Red Lentil Rolls.

Red Lentil Koftas – Karmir Vospov Bojhojh

This Armenian version of red lentil koftas, infused with spices and dabbed with fried onion, is an authentic vegan finger food; light yet substantial.

Red Lentil Rolls.

Chronicles

Wondering what the title means? It’s the Armenian name for this dish: Karmir Vospov Bojhojh, which translates to “Red Lentil Kofta.” Bojhojh is a fascinating word with multiple definitions and meanings. Its original meaning refers to silk cocoons, and it’s no wonder since the Silk Road passed through Armenia, connecting China, Central Asia, Iran, and the Byzantine Empire’s capital, Constantinople, and beyond.

Armenia held a significant position as a crossroad and trade partner during the Middle Ages. The Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes connecting the East and West, spanned from China to the Mediterranean and passed through the Armenian Highlands. Silk production was a closely guarded secret in China, but it eventually made its way out. Once the knowledge and techniques of silk production spread to other regions along the Silk Road, silk production thrived in Armenia. The mystical and enchanting silk cocoons became highly valued and cherished.

Why do I like this Red Lentil Koftas Recipe? 

Red lentils, also known as masoor dal, are vibrant orange-crimson legumes that are popular in many cultures. These little crimson gems are packed with protein and abundant nutrition, making them an excellent choice for vegetarian and vegan diets.

One of the great advantages of red lentils is that they don’t require pre-soaking or pre-cooking. They cook quickly in boiling water, and although they lose their bright color, they retain all their substantial qualities.

The base for the bojhojh (kofta) comes together easily, and shaping the koftas is a breeze. Traditionally, these koftas are served with a refreshing herb and tomato pepper relish.

What’s wonderful about lentil koftas is that you can prepare them in advance. Make the lentil paste and shape the koftas a day ahead. Store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Have the garnish ready with all the chopped ingredients combined, and add the salt and seasoning at the last minute for the perfect finishing touch.

Red Lentil koftas on a bed of lettuce.

Grocery and Pantry list 

  • Bulgur Wheat: Bulgur wheat comes in different sizes. For this recipe, I am using the finest grade #1. It binds nicely with the lentils.
  • Onion: Finely diced, fried and caramelized.
  • Cumin: Use ground cumin seeds for the seasoning. Cumin can be strong and powerful but it goes really well with the lentils. You can substitute it with coriander seed, or add more paprika.
  • Olive oil: Good quality olive oil. You can use any oil but olive oil is my first choice for this dish.
  • Tomatoes: Diced or cubbed.
  • Cucumber: Diced or cubbed.
  • Scallions: Finely chopped
  • Parsley:
  • Lettuce: Use lettuce that has nice curved leaves. They can hold individual rolls and make the dish more presentable.

Time Required:

20 minutes cooking
10 minutes prepping
30 minutes chilling/resting

How to Make Red Lentil Kofta – Step by Step 

Cooking Red Lentil and Frying the Onions

These two steps can be done simultaneously.

Wash and drain the red lentils. They will stick and cake together.
Add the lentils, water, and salt to a medium pan and cook for 8-10 minutes.
The lentils will change their color from bright orange/red to pale yellow and slowly break open.
Add the bulgur wheat, give it a stir, cover, and cook for another 2-3 minutes and turn the heat off.

While the lentils are cooking, saute the chopped and diced onions in oil over medium heat until deep golden brown.  Add the seasoning of cumin, pepper, and paprika.

Making the Lentil Bulgur Paste

In a large bowl combine the cooked lentil-bulgur with fried onions and mix well. Season with paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Knead the paste by hand (like kneading dough) until everything looks homogenized and well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Put into a fridge to chill.

Making the Garnish

The garnish completes this dish.

The garnish completes this dish.

Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Put them in a bowl.  Chop the parsley and scallions. If the scallions are too big, slice them horizontally and then chop them up. Season with salt and pepper.

If making ahead do not season.

Forming the Lentil Koftas 

Take the ready lentil mixture from the fridge and divide them into walnut size balls. Roll them into an oblong cylinder and give a squeeze in your palm to have a finger impression on it. 

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, nestle the lentil koftas inside, and top them with tomato/cucumber and parsley/scallion garnish.

Make Ahead 

You can make the mixture a day in advance, even make and shape the koftas well in advance. arrange and add the garnish at the last minute so it stays fresh and bright.

The Best Way to Serve Red Lentil Koftas

The red lentil bojhojh are genuinely vegan. They can be served for lunch as a small bite or for dinner as an appetizer. 

Nestling lentil rolls in lettuce leaves and garnishing.

More  Recipes From Cafe Osharak

If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and let us know in the comments! We love hearing feedback from our readers and would be thrilled to know that you found the recipe to be delicious and easy to make.

And also check other truly plant based recipes.

Enjoy and let me know how you like this recipe!

Red Lentil Koftas – Karmir Vospov Bojhojh

Spice infused and onion dabbed red lentil koftas are a vegan-friendly finger food that is light and substantial.
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Red Lentil Rolls.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes

Ingredients

Lentil Kofta

  • 1 cup Red lentils
  • ½ cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Garnish

  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2-3 Scallions
  • Parsley
  • salt
  • 1 Lettuce

Instructions

Make Red Lentil Koftas

  • Wash and drain the red lentils.
  • Pour 2 cups of boiling water into a medium saucepan, add washed and drained lentils, season with salt. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the lentils break open and almost fall apart.
  • Add the fine bulgur wheat, give it a stir, cover, and cook for another 2-3 minutes and turn the heat off.
  • While the lentils cook, sauté the chopped and diced onions in oil over medium heat until deep golden brown.
  • Transfer the cooked lentil-bulgur mixture into a large bowl add the fried onions and start mixing well.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooked lentil-bulgur with fried onions and mix well.
  • Add the seasoning of cumin, pepper, and paprika. Knead the paste by hand (like kneading dough) until everything looks homogenized and well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Put into a fridge to chill.
  • Take the ready lentil mixture from the fridge and divide them into walnut size balls. Roll them into an oblong cylinder and give a squeeze in your palm to have a finger impression on it.

Making the Garnish

  • Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Put them in a bowl. Chop the parsley and scallions. Add them to the diced tomatoes.
  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, nestle the lentil kofta inside, and top them with tomato/cucumber and parsley/scallion garnish

Forming the Lentil Koftas

  • Take the ready lentil mixture from the fridge and divide them into walnut size balls. Roll them into an oblong cylinder and give them a squeeze in your palm (to leave an impression with your fingers.)
  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, nestle the lentil kofta inside, and top them with tomato/cucumber and parsley/scallion garnish.
Servings: 9
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the way I always want to eat. The recipe turned out perfect and my family enjoyed it too.

  2. I Love this recipe but I have a problem making this for my daughters who have wheat related issues. What would be a good alternative to using bulghur in this recipe, can a quinoa or buckwheat be a good substitute??

    1. That might be a really good idea to use quinoa or buckwheat, though I haven’t tried it. I use buckwheat and quinoa regularly in my cooking so I would like to try at some point and update my blog with the results.

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