Turn humble red lentils into the most amazing lentil fries - crisp outside & creamy inside. Serve with a simple and zesty currywurst dipping sauce. (Skip to recipe.)
I've been thinking about lentils, as you can tell by my last couple posts, and it hasn't stopped yet. I'm working on recipes to enter into the recipe contest for Canadian Lentils.
I'm pretty sure I've been dreaming about lentils - and my family might be too, as I rope anybody I can, into being lentil-taste-testers.
I spent last week visiting my mom in Prince George, BC. Early one morning we were visited by a moose right in Mom's yard - feasting on her willow trees just 30 feet (10m) from the house! This picture is taken through her dining room window.
My cousin, Tammy, and her sweet little girl, Amelia, were also visiting, and we had a great old time gabbing, catching up, and giggling at Amelia's antics. Plus, I made them all be my taste-tester guinea pigs. They were good sports about lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner some days! I hope they're not totally 'lentilled' out.
We balanced our lentil tasting (and wine drinking) with walks and outings.
The snow in Prince George was still at the same wintery level we have here in northern Alberta - melting slowly and resisting Spring. But it will come. We all know that.
On the first day of spring we went for a walk and found our first pussywillows! A perfect gift to give us encouragement and hope for the change of seasons.
This recipe for Lentil Fries went through several adjustments and variations, but I believe I've got it! Mom and Tammy gave it their vote. I came home and made my final tuned-up version for Raymond, and it got two thumbs up, an empty plate and a request to make them again. (Plus, I couldn't stop nibbling as I was frying them, either.) If you are a french fry lover, you will want to try these.
Lentil fries have all the crispy, savoury crunchiness of french fries, plus moist creamy insides. The sneaky health bonus is that they're not just a deep fried starch - they're a power pack of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Even deep frying can't negate all those good-for-you qualities.
I figure that I don't eat deep fried foods often, and when I do, I want to make sure I get some healthy benefits to balance the naughty deliciousness of that crispy fried flavour.
Lentil fries are convenient - you can make up the lentil mixture the night before, or up to an hour before, then fry when you are ready to serve them. They make a tasty appetizer course to nibble with a cold beer or glass of wine, or a great side with a burger. The dipping sauce is a sweet, tangy, spicy riff on a German currywurst sauce. I tried other sauces with these fries, but it wasn't until I stirred up this mixture that we all said 'Bingo!"
It is a marriage made in Lentil Fry heaven.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: Don't be afraid of deep frying. If you have an electric deep fryer, great. But if you are like me, and only deep fry occasionally, a small heavy pot works just fine. I use a small quantity of oil and never leave my pot of hot oil unattended. It really is easy to do and worthwhile as a treat, now and then. I use grapeseed oil which has a relatively high smoke point (charts of oil smoke points can vary widely depending on the source you use), but other oils will work, too.
The oil is usually good for 2 to 3 uses, if you cool it after use and strain out the crumbs with a fine meshed strainer, as long as it hasn't gotten too dark (then I discard it). I don't keep it longer than a week or two.
I use a heavy bottomed pot with a small diameter so I don't need too much oil. At mom's I fried the Lentil Fries in a 6" (15¾cm) stainless steel pot, and here at home I use a 7¾" (19cm) cast iron pot (I need about 2½ cups oil).
Leftover fries can be spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and crisped up in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Lentil Fries with Currywurst Dipping Sauce
For the Lentil Fries:
- 1 cup (190gms) red lentils
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons onion powder (granulated dried onion)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 2 to 3 cups (500-750ml) oil (I use grapeseed oil) - enough to be 1 inch (2.5cm) deep
For the Currywurst Dipping Sauce:
- ½ cup (120ml) Greek yogurt
- ½ cup (120ml) ketchup
- 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (we like 2 teaspoons)
Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Start with 1 teaspoon curry powder, taste, and add the second teaspoon if you like. Set aside to meld flavours.
Line a 7x11" (18x28cm) or 9x9'' (23x23cm) pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a blender combine the lentils, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and pepper. Process until finely ground - basically a flour with a few larger granules in it.
Pour it into a measuring cup or small bowl. You need to be able to dump the ground lentil mixture into the boiling water without stopping to scrape the last bits from the blender. (I tried pouring it directly from the blender and ended up with clumps - so don't do it!)
In a medium sized saucepan, bring the water and lemon juice to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and remove the saucepan from the heat (if you don't it will splatter when adding the lentils). Whisking constantly with one hand, pour the lentil flour in a steady stream into the water until it is all mixed in and smooth.
Remove the whisk and trade it for a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook it, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. The mixture will be quite stiff.
Scrape it into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula. Have a glass of cold water nearby and keep dipping the spatula into the water as you smooth the surface of the cooked lentil mass.
Leave it until it is cool. *At this point it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or up to 3 days. The Currywurst Dipping Sauce can also be covered and refrigerated. Just stir again when ready to serve.
When the mixture is cool, cut it into french fry sized sticks. You can lift the whole slab out with the paper and transfer it to a cutting board. In my 7x11" pan I cut 4 rows across the short way and cut each into 16 sticks, making 64 lentil fries. In a 9x9" pan, I cut 3 rows of 24 fries, making 72 fries in total.
Heat the oil in a small, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat until you can see it start to ripple slightly. Drop in 1 lentil fry and watch until you see that it is surrounded by lots of bubbling. Then the oil will be hot enough. Carefully lower in a batch of the lentil sticks with a slotted spoon. The oil will bubble furiously at first, then subside to a regular steady bubbling. Gently separate the fries in the oil with the spoon as they fry.
Fry the lentil fries in 3 to 4 batches - so that they have enough room to float in a single layer in the oil. Let them fry for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the heat of the oil and size of the fries, until they are a rich golden brown, stirring them occasionally with a slotted spoon to distribute them. Letting them get deep golden will make them crispier than if they are only a lighter shade.
Remove the lentil fries with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towel to drain.
Serve immediately with the Currywurst Dipping Sauce.
If the fries cool too much, or to reheat leftover fries, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and crisp up in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
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Margaret, these look great! I also don't deep-fry often, but these look like they're definitely worth the fuss . . . and I love the idea of having a currywurst dipping sauce!
Thanks, Stephanie. Deep-frying is a bit of extra effort and mess, but nothing beats that crispy flavour - as a special treat. As for the currywurst sauce - it must be the German in you, too! Guten Appetit!
omg lol can i but in....... WE ALWAYS deep fry our fried food !!! haha 😀
I agree that nothing tastes better than crispy fried food - sometimes nothing else will satisfy that craving!
Yay! Currywurst dipping sauce...I'll be making this just as soon as conditions allow me to deep fry outside. For some reason doing it inside bothers my eyes, making them itch and water...perhaps the miniscule droplets of escaping oil. Just another reason to welcome SPRING! Thanks too for creating lentil fries...always trying to add more fibre into the diet.
It was so uncanny, I had made this currywurst dipping sauce at my mom's and then the day after I came home you posted your request for the currywurst post! Now all I can think about is that curry ketchup flavour! Will have to make it soon!
I just wanna know wat these taste like, cuz ive had like lentil curry abit like this
and it was really tasty!!! 😀 btw they look awesome!! 🙂
I love dahl, and that recipe looks delicious! But these fries taste quite different than dahl - more savory and less spicy. We LOVE them, hope you do, too!
Thanks for visiting and have a great day!
okeeey dokey...... they do look great 🙂 oh and you hav a good day toooooooooooo 😀
These look amazing, I love red lentils! 🙂
Thanks so much - I love that lentils are so versatile and so delicious!
the fries sound amazing. what fun to see a moose! looks beautiful there.
Thanks, Dina. It was fun to watch the moose - it wasn't scared of us at all, and when I opened the window to shout at it - it just ambled slowly away! It IS beautiful countryside, with lots of wildlife, too. Cheers!
This is a super cool recipe! Very creative!
Thanks so much - you made my day!
Hi, I'm so excited to make this recipe today! I was just wondering, since I'm cooking for only myself, do you think the uncooked fries would keep if I just freeze them, then fry them up as needed? Or do you think it'd be better to make them first before freezing?
Hi Jennifer - you are on my wavelength! I actually did freeze one batch just to see how they worked, and they turned out beautifully. I cut them, and froze them flat right in the baking tin, on the parchment paper, then once frozen lifted them out (still on the parchment) and slid the whole rectangle into a freezer bag. I only froze them a few days, then thawed them completely before frying them and they were great - just like the fresh ones. I'm sure they'd be just the same even with much longer freezer time. I've also crisped in the oven, some of the leftover already-fried ones that had been refrigerated, and they turned out very nicely, so I'm guessing the cooked ones might freeze well, too. I hope you enjoy them and wish you a wonderful spring!
Glad your visit at Mom's was eventful. Meeting up with Tammy and Amelia must have brought back fond memories of raising your own children? The lentil fries look/sound so delicious; it's making me want to try them. We will let you know how they turn out. Good luck with the lentil contest.
Thank you so much, Nancy. It would have been wonderful to have you there, too. Times with family are just the best! Have a great slide into spring! XOXO
I can't wait to try these. My daughter is nutty for fries. She comes by it honestly. I won't feel as guilty feeding her these. They look and sound fantastic.
Thank you, Jenn! There's something about that delicious crispness of fries that pulls me in, too. (Kind of an addiction - but such a tasty one!) These fries are actually quite easy to make - thanks so much for the lovely comment!
the fries look soo..... good and I love the dipping sauce with greek yogurt!!
Thanks so much!