can leftover lentil mush tranform into a beautiful meal?
February 12, 2020 3:06 PM   Subscribe

I needed to use up several CSA leeks and had lentils on hand, so on Monday, I cooked a double batch of something like mujadara. It's, like, fine, I guess? Edible, especially doctored up with hot sauce. But I've eaten it for five meals already and there's still so. much. left. What should I do with the leftovers? (That's pretty much it, but a bit more inside...)

I modified this recipe (modifications were: brown rice because it's all I had and garam masala instead of the spices listed because, again, that's what I had). Definitely overcooked the rice so it's a bit mushier than I would prefer. Would love to transform these leftovers into something else, ideally something I can freeze and eat later.

My vague ideas:
-Some kind of loaf?
-Some kind of burger? Seem a bit too, uh, moist to just fry up as a patty, but maybe with something added.
-Could I add more liquid and make a soup? Would it be gross?

Complicating factors: I'm pescatarian but trying to eliminate dairy. I'm a mediocre cook, as in regularly spend WAY too much time to end up with something WAY too blah. So the more idiot-proof the suggestion/recipe, the better. Any ideas?
posted by adastra to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This kind of mush (when it's just too wet for a burger) can be shallow fried like something halfway between a pancake and a fritter.

In times when I've stretched food much further than it should have, from necessity, the combination of spices & texture was something to look forward to.

Works best if you make them juuuust thick enough to flip carefully.
posted by mce at 3:20 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]

Concur: fry. But first, freeze it. Wait until the very thought of it doesn't fill you with woe. Then defrost, mix with yummy seasonings and plenty of chopped green onions, form into croquettes, and fry, fry, fry. If you eat eggs, mix in a couple eggs to bind. If not, whatever people use instead of eggs to bind. Maybe roll in panko.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:23 PM on February 12 [21 favorites]

Roll them into balls (add some bread crumbs if you need to). Fry a few and freeze the rest. Make malai kofta using cashew cream instead of dairy.
posted by mezzanayne at 3:24 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]

Use it as filling for pasties / hand pies / samosas
posted by runincircles at 3:25 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]

Doctor it up with zaatar.
posted by amtho at 4:19 PM on February 12

I think that might make a good quiche crust. You'd press a thin layer of the mixture in a pie crust pan and bake as a shell first, to lose some of the mushiness (before adding any quiche mixture and baking the dish). You could prep this crust-only part now, and freeze it.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:16 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]

1. you can fancy up the seasoning with some smoked paprika, more curry, or ginger. Or other spices you know will go with garam masala. do this for a serving you're going to eat.

2. top with salsa (consider a peach or pineapple salsa) and sour cream; OR a fried egg with the yolk still liquid.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:18 PM on February 12

I think a store-bought broth or soup with a compatible flavor (boxed or canned) should provide enough flavor such that you can stir in a serving or two of what you cooked and it wouldn't be gross.

Stir-frying (like fried rice) with generous amounts of oil would probably taste better than just reheating in the microwave. I also like to add soy sauce to my lentil dishes that come out below-expectation.
posted by bread-eater at 5:39 PM on February 12

I am also pro-fritter/cutlet. Throw in an egg or two to make the mix tackier and less likely to crumble, not sure you'll need breadcrumbs because of the rice.

Vital wheat gluten is also great for this use, if you can get some. Expensive, but it will allow you to transform yr weird mush into something like:this . She has photos of the consistency you are going for. Shallow fry in a pan. Then, if I were you, sandwich time with hot-sauce-mayo, fat slices of tomato, red onion, and lettuce. Yum!
posted by athirstforsalt at 6:01 PM on February 12

Tacos. I made lentil mush by accident. I was going for more texture because I read it was a good substitute for ground beef. My plan was to make tacos with it and even though it was mushy it still tasted great. Just add some chipotle, cumin, whatever taco seasoning you like. Add all of the other taco fixins and you're good to go.
posted by mokeydraws at 6:10 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Frying as a Fritter/Johnny cake is my best bet.

But if that doesn’t sound awesome, consider adding a cooked potato and more fat and whipping it into an airy mash with a mixer.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:57 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Use heated up in burritos with lots of fresh veggies: tomato, green pepper, carrots, Napa cabbage, red onion, salad greens. Cheese if you eat dairy. Bonus add so hot cayenpepper with a drizzle of sour cream. Pan Cooke tortillas are way way better than regular cooked tortilla and so easy. So good.
posted by waving at 7:09 PM on February 12

Bake it with puff pastry on top.
posted by geegollygosh at 4:57 AM on February 13

You could make a curry or a stew and just put this in the pot to thicken it up, and so it would be in the background and not something predominant. You also could make it a filling for a savory puff pastry.
posted by yueliang at 6:56 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

Just freeze it and get it back out when you're not sick of it. Don't be a hero. :)
posted by SinAesthetic at 9:34 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

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