Chickpea Cutlet Burgers

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I derived these delicious veggie burgers from traditional Indian veg cutlets and from Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Burgers in Super Natural Cooking. Veg cutlets are made with mashed potato as a base for a mixed of minced vegetables and strong bitter seasoning. Heidi seasons her chickpea burgers with cilantro and lemon and stabilises them with egg and a clever cooking method. I borrowed the chickpeas and method from Heidi and the seasoning and veggies from the cutlets.

Heidi's recipe also suggests using the patty as a bun for a vegetable sandwich by making the burgers thick and cutting them in half like a bun. This works really well.

My recipe calls for "mixed vegetables" and you can use a convenient frozen mix but this is also a thrifty way to use up those slight wilted bits of vegetable in your crisper drawer. Half a carrot here, a forgotten parsley there and you'll have half a cup before you know it.

If you need to substitute seasonings, you can use fennel seed instead of aniseed; lemon zest instead of dry mango powder. Unfortunately, nothing quite substitutes for the bitter pungency of fenugreek leaf, but I tried dried dill and cilantro with interesting results.

Chickpea Cutlet Burgers
serves 2

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch garam masala
1/2 tsp aniseed
1 tsp fenugreek leaf (methi)
1 pinch dry mango powder
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup mixed vegetables, small dice or minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (panko or toasted crumbs)

In a food processor, blend the rinsed chickpeas, eggs, salt and seasonings until you have a slightly chunky, gooey paste.

Pour the chickpea paste into a bowl and stir in the onion and vegetables. Add the breadcrumbs, mix well and allow to stand for 5 minutes. This allows the crumbs to soak up the moisture and turns the paste into a soft dough.

Form 6 or 8 balls. Flatten them slightly when you put them into the pan, but you want them to be fairly thick so you can halve them for buns. Cook them - covered - in a pan with a bit of olive oil on medium low heat. The low heat and cover give the burgers a partial steaming which sets up the egg and makes the texture just right. 7 minutes a side usually does it but if they aren't brown and crispy on the bottom, give them a few more minutes or turn up the heat a little.

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