Fried Lentil Knishes
This is a savory twist on the sweet sufganiya, or doughnut, ubiquitous in Israel during Chanukah. As a vegetarian, I always look for recipes that can add protein to my diet. The combination of lentil and wheat flour here is that of grain and legumes that is necessary for creating whole protein. Mixin’ Traditions, I combine the traditional knish dough shell with lentils spiced with hawaiij, the Yemenite spice mix that is a close relative of Indian curry. Serve as is or with tahini or some plain yogurt or tzatziki.
- Lentil Filling
- ¾ cup green lentils
- 1½ cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small (about ¾ cup) onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1½ teaspoons hawaiij or curry powder
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Dash paper flakes or to taste
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons cold water
- Sunflower or safflower oil for frying (enough to fill a pan 2 inches deep)
- Frying thermometer
- Place lentils and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil, add salt, lower flame and simmer with pot partially covered until all the water is absorbed. While lentils are cooking, sauté onion in olive oil until partially caramelized, add pressed garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in hawaiij or curry, add cilantro, stir and turn off the flame. Add the cooked lentils to the onion and mix well to incorporate.
- Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and stir to combine. Add the eggs and oil and start mixing on low. Add the water by the spoonful and mix until combined. Continue to mix on low for 2 more minutes. The dough will become soft and easy to handle.
- Fill a pot with oil 2 inches deep. To save on oil, I use an 8-inch pot, which accommodates 3 to 4 knishes at a time. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees.
- While the oil is heating up, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball into a 5-inch disk, place a heaping tablespoon of lentil mix in the center, gather the edges of the disk above the lentil mound and pinch to seal. Place the balls on a sheet of parchment paper until you fry.
- Carefully, lower each knish seam-side down into the oil with a slotted spoon. Fry 3 to 4 knishes at a time for 5 to 6 minutes, turning the knishes over midway. Keep an eye on the thermometer and lower the flame when the temperature goes over 350 degrees. Place on a paper towel to drain. You can also prepare ahead, freeze and warm up in the oven before serving.