Sunday, March 1, 2015

East Indian Veggie Burgers

A signature dish is “you on a plate,” as Gordon Ramsey likes to say. Not necessarily a unique food type, it is your spin on any dish that brings smiles to those who enjoy it, and repeated requests for copies of the recipe.

East Indian Veggie Burgers are my signature dish. The recipe is below, along with the cover photo of a commemorative book that documents making triple batches in my kitchen with friends. While not strictly Paleo (due to the lentils & bulgur), it is vegetarian and quite tasty.

What is your signature dish?


3/4 cup dried lentils, brown or green
3/4 cup bulgur wheat

2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt (separated)

4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons ghee or butter (separated)

1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut in 1/4” thick slices (about 6 1/2 cups)

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
2 leeks (white and light green parts), chopped crosswise (about 1/2 cup)
2 celery ribs, chopped crosswise (about 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups panko (bread crumbs)
Salt and pepper to taste

12 buns, or lettuce leaves for wrap
Condiments, your choice: mayo, ketchup, pickles, sliced onions, lettuce, pepperoncini, hot sauce, etc.


1. Bring 3 cups water, lentils, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat so water is at low boil and cook until lentils are softened, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils in a colander. Put three layers of paper towels on baking sheets and spread the lentils on top. Pat the top dry with paper towels and leave to cool.

2. While the lentils are cooking, bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in a saucepan. Stir bulgur into boiling water and cover immediately. Let stand away from heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain bulgur in fine mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess water. Set aside.

3. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of butter/ghee. When the foam of the butter subsides, add the sliced mushrooms and stir to cook. When the mushrooms have released oil they absorbed and are slightly limp, remove from pan and set aside in a bowl to cool. 

4. In the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon ghee or butter to medium hot. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the onions, leeks and celery and stir constantly until they soften. Sprinkle the curry powder and red pepper flakes over the mixture in the hot pan. Let these spices heat up to release their flavors. Keep stirring all ingredients until cooked down, about 10 minutes. Spread the cooked vegetables on 3 layers of paper towels on a cookie sheet and allow them to cool down.
Photo by Susann Gaska-Gutschmidt

5. Pulse the cashews in a food processor about 15 times, until finely ground.

6. In a large bowl, combine together the cashews, lentils, bulgur, vegetables, mushrooms and mayonnaise. Add as much mixture as your food processor can handle and pulse for about 15-20 one second pulses. Place in another large bowl, and complete the rest of the processing, one batch at a time.

7. To the whole mixture in the last bowl, add the panko, salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to taste. Form the patties (12) and place on paper towels on baking sheet to absorb any remaining liquid.

8. To cook the patties, heat 2 tablespoons oil to medium heat in a frying pan. Cook about 4 minutes each side. Serve on bun, or lettuce wrap, with condiments of choice.

Patties can be separated with parchment paper and frozen for several months.

#vegetarian #veggieburgers #curry #indian 

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