Rajma Burgers: Vegetarian Burgers with an Indian Flare
I came up with the Rajma Burger as a vegetarian solution for my insatiable burger cravings. After moving to India and becoming vegetarian, my love of the cheeseburger just refused to be silent, so I spent an evening in my kitchen determined to find the answer. What I came up with is a tasty spicy Indian version of a meatless burger. The mouth-feel is similar to a meat patty although a bit softer but I'm crazy about these things!
I call them Rajma Burgers because the protein is rajma, or dried kidney beans. They're a great source of quality plant protein and definitely more economical than meat. They can be stored in bulk so no fussing with defrosting, although they need to be soaked overnight. Canned beans may be substituted in a pinch.
I hope you like these as much as I do! This recipe also makes a great bean dip if you omit the bread and flour. The uncooked portion can also be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days.
- 1 cup dried rajma (kidney beans), soaked over night
- 1 onion, minced
- 1-2 green chillies, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 4 slices bread, crusts left on - a great way to use up the heels
- 1/4 cup flour, *optional
- 2 Tbsp rajma powder, *mexican chili powder may be substituted
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- to taste salt
- oil for frying
- If you are using dried beans (recommended) you will need to soak these in water overnight, rinse, and cook until tender. I give them about 10 minutes in a pressure cooker. When the beans are finished cooking, drain them well and let them cool. This is the most time-consuming step and canned beans may be substituted. Be sure they are well-drained.
- Put the beans, onion, chillies, garlic, coriander and spices into a grinder or food processor and grind/blend them into a paste. (This paste makes a great bean dip without adding any other ingredients.)
- Move your mixture into a mixing bowl. Dip each slice of bread briefly in water and squeeze as much of the water from it as you can. Crumble into bowl with bean mixture. Add your flour unless you choose to omit it. If you do omit the flour, you will want use an extra slice of bread in this step. Using your hands, mash and knead the mixture until the bread/flour is well incorporated. It will take on a sticky dough-like consistency. Note: Omitting flour will make patties a little softer and more fragile when handling.
- To form the patties, use a little oil and oil your palms. Take a portion of the mixture equal to the size of the patty you want, roll it into a ball and smash down into the size and shape of a regular hamburger patty. Repeat for as many patties as you plan to fry.
- Heat enough oil in a frying pan to submerge at least 1/4 of the patty on medium high. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a tiny piece of bean mixture into it and if it fritters immediately, it's ready. Drop in your patties and leave them undisturbed until you see the side of the patty turning a deep brown. Carefully flip and allow to fry another minute or so. Repeat. Place your cooked patties onto paper towels to capture and remove excess oil.
- Now you're ready to create your ultimate veggie burger. Place on your favorite toasted bun or bread and top with fresh sliced vegetables. Go crazy! I like to use chili sauce instead of ketchup on mine. Would be great topped with chutney. These patties are also tasty served without any bun at all and a great accompaniment to a fresh green salad. Enjoy!