Nigel Slater’s recipe for lentil and bulgur wheat cakes

The recipe
Peel and finely chop 2 medium-sized onions. Warm 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large, deep pan to which you have a lid, add the onions and let them cook for about 15 minutes, until translucent, stirring regularly.

Add 2 tsp each of yellow mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder and 1 tsp of ground turmeric and continue cooking for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Pour in 600ml of vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then add 200g of small red lentils.

Lower the heat a little and cook for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft enough to crush, then stir in 200g of fine bulgur wheat. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and set aside.

Finely chop 15g of parsley, 10g of coriander leaves and stems and 6 leaves of mint and stir into the lentils and bulgur wheat.

Make the mixture into 6 large balls and set aside for 30 minutes in the fridge. Warm a thin pool of vegetable oil (about 3 tbsp) in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, then fry the balls for about 4 minutes on each side, watching them carefully, until golden and crisp. Serves 2

The trick
There are two kinds of bulgur wheat – coarse and fine. Make sure you use the fine one for this, otherwise they will fall apart when you cook them. Don’t ignore the resting time in the fridge. It is important for the texture of the balls.

The twist
Serve with a fresh tomato sauce: roughly chop 250g of tomatoes and put them in saucepan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with a fork, then stir in a little pepper and 1 tbsp of pomegranate molasses.