Images and recipes from The Dinner Ladies by Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood (Murdoch Books) Photographs by Ben Dearnley RRP $39.99 available September 1st in all good bookstores and online.
Chickpea and Coriander Burgers
Serves 4 Prep time 20 minutes Cooking time 6–8 minutes
In the name of duty we chomped our way through many different vegetarian burgers – pulsey, nutty, beety, the works – trying to find one that didn’t taste either worthy or weird. Then we made one up. It doesn’t try to pretend to be a burger – it’s just something that is stand-alone yummy.
Make ahead: The burgers may be made ahead and frozen. They can be defrosted but will be delicate to handle when they defrost. Alternatively, you can cook them straight from frozen, adding 2 minutes each side to the cooking time.
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed – 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) drained weight
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon ground cumin, toasted
1/2 red capsicum (pepper), seeded and diced
1 large handful coriander (cilantro), leaves and stems finely chopped
1 handful mint, leaves only, chopped
4 spring onions (scallions), ends removed, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) olive oil
rocket (arugula) leaves
Cucumber-Yoghurt Sauce (below) or spiced tomato chutney
juice of 1/2 lime (optional)
toasted panini (optional)
Note: For a vegan alternative, replace the egg with chia paste. To make the paste, mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds (crushed) with 1 tablespoon water.
In a small blender, pulse-chop the chickpeas until some are coarsely chopped and some are puréed.
In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the chickpeas, egg, cumin, capsicum, chopped herbs, spring onions, garlic, lemon zest, rice flour and salt. Form some of the mixture into a little patty about 3 cm (11/4 inches) in diameter and fry in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. This should only take 2 minutes per side. Taste the patty and decide whether you need to adjust the salt or any of the other ingredients.
Roll the mixture into eight evenly sized balls. Flatten them into patties, cover and refrigerate or freeze until using.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and carefully add as many patties as will fit in a single layer. Cook until a golden brown crust has formed on one side – about 4 minutes – then gently flip the patties and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. Remove to one side and drain on paper towel, cover with a tea towel (dish towel) and leave somewhere warm (such as a low-temperature oven) while you repeat with the remaining patties.
Serve with rocket leaves and cucumber-yoghurt sauce or a spiced tomato chutney, and squeeze a little lime juice over the top if desired. If you need bread with your burger, serve with toasted panini.
Many cultures share the idea of a cool, cucumber-yoghurt-mint sauce – and we use them interchangeably. If it’s to go with Indian food, it’s raita; if it’s Greekish it’s tzatziki. And let’s not even get into Turkish cacik or Lebanese laban. They all give freshness and lift to spicy or oily food. A basic recipe to go with everything is 260 g (91/4 oz/1 cup) plain yoghurt, 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber (peeled, grated and the water squeezed out), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon chopped mint. Mix together well and call it whatever you like.