Monday, April 23, 2012

South Indian Lentil Burgers

What would you do if you had an extra hundred bucks this month? For me this is hypothetical, as I never have an extra $100 or even $20 by the time I get paid again. I am, how you say... a spender? Yeah. Terrible at saving. Tyler, on the other hand, always has extra money in his bank account (we keep our money outside of household stuff separate).  In this fantasy where I have an extra 100 bills here's what I would do.

I'd like to say I'd hire a cleaning lady, but that seems unfair that I have to spend my $100 windfall on something boring like cleaning. Plus, Tyler thinks it's crazy to pay somebody to clean when he has a free cleaning lady. Me.

I should probably also buy a new hairdryer as the nozzle on mine is currently being held on with hockey tape (all I could find) due to Parker chucking it across the bathroom. More than once. But I think what I'd really do is spend half on cheese and other gourmet food at a specialty food store and spend the other half on a new top or make up for spring. I'm so practical that way.

Luckily, these South Asian Lentil Burgers are cheap, cheap, cheap to make. You probably have most of the stuff already. These can also be eaten on their own with a salad or roasted veg on the side rather than having them as a burger. Either way, these are super healthy with high fiber but huge on flavour too. Just don't do what I did and respond to your husband's request of burgers with these. Delicious, yes, but "man burgers" they are not.

Serves 4
The lentils and rice have to soak for 3-5 hours, so plan accordingly.
  • 1/2 cup dried green or brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 inch piece peeled fresh ginger  
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed (optional)
  • 1 cup packed kale, stems removed, or spinach or arugula
  • 1/2 cup peas, thawed if from frozen
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
  • 1 scallion, cut into 1/2 lengths
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt  
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 Naan bread, cut into quarters
  • topping for burgers: Thai sweet chili sauce is good, or the raita in the original Bon Appetit recipe which I didn't feel like making
Place lentils and rice in a bowl and add water to cover by 3 inches. Set aside for 3-5 hours, then drain and proceed with recipe.

Place lentils, rice, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno if using in a food processor. Process until a grainy paste forms (add a little water if necessary). Add peas, parley (or cilantro), scallion, salt and pepper. Process until all is chopped and well combined.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Form 1/4 cup lentil mixture into a ball, then flatten into a patty and place in pan. Repeat with 3 or 4 more- as many as will fit in pan without crowding. Cook 4 minutes, then drizzle 1tbsp olive oil over tops of patties. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining lentil mixture.

To serve, place 1 lentil patty on Naan bread "bun" (two quarters of Naan bread) with desired toppings. Serving size is two burgers per person.

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