Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Independence Day Grill: The Alternative Burger
The Israel-dwellers among my gentle readers are probably still contemplating their bellies in pain and reflecting on the gorging fest they may have taken part in lately, otherwise known as "the Yom Ha'atzmaut Mangal". We discussed this interesting anthropological phenomenon last year. And, without fail, the woods were thick with meaty smoke this year, too.
We were invited to a barbecue (=mangal) at the home of dear friends, and in lieu of vegetable skewers I decided to bring something else. A short search on google for vegan patties yielded all sorts of things, but none of the versions really captured the spirit of the holiday. Since this is Israel, I wanted the patties to have a bit of falafel aroma, which you can obtain using cumin and turmeric and paprika; also, the patties have a mix of lentils and chickpeas. I use oat bran to bond them together. They held nicely on the grill and were all eaten immediately (by us and by the meat eaters!). Not a morsel was left. Fortunately, my friend Ilan was around with his new camera and managed to take a picture before they disappeared.
Vegan Patties with a Hint of Falafel
3 cups green lentils
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2-3/4 cup oat bran
5 garlic cloves
3 tbsps cumin
3 tbsps turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
big handful of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Soak lentils and chickpeas in water; chickpeas take longer - a few hours - but lentils are happy after they're soaked for twenty minutes or so. Then, strain and cook in a big pot of water until tender. Strain again, saving about 1/2 cup of the liquid.
Place lentils and chickpeas in food processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup oat bran and process. Add water if the thing refuses to puree, and oat bran gradually until the lentil paste can be shaped into small burgers that hold their shape. Add spices and parsley and garlic and keep processing. Taste to correct - since ingredients are cooked, it'll give you a pretty good idea of what it'll taste like eventually.
Place gently on grill (preferably on a tray, though these things don't fall apart so easy), and eat with pita, tchina and vegetables.