Lentil Cakes with Aji Sauce


Aji sauce may just be my new favorite thing. It is ridiculously simple and delicious, and perks up just about any meal. When I got two bunches of cilantro that was halfway to being coriander in the weekly CSA, I knew that an experimental aji was in order.

I suppose that I could list the ingredients with approximate amounts, but the truth is that I sort of did it on the fly, so I’m just going to throw the technique out here in the hopes that it will be enough to inspire you to do the same.
Use several bunches of cilantro/coriander, remove the thicker stems and clean well. It should total maybe 2 cups. It’s totally fine to throw it into the blender still dripping wet. Add garlic. I had green garlic, so I added about half a bulb of that. With hard garlic, I’d recommend just a clove. Add acid. Lime juice would be best, but a lighter-flavored vinegar would work in a pinch. Add olive oil, starting with just a few Tbs. You can always add more. Add salt and pepper, more salt than you imagine. Blend well. If needed, add some hot water, a couple Tbs at a time, until the leaves really start to grind up into a nice sauce. Taste, and adjust levels of oil and salt.
For the lentil cakes, I can be a bit more precise.
Lentil Cakes
1 C green or brown lentils, washed
2 1/4 C stock
2 eggs
1 slice bread, grated
1/4 onion, chopped fine
1 Tbs dried flavored breadcrumbs (Contadina is my shortcut)
1/2 C walnuts, chopped fine
Bring lentils and stock to a boil and let simmer 30 minutes until soft, and most of the water has evaporated. Meanwhile, set onions to saute over low heat. Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, and mush together. Scoop and shape into patties, and place on a well-oiled baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until cakes are set. Serve with aji sauce.
I’m dead certain that these cakes would be far superior fried, but I have zero skill with frying. Maybe one of you can try it out and tell me about your results?
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About christianathomas

I'm a working mother of two trying to make eating well fit into our hectic lives. I also used to own a completely chaotic bakery. Follow me for tips and tricks on how to get more whole foods into your diet.
This entry was posted in cilantro, green garlic, lentils. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lentil Cakes with Aji Sauce

  1. Jet says:

    I am so glad you posted the lentil cakes. This sounds perfect to me.

  2. Brad says:

    I have to say, these are pretty good! And I mean that in a midwestern way.I love the Aji, but I would back off from my one clove of raw garlic next time. I thought it overpowered the cakes. And with the lentil cakes, there were certain divergences from the recipe. I didn't notice the spiced bread crumbs until mixing stage, and I had never heard of Contadina. Resisting the urge to run to a neighbor, I did a little internet research and went (puzzled) to the cupboard for some tomato paste. Thinking again, I did a little more research and ended up compensating with more bread crumbs, a pinch of fresh thyme, and a dash of whatever spices. The only walnuts I had were wild CA black walnuts picked long ago from a tree in the wash near my house. They worked, and the cakes tasted great!Next time, though, I'm going to look for a mold to clean up the shape and cut down on certain resemblances. Too many raised eyebrows and giggles.

  3. Brad, I love that you tried this! Contadina is just what you guessed. It is a brand of breadcrumb that has a bunch of dried spices in it. I'm not proud of using it, but there it is.As for the garlic, it's too bad that it overwhelmed. 1 Clove was really just a guess based on what I had seen in other recipes, as I was using green which is much milder. I suspect that it might be even better with no garlic and a portion of a jalapeno?

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