Sunday, 21 March 2010
To be honest, occasionally I do crave a burger - no wait - rather a 'burger-like' meal! There is something lovely about about a toasted bun stuffed full of deliciousness with a side of something deep-fried. I've made 'burgers' out of big mushrooms before - and they were okay - but I always had a soggy bun problem halfway through eating. So since becoming a vegetarian I haven't really had a good burger experience, until a few months ago at a restaurant that, instead of offering a spicy lentil burger as the vegetarian option, had a Falafel 'Deluxe' Burger with grilled pepper, hummus, beetroot, rocket, halloumi, tzatziki and harissa.
While the falafel burgers are definitely a tasty step-up from typical 'vegetarian burgers' I think the real magic lies in the toppings. Obviously you can put whatever you like on it but I tried to recreate the toppings used in the restaurant - with a few additions of my own (avocado, red onion and tomato). You can serve the falafels as a burger or more traditionally in pitta breads (but you can get much more stuff between a bun!)
The recipes I've seen for falafels mostly used parlsey, however, I am a huge coriander/cilantro lover so used it instead and I think it worked really well with the spices. I made one large burger out of two falafel patties (which was more than enough) and saved the three remaining falafels in the fridge. These will make a great quick lunch or snack - as it only takes a few minutes to fry them up. My partner made a traditional beef burger but said my falafel burger looked really good! I made beer battered onion rings which were the perfect accompaniment (recipe to come).
makes 5 small patties
1 tin chickpeas/ garbanzo beans - drained and rinsed (or you could use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight - about 220g rehydrated)
1 clove garlic - roughly chopped
2 tbsp coriander/cilantro - roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp harissa paste
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp oil (plus more for frying)
salt to taste
burger bun - toasted
sliced red onion (about 1/4 small red onion)
1 tsp harissa paste spread on the top of the bun (if you don't have this - or don't like spicy flavors - you could use ketchup instead)
1 tbsp hummus spread on the bottom on the bun (the hummus I bought - no I didn't make it! - had roasted red pepper blended in it, but if you had some whole roasted peppers you could slice these up and use them instead/too)
1 tbsp tzatziki spread on the hummus (you could use sour cream or mayonnaise instead)
2-3 slices lightly grilled halloumi*
small handful rocket/arugula
a few tomato slices
sliced avocado (about 1/4)
Put all the falafel ingredients in a food processor and blend until nearly smooth. Form mixture into small patties, refrigerate about 30 minutes or until ready. While the mix is chilling you can get your toppings ready. Heat a tsp of oil in a frying pan or grill pan and fry falafel patties (2-3 per burger) for a couple minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Construct burger!
*When building my burger I managed to forget the halloumi (which I had grilled at the same time as the falafels), so it is not in the picture, nor in my belly - sad!