Chickpea burgers are a refreshing take on dinner on a bread roll. I use the one hamburger recipe, which is a Jamie Oliver classic, and have never really thought about alternatives. But when something interesting comes your way, you really do need to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go. It’s a bit like sausage rolls vs thai chicken sausage rolls. Once you try something different you realise you don’t always have to have the same thing. Chickpea burgers are yet another case in point.
Ours is a meat eating family: chicken, beef and lamb. I don’t eat pork, because I don’t like it (unless you’re talking about bacon, then I eat pork. Oh, and ham. So that should really read, I only eat pork that has been processed in some way, because I also eat salami. Let me rephrase, I don’t cook pork despite being brought up on roast pork, which I always refused to eat. Up until a few years ago we would have meat dishes 3-4 times a week, with the rest being vegetarian just for a bit of balance. Thats changed over the past few years.
Palates have matured and I no longer have to worry about who likes what, when. There was a time when someone might eat pumpkin one week but would insist they didn’t like it the next. The constant considerations of feeding a family! Now it’s all about exploring new options and grains and beans have become a staple. I’ve always eaten lentil burgers which is a throw back to university days. For some reason, at the time, road trips and the beach equalled lentil burgers. It’s the same today, just different food. Instead of lentil burgers at your destination, its açaí. Just another example of food defining what’s young, hip and cool.
So to the chickpea burgers. This recipe is from The Dinner Ladies (Murdoch Books), with minor adjustment. This is a great book but annoying at the same time: it basically contains everything we already cook at home, except for the chickpea burgers, and they have made a great addition to our dinners. As suggested, I used a food processor when making the burgers, although you could just as easily use a potato masher instead. In fact it might even be better as you have more control over the consistency of the chickpeas. It is very easy for them to turn too mooshy, so if using a food processor go gently and use the pulse button. I also added harissa to make them a little more flavoursome. If you don’t have any lingering in the fridge, finely chop up a chilli and add it to the mixture.
Unlike hamburgers, these tend to need a gentle hand when cooking them. A light dusting of flour helps to make them easier to handle and transfer to the hot frying pan. You also have to be a little bit careful when flipping them over in the pan. This is really only a browning and heating exercise so just letting them sit and sizzle is the way to go.
When you’re making dinner on a roll, the quality of the bread is crucial. Avoid the spongy white from the supermarket (it’s my pet hate). Opt for something with a little more substance like dense multigrain, sourdough, or even ciabatta. Although this is meant to be a hamburger kind of option, I prefer to make it an open sandwich. It means you have to eat it with a knife and fork, or risk loosing it all in your lap. On the other hand, you could always put a lid on it! Which ever way you choose to eat it…Enjoy!
- 2 x 400 gram tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ red capsicum, seeded and diced
- ½ bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stems, finely chopped
- 1 handful mint leaves, chopped
- 4 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- extra flour for dusting burgers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- olive oil
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- To Serve:
- rocket leaves
- bread rolls
- lemon wedges
- Using a food processor (using the pulse button) or potato masher, smash the chickpeas so that some are coarse and others more pureed.
- In a large bowl, add the smashed chickpeas, egg, cumin,capsicum, coriander, mint, harissa, garlic,spring onions, rice flour, lemon zest and salt. Mix together so all the ingredients are combined.
- Roll the mixture into evenly sized balls. Flatten them into patties. Place a handful of flour on a large plate and light coat each burger with flour. Tap off excess.
- Heat olive oil in large non-stick frying pan. Carefully add the burgers and cook until golden brown. Gently turn over and cook the other side until golden brown. Place on a plate in a warm place while you cook the rest of the burgers.
- To make the yoghurt sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- To serve, toast the bread roll, add a cooked burger, top with yoghurt sauce and a handful of rocket leaves. Serves with a wedge of lemon.