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.

Mac and Cheese

This is my go-to recipe for Mac and Cheese for a very long time. It’s very quick besides being rich and creamy. It’s so much better than eating it out of a box and it’s sure to be loved by everyone.

The ingredients used are all staples that one can find in any kitchen. I used cheddar and parmesan. This is something that many of us grew up on and it’s a classic comfort food.

Instead of making a roux in the classic way, I find that adding onions to the butter and then adding the flour prevents the lumps forming. I prefer to do it this way.

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Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, etc can all be used. I just used some green pepper and carrots. It’s a very versatile dish in that way. The topping of breadcrumbs is what gives it that extra texture – chewy pasta with a crisp topping. Just lovely!

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

½ cup butter

6 tbsp flour

2 large onions, minced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp mustard

4 cups milk, warmed

450 grams elbow macaroni

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

4 tbsp black olives, cut in half

200 grams Cheddar, grated

50 grams Parmesan, grated

½ cup breadcrumbs

4 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely

Salt to taste

Instructions

Grease a baking dish and preheat the oven to 180 C.

Melt the ½ cup butter in a large, heavy pan. Add the onions and cumin seeds and cook until the onions are transparent. Add the flour and mix well. Saute for two minutes and add the pepper, turmeric, chilli powder, mustard and salt.

Add the warm milk gradually, stirring all the time and cook on low heat until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from heat and add the grated cheddar cheese olives and tomato ketchup.

Bring plenty of salted water to a rolling boil and add the macaroni. Stir well and add a cup of cold water immediately. This will prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook on moderate heat until the macaroni is just cooked or al dente.

Drain immediately and mix with the cheese sauce. Spoon into the greased baking dish.

For the topping, add the grated Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, melted butter and chopped coriander together. Spread this on top of the macaroni and bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Vegan Zucchini Frittata

I made this frittata for my daughter who’s turned vegan for some years now. A light and tasty dish – it’s ideal for a light summer lunch or supper. It can also be served cold. A refreshing tomato salad would be perfect to go with it.

The oatmeal gives this frittata a moistness and the addition of some spices and herbs makes it delicious. The vegan cheese works wonderfully well on this frittata.

You can also substitute the zucchini with other vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms or a combination of mixed vegetables.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4th cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4th cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2/3rd cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grease a round 8” pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the garlic, onions and green chillies. When the onions are transparent, add the spinach and salt. Do not cook the spinach. Mix well and remove immediately. Set aside.

Mix the chickpea flour with the ground oatmeal and add the asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder, baking soda and yoghurt. Add salt to taste and enough water to make a thick batter as for pancakes. Add the fresh coriander and the spinach mixture to this batter and mix well.

Line the zucchini slices in the buttered pan and spoon in the prepared batter on top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Sprinkle the cheese on top (if using) and grill until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 30 minutes. Invert gently on to a serving plate.

 

 

 

Hot Lentil Rice Dish

This dish is a favourite from the Southern state Karnataka. It is called Bisi Bele Bath, a spicy rice dish with lentils. This is a very unique dish from the Kannada cuisine and this recipe is very tasty.

This rice dish is different from the Sambar Rice prepared in Tamilnadu.

It’s important to dry roast the ingredients for the spice mix and blend to a fine powder. If dry coconut is not available, you can dry roast some fresh coconut until it is dry and use that instead. Tamarind paste can be substituted for fresh tamarind.

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It’s very essential to use ghee for seasoning the rice. I usually fry the cashewnuts in the ghee. There’s nothing that can replace the aroma and taste of ghee.

I have used peas but you can substitute it with any vegetable of your choice – carrots, potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower. It is a really wholesome dish and can be prepared for breakfast or lunch.

Hot Lentil Rice Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup yellow toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt to taste

For the spice mix

  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp urad dal
  • 6 red chillis
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 6 tbsp dried coconut (copra)
  • ½ tsp shahjeera
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

For Seasoning

  • ½ tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 10 sambar onions (shallots)
  • Curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100 gms cashewnuts (split)
  • ½ cup ghee

Dry roast all the ingredients for the spice mix and blend to a fine powder.

Cook the rice and dal in a rice cooker with 8 cups of water. It should be well cooked. Add the tamarind paste, salt and the spice mix and mix well. Allow to cook for a few minutes more.

Heat the oil for the seasoning, and add the mustard. When they stop popping add the dal. When the dal is golden, add the curry leaves and onions. When the onions are cooked, add the seasoning to the rice and dal mixture. If it is dry, add a cup of hot water. Add the frozen peas and mix well.

Heat the ghee and add the cashewnuts. Reserve a few for decoration and add the remaining with the ghee to the rice. Mix well.

Serve hot, garnished with fried cashewnuts.

Rainbow Frittata with Coconut Cream

Fresh, light and delicious – this frittata ticks all the boxes. Easy to prepare with ingredients that anyone more or less has in their pantry. The plus is the high content of fibre and protein.

This is especially important for people of all ages, who have greater nutritional needs. The combination of lentils with veggies, eggs, cheese and coconut make it a remarkably healthy dish. You might want to skip the take-out and prepare this tasty dish instead.

I got this recipe from a book called ‘Cooking Vegetarian with Flair’. However, I have made a few changes to it. The addition of the spices make it more tasty.

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I used the packaged sweetcorn kernels and also extracted the coconut cream from freshly grated coconut. The mung dal helps to set the frittata and the eggs give it an airy softness.

The benefits of coconut are widely known and the flavoured coconut cream is the perfect combination.

Rainbow Frittata with Coconut Cream

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dried yellow mung dal, soaked in water overnight
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 Zucchini, grated
  • 125 gms sweetcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 100 gms Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Coconut Cream

  • 125 ml coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Instructions

Drain the mung dal and place in food processor or blender with eggs and process until smooth. Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a fry-pan and cook the onion gently for 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots and zucchini and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until the vegetables soften and they are fairly dry. Add the vegetables to the mung dal mixture along with the sweetcorn and fresh coriander. Mix and season to taste with salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder.

Heat the remaining oil in a large fry-pan, add the vegetable mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Cook over a low heat for 5-8 minutes or until just firm, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure that the frittata does not stick. Place the pan under a preheated grill for 3 minutes or until the frittata is browned on top.

To make cream, place the coconut cream, lemon juice and mint leaves in a screw-top jar and shake well to combine. Invert the frittata onto a plate, cut into wedges and serve with coconut cream.