If I say these are distant cousins of falafels, you would understand better as to what am I talking about. India has a huge range when it comes to snacks, both sweet and savoury. We all love onion bhajis and samosas but I think its about time to try something new. ‘Mongode’ as they are known locally are one of the many lentil fritters popularly snacked with different chutneys and tea.
My family started making these after we had our first taste at a small street food seller. Those fritters were absolutely lip smacking, crunchy and spicy! That seller was so popular, that within minutes of setting up his stall, he used to sell out. My family often used to get these fritters from that seller but then we moved to a new house and further away and that’s when mum started making these at home. When I moved out, a sudden craving one day made me reconnect with these mung beans fritters again. I called mum, asked her recipe and that’s it! Made it for me and my mister and he was wowed by how good these were. Also, because he hadn’t had these before!
I tweaked the recipe as per the availability of ingredients and voila, it was a success! As, you know by now, I try to add as many veggies wherever possible, so it was obvious there was no escape for these fritters. This is another wonderful plant-based recipe from the collection of my family recipes that you can easily make at home with the everyday ingredients. It’s also a gluten and dairy free recipe. You can add and omit ingredients as per your liking. But I would strongly recommend using fennel, fresh or seeds whichever you have, as the flavour of fennel works magically with the lentils.
Preparation time : 8 hours (for overnight soaking) + 20-25 minutes for later prep
Cooking time : 25-30 minutes
(these times are approximate and may vary)
Makes : 25-30 pieces
1 cup=250 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml
Raw Materials for:
1 cup whole mung beans, soaked overnight
3 leaves/35 grams of cavolo nero, tough stalks removed
1 small turnip
3 fat cloves of garlic
28 grams of fresh ginger
4-5 whole spring onions, about 75 grams (both whites and greens)
3 green chillies
1 fresh fennel
1 cup fresh/frozen green peas
1 medium size potato skin on, cut into quarters
4-5 sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
½ teaspoon red chilli powder or hot paprika
Salt to taste
2 -3 tablespoons chickpea/corn flour for binding
oil for deep frying
Smoked paprika chutney
1 bunch or a good handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks both
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 green chilli
Coarse sea salt to taste
250 grams of Greek/Natural Yogurt
½ teaspoon of sumac
a food processor or a vegetable chopper
a large mixing bowl and a spoon to mix
a pan for frying and a slotted spoon
In a food processor, pulse the mung beans into a slightly coarse paste. Scrape it from the sides every so often so it all grinds evenly. Try not to add too much water otherwise it will make the batter too thin.
Scrape it out in a large mixing bowl. Then pulse cavolo nero, turnip, ginger, garlic, spring onions, green chillies, fennel, potato and coriander sprigs finely.
Mix everything along with peas and red chilli powder and heat up the oil. Do not add salt at this point.
Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium. Season the mixture with salt and using spoon drop some mixture in the hot oil as a test. It should sizzle, if it doesn’t the oil is not hot enough, so make sure its hot. If the fritter disintegrates and doesn’t hold its shape, add some chickpea/cornflour to the mung beans mixture. This will act as a binder.
Fry in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, depending on the size of your pan.
After you have fried them all, keep them warm in the oven.
For the chutney, add everything to a food processor or a blender and pulse until the result is like a nice smooth puree. Adjust the seasonings as per your taste.
Serve the warm fritters along with chutney and sumac yoghurt.
HINTS & TIPS
You can use split mung beans too but keep the skin.
Sometimes I let the mung beans sprout a little bit before grinding them.
If you can’t find fresh fennel, add a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds.
When wild garlic is in season, use that instead of garlic cloves. Wild garlic has a wonderful taste, I absolutely love it!
Although it’s supposed to be eaten as an evening snack, I sometimes don’t mind having it as a light meal.