Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 28, 2008: Chickpea cutlets

A google search for chickpea cutlet veganomicon yields about 12900 English web pages. So what can I say about these patties that hasn't been said already? Actually, I'm hoping the photo above might communicate a good thousand words on my behalf.

For the uninitiated, Veganomicon is the latest cookbook to come from Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Published only last year, it has instantly become the go-to book for cruelty-free cooking. And these chickpea cutlets are allegedly the authors' favourite recipe in said bible. The use of wheat gluten ensures that the patties won't crumble to bits, and it adds a unique texture. The brief three-minute knead forms gluten strands and I expect that some experimentation is warranted either side of that guideline to achieve your preferred texture, from soft and tender to dense and chewy.

These were easy to pull together on a weeknight, and I initially tried one with a splash of lemon, and side of baked potatoes and steamed broccolini. It was just the comfort meal I needed, reminding me very much of the meat and three veg that my grandmother used to prepare. Then I reheated a leftover cutlet in the frypan on Saturday afternoon for a lunchtime burger.

Oh yeah.

This might have been the best burger ever.

The chickpea cutlet's new crew of BFFs are a multigrain roll, a handful of rocket, a quarter of an avocado and a loving spoonful of baked tomatillo salsa. Their powers combined form a burger that not only tastes fantastic, but tastes like you're doing your body a favour.

Chickpea cutlets
(the recipe is everywhere, but appears to have been posted to by the authors themselves)

1 cup cooked chickpeas (I used a 400g can, drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup wheat gluten (I used Lotus 'gluten flour' from Allergy Block)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vege stock or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (I actually used the dry powdered stuff)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
extra oil for frying or greasing

Mash the chickpeas and oil together in a bowl until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and combine to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, until gluten strings form. Divide the dough into four pieces and form them into patties, no more than 1.5 cm thick.

Now you can bake or fry them. I did a combination of both: frying in a little oil until golden on both sides, then baking for a further 15 minutes to cook through.


  1. I love these cutlets! I prefer their texture when they've been baked only, but have tried the three methods and they're all good (frying, baking, frying/baking). I've made a pumpkin and nooch variety one too. I'm seriously addicted. Your burger is making me hungry, it looks yum!

  2. Oh wow, I HAVE to give these a go. And that burger looks fantastic.

  3. I have seen these before but haven't really looked closely but your comments on the wheat gluten interested me as I have some other recipes with wheat gluten I want to try - will have to head to allergy block and put these on my to do list - your pic makes your claim very believable

  4. Lisa, I like the sound of your variation! I think there's plenty of room here for experimentation with flavours and cooking methods, I probably won't be settling on one specific combination for quite some time. :-)

    Thanks, Anna - I hope you enjoy them!

    Johanna, I've been passing by recipes with wheat gluten for quite some time - I hadn't come across it in shops and making seitan from scratch looked rather labour-intensive! This recipe has proved to be an ideal introduction and I'm now more inclined to try some new glutenous dishes. :-)

  5. I think this recipe is a good introduction to using wheat gluten because it's not too gluten-intense - the chickpeas make up quite a lot of the body of the cutlets.

  6. They look really nice. I've never cooked with gluten, but I've eaten it heaps of times in vegetarian Chinese restaurants! Hehe. Where can you buy gluten to cook with?

    xox Sarah

  7. Hiya Sarah! I had likewise enjoyed gluten faux-meats at restaurants but not come across it at the supermarket. Then I recently found "gluten flour" (it has double the gluten of regular wheat flour) at Allergy Block. I think it's Lotus brand, which I've seen at various health food shops around Melbourne, so it's worth keeping an eye out for. :-)

  8. Yo Cindy. Wassup?

    I had a friend visiting from the States this past week and on the last night before she went home we were planning to go out to a veg restaurant. However the crazy weather and holiday season thwarted our plans and we decided to stay indoors and cook. What to cook? Your chickpea cutlets, of course!

    Although the price for a bag of gluten flour (about 10$ for 623 grams) was ridiculous we rounded up the ingredients from the supermarket yesterday and cooked up the cutlets. Served with some roasted vegies and quinoa ( we were both very happy with the result. Thanks for the inspiration and merry 2009!

  9. Hello from sunny Queensland, dmargster! I'm glad that these cutlets went some way to making up for your spoiled night out. All the best for 2009. :-)