Piyaju (Red Lentil Fritters)

Piyaju, Red Lentil fritters have a special spot in my heart.  I grew up eating these in my country Bangladesh, but it only came during a special time.

Not sure where this originated from, but Piyaju is a special treat made during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.  I remember walking through the busy city streets of Dhaka, holding my dad’s hand, during Ramadan and watching these amazing crispy, spicy, fragrant…. oh so fragrant, little fritters being made on the sides of the streets.  It was considered bad manner to eat during the day during the days of Ramadan, but my dad always snuck me a piece  🙂  Then once we got home, my mom would have a huge bowl, I’m talking a huge restaurant size bowl, full of crispy, fresh out of the oil fritters waiting for us to break the fast.  Oh the joy!!  I was a happy little girl 🙂

 

Serving size: 10 -12 fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentil (soaked overnight then drained)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1  medium onion, chopped
  • 2 – 4 green chili, chopped (if you can’t handle spicy just use half a chili for the flavor)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste, about 3/4 – 1 tsp
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying, about 1 1/2 cup.

Instructions:

  • Soak the red lentils overnight (at least 8 hours).  Quickly drain the lentils and add to the food processor, processor until coarsely ground.  It’s okay if it’s a little wet. ** See notes.  
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil.  Mix well and form into small patties.  I usually don’t measure them and they come out in all different shapes and forms … haha
  • Heat the oil in a shallow pan, over medium heat.  Once hot, slowly drop the patties in.
  • Fry the patties 5 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
  • Serve hot.

Note:  **Soaking the lentils makes them moist so it doesn’t crumble into powder when you process it in the food processor.  When you process the lentils, do it in pulses.  That way you can make control the consistancy and make sure that it doesn’t turn into a fine paste.

 

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