I couldn’t believe how scrumptious my green lentils patties turned out the day when I made them for the first time. Critics No1 & 2 didn’t even realise they weren’t made with meat until I told them. Huge success at creating a vegetarian version of an old-time family favourite, kotlet. I was so pleased.
The patties were supposed to be a vegetarian version of my mum’s kotlet (shallow-fried minced beef and potato patties) because the week had been declared a vegetarian one by Critic No.1. I was craving kotlet so badly it was all I could think about making that night. My adventurous side got the better of me and I decided to substitute green lentils for the meat to accommodate both of us.
My mum’s kotlet always came with shallow-fried, sometimes crinkle cut chips (fries). Heaven-on-earth! The best part was being given one right out of the pan, sizzling hot and so fragrant with all the spices that she put into the mix. You can skip the pita and serve them with fries only if you wish.
We call these patties kotlet in Persian (Farsi), most probably from Polish or Russian kotlet/kotleta both of which are minced-meat croquettes. Like many other foods adopted from other cuisines kotlet/kotleta went through a transformation in Persian kitchens of late 19th/ early 20th centuries and became Persianised.
My vegetarian kotlet were different from my mum’s in another way too. I put lots of fresh herbs (chives, dill and garlic greens) in the mix like they do in the Caspian Sea regions of Iran. You can use any herb mix as you wish as long as the herbs are finely chopped. A mixture of parsley, mint and coriander is very nice.
I always make a big batch. I promise you, you won’t get tired of having the leftovers because they are even better cold. I also love to serve kotlet (whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian) cold as finger food. Make them a bit smaller in size if serving as finger-food and if you wish to make a smaller batch just divide everything in half. Dividing a raw egg is a bit tricky. Beat the egg lightly to divide it more easily.
To serve 6-8 persons you will need the following ingredients.
For the Minty Yoghurt and cucumber sauce:
Mix all the ingredients.
To assemble the pita pockets:
Cut the pitas in halves with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Wrap them in foil and heat in the oven for a few minutes or quickly toast on both sides on a hot grill. Open each pita half to tuck in a patty, a few sprigs of herbs (mint/tarragon/coriander/parsley or a mix) and as much pickles as you like. Serve with the yoghurt cucumber sauce. Enjoy!