Crispy Lentil Fritters by Chef Michael Smith

Prep Time: 1 Hours

Total time: 1 Hours 10 Minutes

Servings: 6

You can see a lot from the top of the world's tallest building, especially the incredible building boom that's defined Dubai in recent years. Look closely from the Burj Khalifa observation deck and you'll find a ski hill in the desert, a pair of man-made islands resembling palm trees, award winning architecture and maybe you'll even spot lots of tiny little Ferraris and Lamborghinis racing around. What you might not notice are the lentils on menus all over town. In fact, 163 stories straight down, at the base of the tower, they play a starring role on the menu at Armani Amal, the best restaurant in Dubai. Chef Vijay Anand loves lentils and I love his deceptively simple recipe for delightful crispy fritters. This recipe is from the Dubai, United Arab Emirates webisode of Lentil Hunter with Chef Michael Smith.

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Chef Michael Smith

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    1 cup (250 mL) split red lentils

    1 cup (250 mL) water

    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

    1 freshly minced onion

    1 Tbsp (30 mL) peeled ginger root, finely chopped (about 1 inch)

    1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly chopped cilantro

    3 cups (750 mL) vegetable oil for frying


  1. Stir raw red lentils, water and salt together. Cover and soak them for an hour or two. They’ll rehydrate and soften considerably as they absorb almost all of the moisture.
  2. Transfer lentils, water and onion to food processor and puree them until they’re smooth. Add ginger and cilantro and process just long enough to stir the works together. You can make this batter in advance and refrigerate until needed. The batter may seem wet but it will hold together as you fry it.
  3. Pour about 3 inches of oil into a large soup pot or shallow skillet and bring to a steady 365° F, using a frying or candy thermometer to accurately judge the temperature. Alternatively, fire up your countertop deep fryer.
  4. Using two spoons – the first to scoop, the second to release the batter – gently drop dollops of batter into the hot oil. Stir gently until fritters cook through and are lightly browned. Remove fritters from oil, strain and rest them briefly on folded paper towel to absorb extra oil.