These spiced lentil cakes really are delicious. Serve with a home-made tomato sauce.

Serves 8 (Makes 24)

 1 lb (450 g) whole green-brown lentils
 2 medium carrots
 2 medium onions
 4 oz (110 g) butter
 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
 1 large green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 ½ teaspoon ground mace
 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
 1 dessertspoon chopped fresh parsley
 4 teaspoons tomato purée
 Salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the coating:
 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 4 oz (110 g) fresh, fine breadcrumbs
 groundnut or other flavourless oil for shallow-frying


Place the lentils in a large saucepan with 2 pints (1.2 litres) water. Bring them to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until they are mushy. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the carrots and onions. Then, heat the butter in a large frying pan and soften the onions, garlic and carrots in it for 5 minutes; now add the chopped pepper and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

Next, season the lentils and tip them into a bowl to mash them to a pulp with a fork – but not too smooth. Now mix in the vegetables, cayenne, mace, herbs and tomato purée and leave the mixture to cool. Then divide and shape the mixture into 24 small rounds. Dip the chilladas first into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs, and shallow-fry in batches in about ¼ inch (5 mm) of oil for about a minute on each side or till golden. Drain on kitchen paper before serving.

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