Spiced lentil and vegetable pasties

Spiced lentil and vegetable pasties sprinkled with cumin seeds.
Spiced lentil and vegetable pasties sprinkled with cumin seeds. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

Layering the lentils and vegetables in one pot and then cooking them over a low heat seals in their flavours, softening them just enough to make the perfect, pliable filling. Use a store-bought pastry if you prefer (either puff or shortcrust) but try to get a wholemeal variety for its pleasingly nutty texture and flavour.

Ingredients

For the pastry

175g plain flour

70g wholemeal flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

150g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

30ml ice-cold water

30ml cold milk

½ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

For the filling

100g red lentils

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5g (1 tsp) fresh ginger, finely chopped

30g fresh coriander, stems and leaves separated and finely chopped

3 tsp ras-el-hanout

200g carrots, grated

200g cabbage, finely sliced

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp lemon juice

1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

1 tsp cumin seeds

Method

1. To make the pastry, place the flours, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture is the consistency of fresh breadcrumbs. Combine the water, milk and vinegar in a small cup and add to the flour mix. Pulse a few times, just until the dough starts to come together, then tip onto a work surface. Knead gently and briefly just to bring it together into a ball, then wrap loosely in cling film. Press lightly to flatten into a disc, then refrigerate for between 1 and 24 hours.

2. To make the filling, place the lentils in a large bowl, then swish a couple of times in cold tap water, draining away the milky liquid. Cover with water and set aside to soak until you need them.

3. Heat the oil and butter in a medium pot which has a tight-fitting lid. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and coriander stems. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the ras-el-hanout and cook for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low.

4. Drain lentils and spoon directly on top of the onion – do not stir – then scatter the carrot evenly on top of the lentils, again without stirring. Layer the cabbage on top, sprinkle with the salt and 75ml of water. Cover tightly and allow the lentils and vegetables to steam gently for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat (the lentils should be soft and the vegetables just tender) and add the coriander leaves, pepper and lemon juice. Stir well to combine, then tip the mix out into a wide bowl to cool.

5. While the filling is cooling, roll and cut out the pastry. Lightly flour the workbench, gently tap the pastry with a rolling pin to soften it, then roll out to an even thickness of about 3mm. Using a side plate (about 18cm) as a template, cut out as many circles as you can. Re-roll the scraps to cut out more – you should have 6 altogether.

6. Fill the centre of each pastry disc with a large spoonful of the filling (about 100g), leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Brush the beaten egg around the border, then bring two sides up and pinch together to form a semicircle enclosing the filling. Crimp to seal, brush the pasties with the egg wash and sprinkle a little cumin seed on top. Place the pasties on a baking tray and refrigerate for a few minutes while the oven heats to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional), then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.