Gopal’s Famous Vegie-Nut Burgers

These burgers are much loved in my family. I have been making them for the last 25 years. They are so wholesome – rice, lentils, vegetables and peanut butter with spices and herbs. This much loved recipe comes from the famous chef Kurma Dasa of the Hare Krishna movement. It’s from his book Great Vegetarian Dishes, a book that’s been used so much that it smells of food!

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Though the recipe calls for brown lentils, I found that brown chickpeas are actually more tasty. I don’t know if these dark coloured chickpeas are found outside India. They are perfect for this burger patty. Once you make this burger, you really won’t miss the meat. It’s really rich and satisfying. I usually make it in bulk and store it in the freezer. The patties are baked and then pan-fried. You could also shape them into rolls and serve them hot-dog style. Either way, they are a real comfort food.

To make this a vegan dish, you just have to substitute vegan mayonnaise/tahini instead of the cream and omit the eggs. You could also use any sauce of your choice, like tomato ketchup, etc. You could also use herbs like basil and oregano with parsley. This recipe makes 16 burgers.

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup cooked short-grain rice (it should be sticky)

11/2 cups cooked brown lentils/chickpeas, drained

½ cup carrots, shredded coarsely

11/2 cups breadcrumbs

½ cup peanut butter

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp Chinese sesame oil

2 tsp fresh mint, chopped

2 tsp fresh curry leaves, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp yellow asafoetida powder

½ cup fresh coriander, chopped

1 tsp red chilli powder

To assemble

Barbecue Sauce

Lettuce leaves

Tomatoes

Boiled eggs, chopped

Sour cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Process the chickpeas in a food processor until they are coarsely mashed.

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead well.

Pinch off 16 portions of the mixture, roll them into smooth balls, and with wet hands, press them into 3-inch patties.

Arrange the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place them in the oven. Bake the patties for 15 minutes and turn them over until they darken slightly and dry out somewhat.

The burgers can now be refrigerated or frozen. Pan-fry them in butter or oil until they are hot, then use on bread rolls with your favourite sauces, salads and toppings.

I used some barbeque sauce which is a lovely combination with this burger, lettuce leaves, tomatoes, boiled eggs and sour cream to assemble the burger.

Coconut Pie

Buttery, crumbly home-made shortcrust pastry, encasing a luscious, creamy coconut filling – it’s pure indulgence. It just dissolves on the tongue and the taste is just divine.

A great project for a rainy afternoon, it’s not hard to make this pie. It makes for a lovely home-made gift though I love to serve it with coffee after a meal.

It was my sweet tooth that took me to the kitchen initially and though I love cooking with vegetables and savoury ingredients, I must admit that these sweet treats are my absolute favourites.

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Warm from the oven, rich and velvety – what could be more comforting than a pie?

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This recipe makes an 8 inch pie.

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3-4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 large coconut, grated
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 60 gms butter

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grease an 8 inch pie pan or use a non-stick pie pan.

Sift the flour with the salt. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and mix gently until the dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Roll the pastry on a floured surface about an eighth of an inch thick. Line the pie pan and bake blind until the pastry is lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, mix the coconut, sugar and water in a pan and boil gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the eggs and butter. Scoop into the piecrust and bake for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy.

Madras Omelette

Every country has their own version of the omelette – the Italians have their frittata, the Spanish omelette is very popular, etc. India has it’s own version too and it differs slightly from region to region. Everybody has their own spin on it.

The recipe featured here is the one my family has been making for years. It’s extremely flavourful with the addition of the herbs and onions. I also like to add curry leaves in a lot of my cooking as it’s very good for health.

Some people add the onions and chillies raw, but I find that sauteing it in a little vegetable oil takes it to the next level. It’s tastier this way.

It’s so easy to make and makes for a really satisfying breakfast.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely
  • Handful of curry leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the onions, chillies and ginger. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are just cooked. Add the herbs and salt and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Add the onion mixture to the beaten eggs. Heat a frying pan, add about two ladles of the egg mixture and spread it around the pan. Add a little oil around the edges. When the omelette is half cooked, fold about a third of the omelette into the centre. Do the same with the remaining one third. Flip the omelette over and cook until both sides are golden and the inside is cooked through. Serve hot with toast.

Split Mung Pancakes

A very satisfying comfort dish – this is a traditional recipe from the state of Andrapradesh in India. The Indian name for it is ‘pesarettu’.  It is one of the many varieties of ‘dosa’ or pancakes. Each region in India has their own version of the dosa. Since it’s made from split mung beans, it is very high in protein and it’s also completely vegan.

It’s the perfect way to start the day and keeps you going till lunchtime. You can soak the lentils overnight and grind it in the morning. I usually make it for lunch.

Traditionally, dosas are quite large but this version fits in nicely with a household pan. Stir the batter well before making each pancake. It should be served immediately.

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PREP: 4 hours COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups split green mung
  • 2 green chillies
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • Curry leaves, chopped finely
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Coconut Chutney

  • 2 cups coconut, grated
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted/puffed chana dal
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Wash the mung dal and add water to just cover it. Soak for about 4 hours.

Grind to a coarse consistency with the green chillies, coriander, cumin and ginger in a blender or food processor. Do not add too much water while grinding. The batter should fall easily from the spoon but it should remain thick. You can add a little water if it’s too thick.

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil and saute the onions until they are half cooked. Add the curry leaves and remove from heat. Add this to the ground batter.

Heat a large frying pan, spoon ladles of the batter in the centre and using a flat based ladle, spread the batter across the pan starting from the centre using a clockwise movement. Spread it as thinly as possible and pour a little oil around the edges of the pancake and in the centre as well. Cook until the edges are crisp and golden brown. Flip the pancake and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Turn it back on the original side and fold over into a semi-circle or roll it starting from one edge (as pictured).

For the coconut chutney, grind all the ingredients together with just enough water in a blender to a fine paste. Add more water if required. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds when it becomes hot. When they stop popping, add the split lentils. When they turn golden brown, add the curry leaves and remove immediately from the heat. Garnish the chutney with this dressing.

Serve the pancakes with the coconut chutney. This quantity makes about 10-12 pancakes.