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Monday, March 2, 2009

Lentil Firecrackers

Back to blogging with a bang! 

Note: These are not actually my firecrackers, because I stupidly did not take a picture. But these are pretty much what they looked like, thanks to Harris Gaber and the flickr creative commons license.        

These lovely lentil dumplings were inspired, both in name and flavah by the excellent Rangoon Burmese restaurant in Philly's Chinatown.  It has probably been a year since I've eaten there, but they were remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that I had one of those socially-awkward foodie moments, where I had every intention of making witty and intelligent dinner conversation with Ann's out of town guests, but spent the entire time talking about how impressed I was that the appetizers were simultaneously crispy and chewy. I really did want to be able to add in some hilarious and insightful comment about the legitimacy of 9-11 conspiracies, but was reduced to "mmmmmm....fried bean mush". 

I'm committed to using up the odd assortment of legumes and grains that I have apparently stockpiled in my apartment for nuclear winter, so when I had to think of something to do with my 10 lbs of red lentils other than make mjeddera, some sort of lentil dumpling or samosa creation came to mind immediately. While Rangoon's firecrackers are more like samosas, my hesitancy to deep fry had me thinking that a pan friend wonton purse might provide the perfect home for a simple but tasty red lentil pottage. 

I'm slowly developing a list of healthy-ish food items that can be assembled ahead of time and frozen for quick weeknight meals when I literally have 15 minutes to eat before I run to one meeting or another. These fit the bill perfectly! Which is good, because the only other thing I could think of was burritos, and was feeling discouraged by my lack of imagination. Leave ideas for me in the comments! 

Lentil Firecrackers

4 cups red lentils
1 c. coconut milk 
1 bunch scallions, chopped 
1 bunch cilantro 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
hot pepper to taste [cayanne or jamaican red] 
curry powder
salt pepper
wonton wrappers
canola or grape seed oil for frying

Boil lentils in water until soft. While they are cooking, saute garlic, then onion and cilantro in a pretty big pan or wok and sweat with spices. When lentils are done, add them to the pan,  pour in coconut milk, give it a stir and let simmer until it is a thick porridge. Taste it, see if it needs more of a kick, then add more spices as necessary.  

Put about 1 tablespoon in each wrapper and fold over, sealing with a flour and water paste. Pan fry in about 1/4 inch of hot oil. 

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