Masala Lentil And Sweet Potato Croquettes Recipe

When it's time to decide on a snack or appetizer, you really can't go wrong with something crunchy that comes with a dipping sauce. If you're looking to try something beyond your typical mozzarella sticks, tater tots, or jalapeño poppers, whip up a batch of these flavor-packed (and vegetarian) croquettes. "This recipe is an Indian-inspired twist on a Japanese-style potato croquette, using Indian spices and lentils and Japanese panko as the breading," recipe developer Rika Hoffman says. "The croquettes themselves have a balance of sweet and spicy flavors, while the cilantro chutney initially has a cooling effect on the tongue that's followed by a burst of heat from the raw green chilies."

Those who possess the genetic predisposition to dislike cilantro have probably noticed this herb in the name of the recipe's dipping sauce. Fear not: "For the cilantro-averse, go with a different type of chutney, like a tomato-chili chutney," Hoffman advises. Here's how to make these crispy, aromatic snacks — if you've deep-fried anything before and cooked lentils or sweet potatoes, it'll be a snap. If you haven't, this recipe still makes it easy.

Gather your ingredients for masala lentil and sweet potato croquettes

For this recipe, you'll need sweet potatoes, red lentils, an onion, panko breadcrumbs, egg, pepper, salt, garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin seeds, and either chickpea flour or all-purpose flour. "If you have besan (chickpea flour) on hand, go ahead and use it, but all-purpose flour would work just as well. Both of them will help form a crispy crust along with the panko," Hoffman says. To make the chutney, you'll need cilantro, cumin seeds, lemon juice, pepper, salt, minced garlic, minced green chili (ideally Thai chili), and plain yogurt. 

Step 1: Prep the oven

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 2: Bake the sweet potatoes

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork or small knife and bake on a lined baking sheet for 45–60 minutes, or until tender.

Step 3: Make the chutney

For the cilantro yogurt chutney, mix yogurt, cilantro, chilies, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, lemon juice, black pepper, and ground cumin seeds. Grind with a mortar and pestle or blender. Refrigerate.

Step 4: Cook the lentils

Wash ½ cup of masoor dal and soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid, add the lentils to a small pot, and add ½ cup water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.

Step 5: Cook the onion

Add oil to a frying pan over medium heat and saute the chopped onion until translucent.

Step 6: Toast the spices

Add cumin seeds, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the spices are toasted and fragrant.

Step 7: Combine the lentils and spices

Drain the masoor dal, then add it to the pan with the onions and spices. Cook for 2–3 minutes to allow the water to evaporate.

Step 8: Make the mashed potatoes

Mash the roasted sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.

Step 9: Create your croquette mixture

Add the cooked dal and the onion-spice mix to the bowl of mashed sweet potato. Continue mashing until the mixture is homogeneous.

Step 10: Form the croquettes

Using clean hands, form the mixture into 2- to 3-inch-long oval patties.

Step 11: Add the breading

Coat each patty in besan or all-purpose flour. Dip the patties in the beaten egg, then coat with panko.

Step 12: Heat the oil

Heat a deep pot of oil over medium-high heat.

Step 13: Deep fry the croquettes

Deep fry the croquettes in small batches for about 2 minutes each, or until golden brown.

Step 14: Serve with chutney and enjoy

Serve the croquettes with cilantro yogurt chutney.

Can you use a different type of lentil for the masala lentil and sweet potato croquettes?

There are many types of lentils out there, and it might be tempting to reach for whatever you have in order to avoid an additional trip to the store. "I chose masoor dal for this recipe as it's a quick-cooking, split lentil with a vibrant, orange color to complement the sweet potatoes," Hoffman says. "Another type of split lentil, such as moong dal, could also be used, as well as chickpeas or chana dal (split chickpeas). Feel free to mix it up, but steer clear of the darker-colored lentils, which might muddle the color of the croquette filling." Red lentils, the recommended option here, are also typically the best choice for curries and soups due to how soft they get when cooked. Just make sure not to mix new and old lentils, as they'll cook unevenly and throw off the texture.

What should you serve with the masala lentil and sweet potato croquettes?

You're probably also wondering what other types of dishes to serve alongside these croquettes, since they're more of a snack than an entree — especially if you're cooking for a crowd. "These would be a fantastic vegetarian appetizer or side dish paired with any number of Indian dishes, from baingan bharta to aloo gobi," which Hoffman says are "also plant-based." Baingan bharta is a dish made from eggplant that's grilled or roasted until smoky and then mashed and combined with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other seasonings. If you like baba ghanoush, you'll probably be a fan of baingan bharta, as well. Aloo gobi is an entree combining potatoes, cauliflower, and plenty of aromatic spices — there are sweet potatoes in the croquettes, so you might as well eat some regular potatoes while you're at it.

And, hey, if you're feeling extra lazy, you could even make the croquettes yourself and then order the rest of the food from your local take-out spot. As long as everyone's full and happy, we doubt anyone will mind.

Masala Lentil And Sweet Potato Croquettes Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
These masala lentil and sweet potato croquettes borrow cooking techniques from Japan and flavorings from India for a spicy, crispy appetizer all their own.
Prep Time
25
minutes
Cook Time
1.25
hours
Servings
13
croquettes
lentil croquettes with green dipping sauce
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the cilantro yogurt chutney
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 small green chili, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • For the croquettes
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
  • ½ cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil, plus 4 cups for frying
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup besan (chickpea flour) or all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork or small knife and bake on a lined baking sheet for 45–60 minutes, or until tender.
  3. For the cilantro yogurt chutney, mix yogurt, cilantro, chilies, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, lemon juice, black pepper, and ground cumin seeds. Grind with a mortar and pestle or blender. Refrigerate.
  4. Wash ½ cup of masoor dal and soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid, add the lentils to a small pot, and add ½ cup water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Add oil to a frying pan over medium heat and saute the chopped onion until translucent.
  6. Add cumin seeds, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the spices are toasted and fragrant.
  7. Drain the masoor dal, then add it to the pan with the onions and spices. Cook for 2–3 minutes to allow the water to evaporate.
  8. Mash the roasted sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.
  9. Add the cooked dal and the onion-spice mix to the bowl of mashed sweet potato. Continue mashing until the mixture is homogeneous.
  10. Using clean hands, form the mixture into 2- to 3-inch-long oval patties.
  11. Coat each patty in besan or all-purpose flour. Dip the patties in the beaten egg, then coat with panko.
  12. Heat a deep pot of oil over medium-high heat.
  13. Deep fry the croquettes in small batches for about 2 minutes each, or until golden brown.
  14. Serve the croquettes with cilantro yogurt chutney.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 187
Total Fat 11.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 12.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 2.4 g
Sodium 183.3 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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