Monday, 2 July 2012

Red Bean Burger

Now that red meat is officially off my diet -- except maybe the occasional mutton biryani -- I had to hunt down reasonable substitutes for my tikias/tikkas and burgers (which, when you think about it, are basically the same things, only the former are seasoned better, and therefore far more delicious :-). Anyway, beans/daal are the most obvious animal protein sub., and since I had a handful of rajma (red kidney beans) leftover from... oh, I don't know, months ago, I decided to sacrifice them to the cause.


First, as always -- and especially in these  times of elevated chemical-content in produce and grocery -- I washed the rajma thoroughly, and then left them soaking from early morning till after lunch in hot water. Not warm. Hot. Bubbly-boiling water. Why should you do this? You should do this because taking chances is silly. The second-last batch of rajma I made tasted slightly bitter. The smell was a bit off, too. So when I made it again, I stopped right the rajma has been pressure-cooked to softness, and smelt the soupy bean-stock. And yes, there was that extra-dark brown colour you couldn't get naturally, the odd, un-placeable smell. So I chucked the stock, washed the beans thoroughly, and started from scratch. This time onwards, I was going to carefully right from the outset.

So! You soak well-washed beans in hot water. If you can remember to do this, drain this water after a few hours, give the beans another quick wash, and soak them in warmish or room-temp. water till late afternoon. Then, when the beans are plump and shiny, follow the steps below :-)

Lightly saute minced ginger, garlic and thinly-sliced red onion in a teaspoon of mustard oil, on a low flame. Add the washed and soaked beans to the pot/pressure cooker, toss, add water, and cook till they're soft.

Test the tenderness of beans with a fork. They must be mushy enough to be mashed.

Follow through to the logical conclusion. Mash them.

Mix in salt, a boiled potato, half a teaspoon of cumin powder, and chopped green chilies. But you can leave the last out if you don't like 'em.

Pat them into standard burger/tikia shapes, not too thick, or the insides will remain all bland boiled beans and potato.

Either grill them, or fry them on a lightly greased skillet. Unless you're exceptionally healthy and on a regular exercise regimen, please use white oil.

The tikias! Now, you can eat these straight away with a salad, or sprinkled with lemon juice. They're delicious!

Or, you could cut yourself a couple of slices from a ripe, firm tomato, slice through the middle of a (toasted) bun.

[Lather it with cream cheese or mayo :-] Layer the tomatoes on top of it.

Top with the tikia/burger. [Similarly lather the other half of the bun]

Maybe add some onions. And cucumber. And lettuce. And pickles. And whatever else you want.

[Maybe even a pat of that cream-cheese or mayo]

Aaaaaand, voila! Your totally healthy, no-cheese, no-mayo [brackets not included], tomato-and-other-veggie-laden burger is ready. 
If you're going to complain about the potato in the mix, go run yourself a mile after you've stuffed one of these down your gullet. It's good for you.

All the rest of you happy people, save this recipe. You might have thought the old rajma had no future beyond rajma-chawal or the occasional hearty, soupy winter dish, but man. I'm telling you. It makes a killer tikia. If you're vegetarian for ethno-religious reasons and can't bring yourself to bite into a standard-issue meat-inna-bun, but (rightly) despise the aloo-tikia they serve in the burger-chains instead, make yourself a whole batch of these burgers and freeze 'em. They're incredibly handy, fry in under two minutes, and are a filling and lip-smacking meal in less than five. Especially if you stuff the bun with crisp, fresh vegetables. 

Also, for the worker-bees and parents of school-going children: this makes an amazing packed lunch. Try it! You'll keep coming back to it :-)


Dea-chan said...

Ooh that looks ridiculously tasty. Bean burgers are definitely a thing out here with all the crazy vegs.

Anonymous said...

love the step by step pictures and easy recipe! will definitely try it.

Anonymous said...

Looks delish! :)