This dish was a staple in my home growing up and always showed up during family gatherings at the holidays. As a kid, I remember them being referred to as "football kofti" as they look like little footballs.
It is a simple, peasant food and, I believe to be considered a Turkish dish. I do mine classically simple like my Grandmother, Aunts and Mother did but there is certainly opportunity to dress this up if you would like.
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1 cup fine bulgur (#1) (can be found in most grocery stores these days)
1 medium onion halved and sliced very thinly
1/8 cup olive oil*
salt to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
chopped parsley (optional)
chopped green onion (optional)
Put water and lentils in a 3 qt pot, bring to a boil and simmer until tender (approximately 10-15 minutes). Add bulgur, remove from heat, cover and let stand until bulgur is soft. Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and saute until tender but not browned. When lentil and bulgur mixture has softened add onion and oil mixture.
When cool add salt, green onion and parsley if desired. With one hand shape about 1 Tbsp of mixture into 1 1/2"x2"x3/4" pieces with tapered ends (they should look like little footballs). Use cold water to moisten hands so that pieces do not stick to your fingers. Arrange on plate, and garnish with parsley, green onion or paprika if desired.
Serve at room temperature.
*You may adjust the amount of oil to compensate for the moistness of the kofti. If you find them a bit dry simply add a little more olive oil and mix until you achieve the desired moisture level.