• 2 cups red lentils (uncooked, or dal)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (powder)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • salt
  • black onion seeds


  1. Rinse the lentils, and put in a pan with enough water to come up to about 2cm / 1 inch above the lentils. Add 1 tsp. of salt. Bring up to a boil, then lower to a simmer; cook until the lentils are tender and mushy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain off any excess water.
  2. In the meantime, put the chopped onions, garlic, spices and olive oil in a frying pan. Let it just barely simmer over a low heat until the mixture is a golden brown, and the onions are softened. Add the brown rice near the end.
  3. Mix everything together and let cool until you can handle it. At this point, the mixture should resemble a thick, almost dry paste that you can gather up with your fingers and form into balls. If it’s too wet, cook the mixture over a very low heat until some moisture evaporates. If it’s too dry and falls apart, add a little water until it forms a paste.
  4. Heat up an oven to 180°C / 360°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking liner.
  5. Make ready a plate with mixed sesame seeds and nigella seeds (a ratio of about 2 to 1 is good). Form the lentil mixture into small balls. Dip lightly into a bowl of water, then roll in the seed mixture. (You can omit the seeds if you prefer too.)
  6. Put the balls on the lined baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the surface is a bit crispy.
  7. You can eat them as-is, or with a yogurt dipping sauce (use a soy yogurt to keep this vegan).
  8. Notes: The original recipe called for the addition of bulgur wheat for texture, but I’ve used brown rice instead. This makes these lentil snacks gluten-free. Only red or hulled lentils will do here. Green lentils will be too hard and will not have the correct texture. Hulled lentils do have less fiber than unhulled, but are still a great source of protein. Some fiber is added back with the brown rice.

NutritionView more



Calories70Calories from Fat20
Total Fat2g3%
Saturated Fat0g0%
Trans Fat
Calories from Fat20
Total Carbohydrate10g3%
Dietary Fiber4g16%
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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