Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 9, 2006: Eastern Vegetarian Burgers

After a few days of surviving on very poor conference food and some tastier night-time outings in Cairns, Thursday found me back in Melbourne and raring to cook. Cindy and I had our usual indecisive conversation about exactly what it was I'd be cooking, before settling on the Eastern vegetarian burgers from Mridula Baljekar's excellent Low-Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook. Seeing as I had a free afternoon, I decided to add a baby spinach salad (also from the book) and a made-up raita to the mix. The burgers were a spicy treat - the patties were 'meaty' and tasty and combined well with the salad and raita. They probably could have used some further accompaniment (e.g. tomato, for those who like them), but I was pretty satisfied.

Seed a small cucumber and chop it into little pieces, combine with a small tub of plain yoghurt, a few tablespoons of chopped coriander and a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin. And that's it.

Baby Spinach Salad
Chop up about 200g of baby spinach leaves and grate a medium-sized carrot and mix together in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of dessicated coconut. In a small saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and throw in 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for a couple of seconds and kill the heat. After the seeds have settled down a bit, pour the mix through the spinach and add in a generous splash of lime juice and a dash of salt. Make sure it's all mixed together and it's ready to go.

Eastern Vegetarian Burgers
Combine a cup of dried soya mince (we use Sanitarium TVP) with a cup of hot water and allow it to sit for about fifteen minutes until the water has been soaked up. In a large bowl, combine the soya mince with a finely chopped onion and a couple of finely chopped green chillies, teaspoons of ground coriander, cumin and garam masala, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander, a generous tablespoon of tomato paste, 25g of polenta, 2 beaten eggs and a sprinkling of salt. Mix everything together thoroughly.

Shape the burgers into appropriately sized patties (we got about 6 out of this recipe, although the book expects it to make 8). Dusting each burger pattie in plain flour helps to keep them together for the frying. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frypan - once the oil is hot (if you start too soon, your patties will crumble) gently place your patties in the oil and fry for about three minutes on each side. You'll be able to tell when they're ready for flipping by carefully testing each pattie with your spatula - they should feel quite crisp on the bottom.

Sit the patties on some absorbent paper to soak off some of the oil and then serve in fresh bread rolls with your prepared accompaniments.



  1. Thanks for the instructions I was looking for. I was given some similar burgers that actually come dry, as burgers in packets from Poland. They taste really nice fried with egg batter but obviously egg is not the ideal food for masses of urban consumers who don't like to think about where the feed comes from or where sh*t goes to.

  2. You're welcome, Ecstacy! I hope you enjoy these as much as your Polish ones.

  3. Wow! These are fantastic burgers! Thankyou for posting this recipe.