Sheila O'Kelly's Blog

Freelance journalist, sub-editor, and e-novelist

Budget, tasty, vegetarian burgers and pilaff

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Spicy lentil burgers and Brown rice pilaff

Just replace butter with oil for vegans.

While this might sound a bit sandals and puritanism it’s actually a family favourite. The burgers are very well flavoured and the rice is cooked with a little butter, stock and thyme and is a nice moist accompaniment to the burgers. If you like, you could also serve steamed vegetables. If I have any veg suitable in I do, but otherwise I don’t bother.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

The burgers are adapted from ‘Spicy and delicious’ by Priya Wickramasinghe; and the Brown rice pilaff from, ‘Cooking school secrets for real world cooks’ a rather bossy, but extremely useful, cookbook by Linda Carucci.

This meal is also extremely cheap. Again the ingredients list might look a bit lengthy, but most of them are spices.
Before you start, you need to know that the lentils must be soaked in an equal volume of cold water for at least four hours (or overnight).
Start the rice pilaff first and while it is cooking you can make the burgers.

Brown rice pilaff

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter (or 2tbsp for vegans)
  • 1 standard sized onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs (I have often used dried thyme instead)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock made from good powder or cube (I like Marigold boullion or Kallo organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt crystals (I like Maldon)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dried raisins or currants

How I do it

  1. Chop the onion very finely in a food processor or with a knife
  2. Cook it gently in butter until it is getting soft
  3. Add the pine nuts and cook slowly for another few minutes
  4. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the brown rice. Toast the rice for about 60 seconds stirring all the time.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 40 minutes until rice is tender.

Spicy lentil burgers (makes about 12)

Ingredients

Spices

  • 1tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamoms

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper

How I do it

  1. Soak lentils in water for at least 4 hours (but not more than 24)
  2. Drain lentils in sieve or colander
  3. Grind lentils about 3 tablespoons at a time in a liquidiser, or all in one go in a food processor
  4. Add chopped onion and rest of ingredients (including spices) to mixture and grind again
  5. Heat ½ inch of flavourless oil (like sunflower) in a frying pan
  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of lentil mixture into a hot frying pan, flattening them into a burger shape. Cook on one side for about two minutes and then turn and cook other side. They should be golden brown. You will need to cook them in two or three batches.
  7. Drain on kitchen paper. You can keep them in a low oven for up to an hour before serving.
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Written by SOKNH

September 16, 2009 at 18:51

Posted in 1, Main courses, Recipes

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