Posted tagged ‘tamarind chutney’

Curried Veggie Burgers

August 2, 2012

Ah, summer and burgers.  The grill.  The bun.  The condiments!  I love veggie burgers— at least I love the idea of them.  Easy to heat and eat, can dress them up for company, or down for a quick summer supper with some lovely greens on the side.  The problem?  Some are bland.  Some are squishy and too fragile.  Store-bought varieties often have ingredients I do not recognize.  And, unfortunately, many online recipes fail when it comes to texture, flavor, and nutritional punch.  After a moderately successful attempt at an online recipe that tasted great but would never stand up to a bun and serious condiments, I finally marched myself into my kitchen, ready to face the veggie burger challenge.

I dug around in the fridge, knowing these burgers would have to include some leftovers.  Quinoa, small white beans, mushrooms, and a bowl of fresh ginger would be the main ingredients from which to build.  I wanted lots of veggies, so took out most of what I had and lined it all up on the kitchen counter.  I wanted lots of flavor, so dug around in the spice cupboard and came up for air holding handfuls of Indian spices.  I chopped and diced, sauteed and sprinkled.  I even measured, just in case I liked the end result.  Good thing I did!

Currie Veggie Burger with Indian Paratha, Chutneys, Onions and Greens


1 c cooked quinoa

1 c cooked small white beans

2 T ground flax seed

2-3 T coconut oil

2 c peeled, diced sweet potato

1 c diced mushrooms

1/2 c minced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 c minced fresh ginger

1/2 red bell pepper, minced

4 c fresh kale, tough stems removed; chopped fine

3 T curry powder

1 t turmeric

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1/3 c water

1 c frozen green peas

olive oil (for the cookie sheet)

Process the quinoa, half the beans, and the ground flax in a food processor until mostly smooth.  Set aside.

In a large, heavy, nonstick skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sweet potato, mushrooms, onion, garlic,  ginger, red bell pepper and kale.  Saute until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper.  Stir and saute the spices into the vegetable mixture until incorporated.  Add the water, cover, lower heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.  Uncover and remove from heat.  Spoon half of the vegetable mixture into the processor and process until the mixture is mostly smooth again.

Scrape down the sides of the processor and spoon the mixture into the vegetables that are left in the skillet.  Stir everything together until well mixed.  Fold in the remaining 1/2 c white beans and the peas.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Generously oil a cookie sheet with olive oil.  Use an ice cream scoop or cup measure to divide burger mixture into 10 rounds, each about 3/4 c.  Press and shape into patties on cookie sheet.  Bake 15 minutes.  Gently turn with spatula and bake 15 minutes more.

These can be served right away and are great with Indian condiments, such as coriander chutney, tamarind chutney, and onion chutney.  We liked them on Indian paratha with all the condiments and sliced onion, tomato, and bell pepper.

As the burgers cool, they firm up quite a bit.  They can be frozen and reheated on a cookie sheet at 375° for 18-20 minutes, or heated in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat until crisp on the outside and heated through.


Can a Vegetable Really Pass for a Noodle?

October 28, 2010

The answer is yes!   Each time I pass by the pale yellow spaghetti squash in the vegetable aisle, I think about the magic that happens when that squash is cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Wielding my Nana’s three-tined cooking fork, I scrape the flesh.   Sweet strands separate from the skin, yielding a firm, golden, noodle-like pile, ready to be dressed up and served to a crowd.  I have not cooked spaghetti squash since my pre-vegan days. Then, the sauce was all about cream, Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper and crumbled bacon.  I once tried it with traditional sauce, but somehow the squash didn’t meet my expectations when ladled with tomatoes and ground beef.  The creamy sauce was definitely the favorite.

At Trader Joe’s, I eye the stack of local produce in the entrance way.  I think of cashew cream, and know exactly what to do.  I buy the squash and make a vegan Indian yellow curry with vegetables to serve over it.

Indian cooking can be mysterious— there are many complex flavors, and sometimes the list of spices can be intimidating.  I have experimented with Indian cooking for years, combining various flavors to try and duplicate the tastes I love from my favorite restaurants.  This recipe came out exactly like something I ate recently at Passage to India in Portland, ME.  The spaghetti squash turned out to be the perfect bottom layer, replacing the traditional Basmati rice usually served with curry.  My son was home for the weekend and couldn’t wait to get to the dinner table.  I think he even ended his skateboarding session early to join us.  We didn’t talk much at the table that night— dinner was too tasty to do anything but savor each bite.  My daughter insisted I write down exactly what I did before I forgot.  I did as she asked and was able to duplicate the recipe again a few days later.  We needed to finish the leftover squash and I couldn’t imagine serving it with anything else.

Yellow Curry  and Vegetables with Spaghetti Squash


1 spaghetti squash, washed, split, and seeded

For the Vegetables:

olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped into medium dice

1 red bell pepper, washed, split, seeded and chopped into medium dice

3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, skins on, chopped into medium dice

4 cups finely chopped cabbage

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2-3/4 cup thick cashew cream

2 cups water

For the curry:

olive oil

2 tsp. mustard seeds

2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp. Madras curry powder

1 tbsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup raw slivered almonds

1 tsp. sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400 °.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the clean squash, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and roast for about 50-60 minutes, or until the skin gives when pressed firmly with your finger.  Remove from oven, turn over the halves and allow to cool.

While squash is cooking, prepare the vegetables and curry:  For the vegetables:  In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Add onions and peppers and cook over medium-high heat until onion begins to soften.  Add garlic and stir.  Add potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until potato starts to soften.  Add a little water if the skillet becomes too dry.  Add the cabbage and cook about 5 minutes more.  Add peas, raisins, coconut, cashew cream and the water.  Stir well to combine and turn off heat.

For the curry:  Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and roll the oil around the pan to coat.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook until you can smell the cumin and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  Add the almonds and another tbsp. of oil.  Continue to cook until the almonds start to brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the Madras curry, the turmeric, the ginger and the salt.  Stir well to combine.  The pan with start to look dry when it is ready.  Stir in the cinnamon and remove from heat.  Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.

Combine the curry with the vegetable mixture, stirring gently but thoroughly.  The mixture should be thick and creamy, the vegetables tender but not mushy.

To serve: Spoon about a cup of spaghetti squash into a shallow bowl.  Ladle the vegetable curry over the squash.  Serves 6-8 hungry people for dinner.

Some nice condiments to add to this meal are tamarind chutney, (a sweet thick sauce of tamarind and dates), coriander chutney,(a bright green, slightly spicy, tart cilantro paste), and lime pickle (a fiery-hot, salty traditional Indian pickle).  Most grocery stores carry these in the international food section.