RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Home-Away-from-Home Curry Burgers

When I spent a year in London as a teenager, I learned about the wonders of fast, inexpensive, and delicious Indian food, and these flavors became ingrained in my appetite. Now, years later, I can finally get some of this lovely food in local Midwestern restaurants. But I really enjoy carrying the flavors into my own cooking, here marrying an everyday American veggie burger with the tastes of British-Indian curry.

Ingredients 

Yogurt Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup yogurt
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of cayenne

Curry Burger Ingredients
1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided, plus more for the grill
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup peeled, diced russet potato
1 small white onion, cut into eighths
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup rolled oats (uncooked), plus 1-2 tablespoons more as needed
1 egg
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup finely diced or shredded paneer (halloumi, juusto/bread cheese, or mozzarella can substitute)
1-2 tablespoons cream, as needed

Assembly Ingredients
6 burger-size rectangles of naan, cut from 1-3 pieces depending on their size, or substitute soft pita bread (not pocket style)
6 tablespoons prepared Major Grey chutney
1/3 cup finely diced cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup chopped mint

Instructions 

Make Yogurt Sauce.
Stir together yogurt, onion, salt, sugar, and cayenne. Refrigerate.

Prepare Curry Burgers.
Heat gas grill to medium high.

Toss cauliflower, potatoes, and onion in 1/2 tablespoon oil, and cook in an oiled vegetable basket until they are cooked through and browned around the edges. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Meanwhile, in a small, heavy, fire-safe skillet, toast black pepper, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Remove spices from skillet and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, ginger, and tomato paste in skillet, stirring for about 1 minute. Add toasted spices, and stir for anther minute. Add some of the chickpeas (about 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on how much you can put in the skillet and still stir easily). Stir until the chickpeas are coated with the spices, another minute or so.

Combine all the chickpeas (including the spices), about half of the roasted vegetables (try to include most of the onions), 1/2 cup oats, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine and mash, but not to puree. Add peas, cheese, and remaining roasted vegetables, and pulse again just to combine. Adjust the texture by adding some of the reserved oats or a little cream to get a moist mixture that holds together when pressed lightly. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for about 15 minutes, if possible (longer is OK, too, but bring the mixture back to room temperature before cooking).

When you are ready to cook the burgers, gently form burger mixture into 6 slightly oval patties. Lightly oil the grill grates, and cook burgers until well browned, carefully flipping once, about 5 minutes on each side. For the last 3 minutes or so, set the naan on a cooler part of the grill (around the sides, or at the front or back, depending on how the grill can be adjusted), to warm and slightly toast, turning once.

Assemble Sandwiches.
Spread one side of each piece of naan with yogurt sauce, reserving about 2 tablespoons of sauce. Place a burger on each piece of naan, and drizzle with remaining yogurt sauce. Top each with a dollop of chutney, and sprinkle with cucumber, cashews, and mint. Serve open-faced.

Comments 

Consider making extra sauce and preparing extra condiments so guests can customize their own burgers. Almost all of the preparation can be done up to a day in advance, so this meal can come together quickly when you are ready to eat.