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I have a family of enthusiastic non-vegetarians. We do eat wholesome vegetarian Indian food most of the week but when there’s something fancy to be made or when at a restaurant, it seems a waste to eat anything other than meat. So imagine my son’s dismay when he was told – a week before Christmas – he would have to lay off chocolates, dry fruit and any kind of meat for a month because of an allergy issue that was being sorted out.
He threw a fit! “Whaaaaat just before Christmas! I have the worst luck everrrrrrrrr! This is soooooo unfair!’’ No christmas cake, candy, chocolate, chocolate cake flowing in abundance at all the birthday parties. For a nine-year-old that’s akin to torture of the worst kind. So for dinner last night, instead of the usual chicken burger, I decided to subject everyone to my son’s fate. Poor guy, he shouldn’t have to watch us eat something he wants right? Err…okay, maybe I just ran out of chicken mince.
I made this burger for him once before. He wolfed down two and even said they were very nice, so when I asked him if he was happy to have them again he very politely said “no thank you!’’
“Why? I thought you loved them?’’
“But you ate two that day and also said they were very nice!’’
“I was really hungry!’’
God! The brat. I made them anyway and he gobbled up two again! When I asked him how they were, the reply was `awesome’. Eh! How come? “I think you changed it up a bit this time.’’ Then I got it. The last time I put lettuce in the burger which he absolutely could not stand, leading to quite a bit of whining and a deep apprehension of facing the damn leaf again. This time I added cucumber instead of lettuce and all was right with the world. Even my husband, a hard-core meat eater and daughter, a fuss-pot who pecks at her food and takes three hours to eat a meal, loved it, so I thought I’d definitely share it.
This recipe is a no frills one with no fancy ingredients (at least for Indians). It’s made with everything we use daily and easily available at the local grocer and vegetable cart. I used yoghurt to replace high calorie mayonnaise and give the burger a tangy punch. Ok enough of my rambling. Here we go.
Ingredients (makes 12 large patties)
400 gms chickpeas
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 heaped tsp coriander powder
1 heaped tsp roasted cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp salt (add more or less according to your preferences)
1 tsp paprika (Kashmiri mirch in India)
4 medium onions finely chopped
1/2 cup coriander leaves finely chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp lemon juice
Vegetable oil for frying
500 gms thick yoghurt (hung in muslin cloth for about 2 hours till much of the water drains)
1 tsp garlic paste
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1/4 tsp salt
Cucumbers thinly sliced in discs
Tomatoes thinly sliced in discs
- Boil chickpeas till soft but don’t make them mushy. Drain all the water.
- Once slightly cooled, put in a food processor and blend with the garlic, ginger coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and paprika. Don’t blend to a paste. Keep it a bit coarse. If you don’t have a food processor can just use a fork and good old muscle power.
- Once done, empty the chickpea mixture into a large bowl or container and add the onions, coriander leaves, mint leaves, flour and lemon juice and mix everything well with a fork.
- Shape them into round discs or patties and grill on a non stick pan with a teaspoon of oil (for every two patties).
For the Mint Yoghurt
- Mix the hung yoghurt with the garlic and salt till smooth and creamy. Add the onions and mint leaves.
- If the yoghurt becomes too dry you can add two or three more spoons of non-hung yoghurt to make it a smooth creamy paste.
- Slice the burger buns in the middle and place them on the heated frying pan to toast a bit.
- Place the cucumber discs on the bottom half of the bun. Add salt, cracked black pepper.
- Place the tomato discs on the cucumber.
- Place the Chickpea patty on to the tomato slices and top with the mint yoghurt.
- Cover with the top of the bun.
Take a big bite.
Important notes : Do not overcook the chickpeas. You’ll have a mushy patty which will be difficult to grill or fry. Pay attention to the chickpeas when they are boiling. If using a pressure cooker open the lid after one whistle. Check if its done by either eating one or pressing with your hand. if still a bit hard, boil for a bit longer with the lid off to check the texture.
Get well formed yoghurt. Not the runny kind.
Do not blend the onions in the food processor with the chickpeas. It will overpower the patty and give you a weird flavour. Mix with a fork separately. It will give a nice texture to the patty.
If you’re not using a non-stick pan you will have to heat the pan very well and add more oil to fry the patties.