S. H. Fernando Jr.'s Spicy Lentil Fritters

S. H. Fernando Jr.'s Spicy Lentil Fritters

[Photograph: Susan Now]

S.H. Fernando Jr., author of Rice & Curry, calls these Spicy Lentil Fritters an Asian take on falafel, and that's a spot-on call. Subbing out chickpeas for yellow split peas makes for fritters with a great bite and the chiles, onion, curry leaves, ginger, and fennel seeds give these guys beguiling flavor, one that will have you snacking on these little fritters until every last one is gone.

What Worked: Split peas have a toothsomeness that carries over even after being buzzed in the food processor, giving these a great crunch.

What Didn't: No complaints here, although the scent of soaking yellow split peas wasn't a favorite.

Suggested Tweaks: Chiles vary greatly when it comes to heat; when testing out this recipe three jalapeños wasn't quite enough heat to break through the split pea batter. Next time we might amp it up with bird chiles.

Reprinted with permission from Rice & Curry by S.H. Fernando Jr.. Copyright © 2011. Published by Hippocrene Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:Makes about 20 fritters
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes plus 6 hours soaking time


  • 2 cups (500 ml) dry yellow split peas
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 to 5 green chilies, chopped
  • 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. 1.

    Soak split peas in water for at least 6 hours.

  2. 2.

    Wash and grind split peas to a smooth, thick paste.

  3. 3.

    Mix in all other ingredients except the oil.

  4. 4.

    Form mixture into golf-ball-size balls. Cup each ball in both hands and flatten slightly so the middle is thicker than the edges.

  5. 5.

    Deep fry in oil heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until golden brown. Remove to newspaper or paper towel to drain excess oil and cool slightly. They can be served hot or at room temperature.