Friday, April 23, 2010

Soya Vegetable Burger with Garlic Cilantro Schmear

There are several recipes posted for soya burgers. Everyone has a favourite way of doing this. Some use tofu, various vegetables, TVP etc. with different kinds of spices. I have tried out various different recipes before but never blogged any. This recipe was created from available ingredients and can be customized in several ways to suit your palette and anything you have on hand. This offers a quick ready to eat high protien and low carb snack. You can make the batter/filling in advance and refrigerate it. You can just grill the patties when needed. I have gone for a bunless or bread less burger here, since I am on a low-carb binge. But this can be dished up with any bun of your choice such as a seeded bun or kaiser roll or english muffin etc.

I have adapted Heidi Swanson's ( method here for serving the burger. I had read it a long time ago and always wanted to try it. However, I found it tough to slit the patty laterally maybe due to my lack of finesse. So I just created small patties, and added the salad veggies or toppings in between. I have used plain white all purpose flour in addition to some potatoes as a binder. This surely adds some carb content but I used whatever I had on hand. You can add a beaten egg or two, use flax, almond flour or bread crumbs - anything that holds the patty together. These go pretty fast and one person can easily eat 2 or three of these as a sumptuous snack. These burgers have a heavy double dose of veggies, because there are vegetables in the patty and we also use them as stuffing.

I hope you like this recipe for the soya vegetable burger.

Ingredients -

2 cups dry soya granules or TVP( Textured vegetable Protein)
1 cup grated paneer or crumbled tofu
2 small boiled potatoes any kind
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup smashed green peas
1 Tbsp grated garlic
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 dashes hot sauce or pepper sauce
4-5 tsp all purpose flour
cheese slices optional
salt to taste
For the topping -
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 cucumber thinly sliced
1 tomato thinly sliced
pickles or jalapeno optional
1 tsp chat masala

For the Schmear -
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or dhania
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Method -
1) Boil water in a pan and add the TVP or soya granules. Let them soak for 5-10 mins. You can add some salt to taste if needed. Drain the granules and wring all the water out of them.
2) Crumble 1 cup of tofu or grate some fresh paneer. Add this to the granules.
3) Mash 2 boiled potatoes and add to the mixture.
4) Grate 1 cup of carrots and add half a cup of smashed peas directly into the mixture. You can also add beets or other mixed vegetables pulsed in a food processor. Sweet corn will add a different twist.
5) Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne and black pepper, hot sauce and salt.
6) Lightly mix this together with a spoon. Too much stirring will cause the mixture to loosen and become watery. Also avoid using your hands as the warmth from the hand will also create moisture.
7) Add all purpose flour or any other binder you want to use one or two spoons at a time and continue mixing lightly. Add just enough flour so that patties can be formed. Please do Not add water. There will be enough moisture to absorb any flour you add.
8)Moisten your palm with some water and form small patties of desirable size. Place these in a non stick pan and grill on each side till done. You can use non stick spray or oil as needed.
9) To create the schmear - Use 2% or fat free greek yogurt if available. If not, You can make this at home by draining some yogurt over coffee filters. You will need at least low fat yogurt to get a good creamy consistency. Alternately, you can also get 100g 'chakka' from a dairy if available.
Beat the curds and add the garlic(smashed or grated raw), salt, pepper and cilantro. Mix it together to get a dip like consistency. You can add a little bit of yogurt or milk to loosen the schmear a bit if needed. This adds a tangy garlicky kick to your burger.
10)Thinly slice onions, tomatoes, cucumbers to add to the burger. You can also use a lettuce leaf but I did not have any on hand. Pickles, jalapenos, banana peppers, fresh sliced peppers etc. can also be added.
11) To serve the burger - Place a generous dollop of the schmear on one patty. Place all sliced veggies one over the other on the other patty. Sprinkle a little chat masala if needed. You can add a cheese slice here if desired. Place the other patty on top. Garnish with some grated cheese if desired. Enjoy this delicious low carb vegetable burger without much guilt :)
This recipe can easily be made vegan by omitting any dairy and using tofu instead of paneer, and soy cheese if desired.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Beat the Heat - Pudine ki Paneer Kadai ( Grilled onions, peppers and paneer cheese in a yogurt mint sauce)

Summer has come early to Pune and the heat is unbearable. We are always looking for natural ways to cool the body and what could be more refreshing than a bunch of fresh mint? Spending the least possible time in the kitchen is desirable. Even the not so fresh variety of paneer available with the small baniya (grocer) shop is much fresher than the 'refrigerated a zillion years' brands that we are forced to use in the US. I had come across a dish called pudina paneer tikka at a neighbourhood restaurant. I liked the concept but the dish itself had turned out to be over spiced and salty. A simple sautee of onions and peppers and paneer cubes in a mint and yogurt sauce seemed just perfect.

I wanted the mint to shine and use a bare minimum of other spices. Pudine ki paneer kadai was born out of laziness and the need to spend the minimum time near a hot tove. The recipe is as follows -
200 g fresh paneer cubed

2 small onions

1 large green bell pepper

1 small clove garlic

1/2 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 tsp cayenner pepper

1 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp sour yogurt

1 small bunch fresh mint

1 tbsp lemon juice optional

1) Cube the paneer according to desired shape/size

2) Dice the onions and pepper similar to the paneer. The pieces should be somewhat large so that they retain shape and texture

3)Grind the mint leaves, garlic, ginger and lemon juice to a fine paste

4) Add the yogurt and stir to make a smooth batter or mixture

5) Add paneer cubes to the above mixture and toss lightly till all the pieces are coated evenly. This can be done in advance and refrigerated. A minimum of 30 mins of mariantion is required.

6)Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or kadai. You can also use a cooking spray if you are using a good non stick vessel

7)AFter the oil heats, Add the onions and sautee them lightly on a high flame. The onions should be charred slightly if desired. Remove the onions while they are still
curnchy and have a slight bite to them.

8) Add the diced pepper or capsicum to the wok and repeat above process. Remove the peppers while still crunchy.

9)Now add the paneer/yogurt/mint mixture to the wok and stir lightly. The yogurt will evaporate soon. You can fry this until it is dry enough for your taste. I recommend a thick coating of the masala paste. At this point, the paneer will be infused with the tang of the yogurt, and the mint will be most flavorful.

10) Toss lightly to combine everything and remove from heat.Note - Do not over mix at this point as the onions/peppers will soften pretty soon

11) Your minty kadai paneer is ready to be served.
Serve hot with rotis or bread of choice.