A self confessed ‘burger fiend’ before I gave up meat, I’m on a mini mission to find alternatives which show that you don’t have to compromise on flavour and succulence by going for the veggie option. I’ve tried a couple of ready made options – Fry’s frozen burger and a Granose mix, as well as Mildred’s legendary beetroot and apple burger. All fine in their own right, but the search continues.
So this week, we continue with The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook, and Salma Hage’s recipe for Cauliflower and Chickpea patties, or as she describes them ‘the ultimate vegan slider’ – get my own take on that at the end, but in the meantime it’s on to the recipe.
Ingredients for 8 fritters or 6 larger burgers: 1 cauliflower broken in to florets, 1 can chickpeas drained, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion finely chopped, 4 garlic cloves fine chopped, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 1/2 tsps ground coriander, 1 1/2 tsps garam masala, 3 tbsp tahini, 5 tsp chickpea flour (gram flour), juice 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper.
Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for 7 minutes, add the chickpeas and cook for another 7 or until both tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and saute the onions and garlic until soft but not brown. Add all the spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Combine the cauliflower, chickpeas, onion mix and tahini in to a food processor and blitz (or mash in large bowl). If using the processor, do it in batches or you’ll jam the blade like I did, and end up mashing it a bowl anyway. You want to keep a slightly chunky texture so don’t overdo it. Stir through the chickpea flour, lemon juice and add generous amounts of salt and pepper.
Use cold hands to divide the mixture into burger patties. Fry in a tbsp of olive oil turning after a couple of minutes to make sure they are crips on both sides. Serve them in buns with coleslaw or as I did here with griddled courgettes and carrot rapee salad.
Verdict: They keep their texture well and have a ‘solid bite’, but I think these could have done with even more of the spices above to give them a little more flavour. Or topping them with humous would also work well.
So not bad, but the search for the ultimate veggie burger goes on…