GiT Masterchef Turkish Recipes (2) | Mercimek Köftesi | Ecem Kilic



Ecem Kilic

Second GiT Masterchef in our little serial of Turkish recipes is our GiT spouse Ecem Kilic. She as well prepared het yummy lentil meatballs in our Get in Touch cooking workshop on 21st of September 2017.

Am proud to present her recipe and description below .. thanks a lot, Ecem!






In Turkey, these are called ‘mercimek koftesi’ meaning: lentil meatballs. Although these meatballs are made with bulgur and red lentils, I don’t know why their names focuses only on lentils. The meatballs are almost uncooked and served cold as an appetizer.

They are traditionally served in finger shape, also we never serve them on their own. Lettuce leaves and pickles are staple foods when you serve it. You can enrich your table with herbs and salads depending on your taste.

We have a traditional way of eating these lentil meatballs. Place one in a lettuce leaf, squeeze lemon on it and throw into your mouth. Repeat as needed!


What’s great about these lentil meatballs is that they are healthy. Red lentils are rich in protein and fiber. Bulgur is a good source of healthy carbs.

In Turkey it is tradition is to serve tea with or after them. Bulgur easily makes you feel full and if you can not dominate your appetite and eat too much, you may feel bad, have some trouble with your stomach. In this case, a well-brewed Turkish black tea is your life saver. It definitely relaxes your stomach.

Another great thing about these Turkish vegan lentil balls is that you can make them a day or two beforehand and serve on the party day. These taste even better when served after a day or two. These store really well in the refrigerator for several days.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup fine bulgur
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


1             Wash the red lentils well and put them in a large pot. Pour water over them and bring them to a simmer uncovered on medium low heat. Let it simmer until lentils are tender.

2             Once most of the water is gone, remove from heat and add in bulgur and cover. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes so that bulgur absorbs the rest of the water and gets tender.

3             Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, Add in olive oil, tomato & chilli paste, cumin, black pepper and chili powder. Stir well.

4             Transfer the mixture into the bulgur and lentil mixture. Stir well and then transfer it into a larger bowl.

5             Add in salt, parsley, green onions and lemon juice. Mix well with your hands. Taste and adjust the amount of salt to your taste.

6             Line a serving platter with lettuce leaves or other herbs. Make your meatballs dipping your fingers into some extra olive oil so that it doesn’t get sticky and place them on the lettuce leaves. Repeat until all the mixture is finished.

7             Serve them with extra lettuce leaves, herbs and pickles


You can buy the tomato paste and fine bulgur from Turkish market and the other ingredients that you can buy supermarket such as: Albert Heijn, Jumbo..


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