This recipe is actually from the Spring part of A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, but what the heck - why not bring a little spring in? This recipe consists of 3 parts, the croquettes, the raita and the salad. As a whole, the recipe looks a little complicated, but each part is actually very simple and comes together quite quickly. It just takes a little planning since the lentil-rice mixture needs to be chill for 2 hours before hitting the pan.
The lentil-rice croquettes are seasoned with ginger and curry, but any combination of Indian-inspired spices would work well here. The croquettes were very good, but I thought they could use just a little more flavor and a little bit of heat (especially as a contrast to the cool raita). The raita is a simple combination of cucumber, garlic and yogurt.
What really surprised me though, was the romaine-mango salad. It's simple combination of lettuce, mango, lime juice, EVOO and salt. I could have eaten an entire bowl of this salad alone - there was just something about the fresh, simple flavors that really won me over and reminded me that sometimes less is more.
The only thing that I did not like about this dish is how it's constructed. You pile the salad, croquettes and raita on a pita - it looks pretty, but then what? It's difficult to eat - trying to cut through the toasted pita with a fork and knife while also trying not to turn everything into a big pile of mush. I would serve the toasted pita on the side next time - brush it with a little olive oil and season it a bit - it just didn't work as a base for me. Or - stuff it all inside the pita as one would do with falafel - that might work as well.
I feel indebted to this recipe for showing me you don't have to be afraid to simply let the flavor of fresh ingredients stand on their own and hopefully I will be able to incorporate this principle into my cooking more and more.