Mercimekli, Bulgurlu Köfte (Bulgur and Lentil Patties) Recipe

These delicious, great value and wholesome bulgur and lentil patties are a real crowd pleaser – you can serve them wrapped in lettuce leaves with a squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

Sauted onions are important here, as they add oodles of flavour and moisture to the patties.

This recipe was passed down to my mother from her neighbours when we lived in Elazığ, a city at the southeast part of the country, where these delicious patties were served at ladies’ afternoon gatherings. I remember the locals being very warm and friendly, always happy to share their food.

This recipe is taken from Sebze by Ozlem Warren (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Sam A Harris.

Ingredients for Mercimekli, Bulgurlu Köfte

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus an extra drizzle
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon double concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste (biber salçası)
  • 200 g (7 oz/generous ¾ cup) red lentils, rinsed 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) hot water (for the lentils)
  • 130 g (4 oz/¾ cup) fine bulgur
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) hot water (for the fine bulgur)
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and finely chopped small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pul biber or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1–1¼ teaspoons sea salt (use less if you wish) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Small lettuce leaves, to serve lemon wedges or a drizzle of pomegranate molasses (nar ekşisi)

How to make Mercimekli, Bulgurlu Köfte

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide saut. pan over a medium–high heat, add the onions and saute for 10–12 minutes, stirring often until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the tomato paste and red pepper paste, and combine well, then set aside to cool.
  2. Place the rinsed red lentils in a medium saucepan with 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) hot water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes until fully cooked.
  3. Remove any scum that rises to the surface with a spoon and stir occasionally so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Drain off any leftover liquid – the cooked lentils will be the consistency of a thick pure. Set aside to cool in a large bowl.
  4. In the same pan, combine the bulgur with 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) hot water, cover and let the bulgur absorb the water for 5 minutes.
  5. Combine the cooked bulgur with the lentils, and add the sauted onions, spring onions and parsley. Stir in the ground cumin, pul biber (if using), and salt and pepper (the mixture needs a good seasoning; adjust the salt to your taste).
  6. Set a bowl of room-temperature water with a drizzle of olive oil near you. Slightly dampen your hands and knead the bulgur and lentil mixture for a couple of minutes until well combined – it will be a soft dough consistency.
  7. Check the seasoning and add more salt or spices to your taste, then mix well. Dampen your hands and take a large walnut-sized piece of the mixture and shape it into a patty. Place on a wide serving plate over a bed of lettuce leaves. Repeat to use up all the mixture.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges on the side or with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, as my husband prefers.
  9. Prepare ahead: These patties keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for 2–3 days.
  10. Serving suggestions: These patties accompany Turkish Şakşuka (page 108) as well as pickles beautifully. The Turkish red pepper paste, biber salçası, adds a wonderful depth of flavour to these patties.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Shop the Recipe


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Latest Articles & Recipes

  • Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

    Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

  • Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

    Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

  • Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe

    Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe