Quick Recipes and Easy

Veggie Comfort Burgers – Savoury Grated Zuchinni Potato Mozarella – Saving Money on Party Snacks

I’ve long been experimenting with variations on homemade veggie burgers. This recipe is a variation on something Chef Emeril tried on his “pancake” day episode in late 2005. The result of the recipe below is closer to a potato pancake/ roesti type of snack than a burger, but it’s tasty nonetheless.

Most potato pancakes have no protein besides the small bit of cheese that might go into the mixture, or on top. This recipe uses chickpea flour, which can be found either in Italian markets (possibly as gram flour) or East/West Indian or Pakistani markets (possibly as besan or chana flour).

Besan is a very high-protein flour, and properly seasoned, it makes for a tasty yet healthy batter. The recipe below uses approximate measurements that you should feel free to experiment with, to your taste.

1/2 cup grated zuchinni, after wrapping in kitchen towel/ cheesecloth and squeezing out the water. (Zuchinni adds a wonderful texture and moistness to all kinds of dishes, including potato pancakes, meatloaf, and even carrot cake.)
1/2 cup grated potato. You can leave the skin on if you like, but it’s probably better to remove it. To reduce cooking time, you can also add roughly-mashed cooled boiled potatoes (i.e., just potato, no cream, milk, etc.).3 canned shiitake mushrooms, finely minced. (You can use any mushroom, but shiitakes are reputed to aid in improving blood flow in human bodies.)
1/2 small onion, grated.1 tsp of grated or finely minced garlic.
1 tbsp ground cumin.Salt and black pepper to taste.Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flake [optional].1/4 cup chickpea flour for protein. If you cannot find this flour, grind your own from dried chickpeas.1/2 cup white flour. (You should “cut” besan with regular white flour, to reduce the chances of burning your burgers/ pancakes. Once you’ve burned high-protein ingredients once, you’ll know better.)
2 eggs, beaten.2-3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil. You can use olive oil, but it has a low smoke point and burns easily.
1 tbsp butter.3-4 small (bocconcinni) mozarella balls, sliced thinly but without falling apart. (Bocconcinni are well loved enough these days that any excellent cheese shop, Italian market, or even the deli counter at a large supermarket will have them. You can substitute proper buffalo mozzarella, but it’s more expensive. If you can’t get either, regular grated or sliced mozarella will work as well.)Preparation
In one bowl, combine all of the above ingredients, down to and including the red pepper flake (if using).In another bowl, combine the two flours, then the egg. You want a honestly pasty consistency, so you may need to add a bit more water.Now combine all of the ingredients together. With a large spoon, scoop up some mixture and see whether it’ll fall off the spoon. If not, add 1-2 tbsp of water and mix. (Repeat if necessary.)
Heat a skillet or non-stick frying pan on high with the cooking oil and butter.When the butter has melted – and before it burns – turn the heat down to medium high.Cook in batches: Ladle a heaping tablespoonful of mixture into the hot oil, and dab it down gently to flatten into a disc. Carefully place a slice of bocconcinni mozarella cheese in the center of the disc. Now ladle another spoonful of mixture on top to cover the cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip over. Cook 2nd side for about 2 minutes. (Chickpea flour needs to be thoroughly cooked.) Repeat for each burger.

You can serve these pancake/ burgers with a chunky tomato sauce or salsa, with a dollop of sour cream, or with lettuce and a slice of tomato and onion on a burger bun.

As always, be careful when working with hot oil.
Be warned that you should eat chickpea-based pancakes/veggie burgers in moderation, due to the high protein content.

Raj Kumar Dash, also known as the very opinionated Elvis Parsley, the “Curry” Elvis, was taught cooking at his mother’s side. A trained cook, he writes about various world cuisines, the health-related aspects of food, food TV shows, and pretty much anything related to the food industry. You can find his new food site (still in revision) at curryelvis.com/ curryelvis.com/, and four older cooking blog archives by starting curryelviscooks.blogspot.com curryelviscooks.blogspot.com.

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