinach (not baby spinach), stems removed and thoroughly cleaned
- 10 ounces yellow lentils (Bengal gram), picked through for debris and rinsed in cold water
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped green thai chili pepper
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, wilt the spinach; it will take only about 30 seconds. Drain the spinach, rinse it with cold water until it has cooled, and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until it forms a dense, pesto-like paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Clean the processor bowl and blade.
In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook the yellow lentils for about 25 minutes, until they have softened. Drain and rinse with cold water until the lentils have cooled. Transfer to a food processor and pulse to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the cumin seeds for about 30 seconds. Let them cool slightly, then transfer to a grinder and grind the seeds into a fine powder.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until it is smoking. Add the yellow lentil paste and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until it becomes dry. Add the spinach paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the mixture appears dry. Add the ginger, green chili pepper, garam masala, ground cumin seeds and salt. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet to cool completely.
At this point, the mixture can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
When ready to cook, line a plate with paper towels. Divide the mixture into equal portions and form into patties no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a griddle or in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil is smoking. Brown the patties for 2 minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on the paper towels; serve immediately, with mint chutney on the side.
From chef Nilesh Singhvi.
Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.
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