Red Lentil and Potato Cakes with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

by spiceaholic on September 29, 2015

Savory Red Lentil and Potato Cakes with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

I’m a bit proud of myself for making these.  Sure, making potato cakes isn’t that hard to do, so why am I making a big deal about it?

Let’s just say my time has been otherwise occupied recently. Meet Baby N! He made his debut in August.

Baby N

I think he’s a pretty good reason! Somehow he managed to nap long enough for me to make these and take photos of them. I think that was a fluke though!

When my fellow Stonyfield Clean Plate Club members and I were offered the chance to come up with recipes combining either red lentils or orca beans from Bob’s Red Mill with Stonyfield Organic Greek yogurt, I was really craving comfort food. I based these off my Spiced Black Bean and Potato Cakes, which are a twist on Bengali aloo chops – spicy fried potato croquettes with a meat filling.

The red lentils are cooked in a small amount of water so that they cook down into a thick paste, which serves as the binding for these potato cakes. The cakes can be dipped into egg and coated in bread crumbs before pan-frying, but I think they are fine without doing so. I’ve approximated the measurements for the spices below, I was playing around with the spices and think these are best adjusted to one’s taste.

Savory Red Lentil and Potato Cakes with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

Red Lentil and Potato Cakes with Harissa Yogurt Sauce


  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled, skinned, and mashed – approximately 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 10 oz. water
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • harissa to taste
  • salt to taste


Bring lentils, ginger and garlic pastes, and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Once water comes to a boil, keep an eye on the pan and stir frequently as lentils cook for about 10 minutes. Lentils will soften and mixture should begin to thicken. Lower heat as needed and continue to stir until lentil mixture begins to dry out and form a thick paste. You’ll get approximately 1 cup of this mixture. Combine with the mashed potatoes and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, heat up 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat and then add chopped onion, cooking and stirring for 5-10 minutes, until translucent.  Take the spices and add some water until it forms a thick paste.  Add spice paste to onions and stir to combine.  Now add the lentil-potato mixture and coat with onion and spice mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Take pan off heat and let mixture cool completely. I placed the mixture into a bowl and refrigerated overnight, but you don’t have to do this.

Once spiced lentil-potato mixture has cooled, use your hands to create little cakes – I got about 6 cakes. If you want, dip in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, but I skipped this.

Pan-fry the cakes in oil until golden brown on both sides.

To prepare the harissa yogurt sauce, add harissa to Greek yogurt to your desired level of heat.  Add salt as needed to taste.

Serve red lentil and potato cakes with the harissa yogurt sauce dolloped on top or as a dipping sauce.



Tenderest Cardamom Pancakes

by spiceaholic on May 29, 2015


I’ve happily eaten yogurt for many years, but it has only been within the past few that I’ve transitioned from being merely a yogurt consumer to a yogurt user as well.  You see, it took me a while to appreciate how versatile yogurt is and how it can be used in so many different ways.  But now that I know, I love trying out new yogurt tricks!

I have to say, becoming part of Stonyfield’s Clean Plate Club has given me so many opportunities to play with yogurt and I love how I’ve challenged myself to come up with some interesting recipes.  For this month’s challenge, we were given the opportunity to review Cheryl Sternman Rule’s new book Yogurt Culture, which is an ode to yogurt and its history and presence in so many cultures, providing 115 recipes from around the world from different categories such as “Flavor,” “Sip,” “Slurp,” “Bake,” etc. I’ve already bookmarked the Afghan Beef Noodle Soup with Yogurt (Aush) and Kulfi (saffron-pistachio frozen yogurt) as recipes I’d like to try.  I loved flipping through the book and drooling over both the recipes and photography – it’s quite clear that Rule spent quite a bit of time researching for this book and I appreciate her effort.

Yogurt Culture

(photo credit: Ellen Silverman)

We were given the opportunity to make one of the recipes from the book or come up with our own.  Knowing how busy I would be with finals, getting ready for the baby (August is sneaking up fast!), and social plans I opted to try the recipe for Tenderest Cardamom Pancakes from the book.  I love cardamom and I liked the use of yogurt in the pancake recipe instead of buttermilk.  The recipe makes a LOT of pancakes, 30-40, so you can either keep any extra batter in the fridge for a couple days or reduce the recipe by half.

So not only did I get an amazing new cookbook to add to my collection, but OXO was a sponsor for this month and sent us kitchen tools that paired up with the recipe we were trying. Since I was making pancakes, I received a mini silicone flexible pancake turner plus a “bonus” gift of a butter dish!


Back to the pancakes.  As promised by the title, these are indeed tender pancakes. I have to admit to adding a little cinnamon to the batter and since my cousin is visiting me, I added some chocolate and cinnamon chips as well just for fun! We gobbled up quite a few of the pancakes and still have some leftover! I still need to work on my pancake-cooking skills as evidenced by my pictures, but I will say that the pancake turner was the perfect size for flipping the pancakes!


I hope you enjoy the pancake recipe and that it makes you want to search for this cookbook to add to your collection! You won’t regret it.

*Disclosure: Stonyfield Organic provided me with samples of their Greek yogurt and a copy of Yogurt Culture as part of their Clean Plate Club. OXO provided me with the mini silicone flexible pancake turner as part of this month’s campaign. All opinions are my own.


(photo credit: Ellen Silverman)

Tenderest Cardamom Pancakes

Recipe from Yogurt Culture used with permission from Cheryl Sternman Rule


Yogurt transforms a simple whisk-up batter into the lightest, fluffiest, tenderest, and most magical pancakes imaginable. Any extra batter keeps nicely in a covered jar in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups plain yogurt (not Greek) or whey

1½ cups milk, preferably whole or 2%

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus additional butter for the griddle

Maple syrup and/or additional yogurt, for serving (optional)


MIX THE BATTER. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt and milk until smooth. Then whisk in the eggs, followed by the butter. Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry. Switch to a large silicone spatula and combine thoroughly, sweeping the sides and bottom of the bowl; do not overmix. The batter will be a bit lumpy but should have no powdery pockets. Set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

COOK AND SERVE. Heat a cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. When a drop of water on the griddle sizzles and evaporates, coat the griddle with butter. Dragging your spoon or scoop in a round (this creates thinner pancakes), distribute about 3 tablespoons batter per pancake onto the griddle. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until deep golden. Work in batches, slicking the griddle with more butter as you go. Serve with maple syrup and additional yogurt, if desired.




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