Indian Red Lentil Falafel

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Indian Red Lentil Falafel

Instead of chickpeas, this recipe uses lentils to make an Indian spiced falafel. Crispy on the outside, bursting with spice on the inside. Serve with mango chutney and/or raita to make it complete.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 20 pieces ServingsServings


  • 1 cup (200 g) dried red lentils, picked through for stones and debris
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 small green chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Grapeseed oil, for frying
  • Mango Chutney or Raita for serving

Mango Chutney

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 1-in (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 very ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons raisins


  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups (500 g) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons green onions (scallions), trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Wash the lentils in a bowl of cold water and keep changing the water until it runs clear. (This is very important or the lentils will get scummy.) Soak the lentils in fresh water for at least 2 hours. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Process the lentils, onion, garlic, fresh coriander leaves, chili, ginger, salt, and cumin in a food processor until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour at least ½ in (1.25 cm) of oil into a large skillet and set it over medium high heat. Carefully drop the batter, 1 tablespoon at a time, into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden. Work in batches if necessary. Use a wire mesh spider skimmer to transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with the chutney or raita.

Mango Chutney

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  2. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped mango and raisins, reduce the heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until softened with consistency of a jam. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool before storing in a sealed jar.


  1. Place the chopped cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let it stand for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain. Pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels.
  2. In the meantime, dry-roast the cumin seeds for about a minute, until they pop, in a small skillet set over medium-high heat. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium-size bowl.
  4. To bruise the cumin seeds, place them on a work surface, place the blade of a large chef’s knife on top of them and press down on it with the heel of your hand to crush them lightly. Sprinkle the crushed seeds over the cucumber-yogurt mixture.
  5. Serve chilled, garnish with the mint.