I really like the five-grain croquettes in Peter Berley’s cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen (especially the amaranth), but Derek was never a big fan of them. Since he’s out of town this week, I thought it would be a good chance to finally try Berley’s other croquette recipe from the same cookbook. This recipe is a bit different in that it uses fewer grains (only white rice, quinoa, and millet), but adds in red lentils, sesame seeds, and chopped sweet potato, plus the seasoning is a little different (garlic, ginger, celery, scallions, and parsley).
I followed the recipe exactly except I used yellow lentils (the thin, hulled ones) instead of red lentils, and I baked the croquettes instead of frying them. When I was done making the mixture it seemed too wet. The recipe says to form croquettes and then dredge them in arrowroot before frying them. But I thought the batter would still be too wet, so instead of the arrowroot I mixed in a bit of gluten flour. The batter was still quite wet but I could form it into slightly sloppy croquettes. I baked the croquettes on an oiled cookie sheet in a very hot oven until the outside was lightly browned and crisp. The crisping step was critical. The mixture before baking was kind of soggy and unappealing, but hot out of the oven the crispy croquettes were much more appetizing. Ahra joined me for lunch and said she quite liked the croquettes. I wasn’t as impressed. I thought that they were fine, but the flavor was a bit muddled. I couldn’t taste the ginger, or the sweet potato, or the sesame seeds. Everything kind of just blended together into a fine but unexciting flavor. The recipe worked out okay, but I don’t think I’ll make it again. But I might use this recipe as inspiration, and try to come up with my own version of a vegetable, lentil, and grain croquette.
Berley says to sere the croquettes with a tangy, Indian-spiced yogurt sauce. I didn’t try his recipe, but the combination sounds reasonable.