Let’s pretend, just for a second, that summer is here and that our evening’s are spent sitting in the garden in the balmy-haze-end of a hot day, drinking something cool and eating a multi-coloured, crisp, textured, vibrant salad and a selection of lightly grilled meats and vegetables studded with garlic and flecked with herbs from the garden, new potatoes, freshly dug from the earth, steam gently under a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh mint. Our weekends are filled with trips to the beach, picnics packed – light crisp tarts, quinoa salads, cold chicken and cucumber ribbons -, laden with cool drinks – homemade ginger lemonade and raspberry cream soda - and lush, ripe fruit to refresh us, we end the day with a sparkling sun downer and a meal fit for a king cooked on a barbeque and brimming with flavour and spice – spatchcock chicken with mango and lime marinade, lamb kebabs with preserved lemon salsa, curried chickpea burgers with fresh tomato salad -, all in celebration of the exotic that the warm weather allows us to conjure. Let’s just pretend.
I can’t really give you any of that, except, of course, for the recipes. We may not be having the kind of summer that halcyon days are made of but we’re British, so we’ll crack on regardless. I’d like to think that these Curried Chickpea Burgers go some way in bridging the summer rainy day conundrum. Packed full of nutrient rich quinoa and chopped chickpeas, made creamy by softened carrots and onion and richly flavoured with curry paste, you can cook them on the stove or on the barbeque. They make a good base for a summery supper; you can even wrap them in iceberg lettuce leaves to form a burger in a bun (as seen here). They freeze well and you don’t need to worry about defrosting them, you can simply fry them gently from frozen until cooked through, making them handy little things. I have chosen to use cooked quinoa to bind though you could use cooked rice instead, though be warned, it will make the burgers a lot denser. I’ve also used a curry paste to flavour, which I realise some will consider lazy but I rather like some of the pre-made blends out there, I tend to lean towards the mild to medium spectrum, but as these are your burgers, choose whatever suits your tastes.
CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS
Makes 8 burgers
175g cooked quinoa
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 white onion
1 tbsp curry paste of your choice, just ensure it is gluten and dairy free
3 tbsp gram flour
3 tbsp olive oil
Begin by peeling the onion and carrots and then finely grating, either by hand or using a food processor. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan and then gently fry the onion and carrots until softened – approximately 10 minutes.
Place the chickpeas and cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl and crush together with a fork until you have a coarse, lightly-bound paste. Add the softened onion, carrot and curry paste, season with a little sea salt and black pepper and mash together with a fork until bound together.
Using your hands, form the mixture into 8 burger patties and then coat each burger in gram flour, using as much or as little flour as you need to generously coat the burgers.
Heat the remaining oil in the large frying pan over a medium flame, add the burgers to the pan and fry the burgers on both sides until golden, slightly crisp and heated through.
While the cakes are frying dice the tomatoes, avocado and coriander. Mix together in a small bowl with the lemon juice and season to taste. Serve the burgers with a little pile of tomato salad on top and whatever accompaniments you like – roasted sweet potato wedges and a big green salad go very well, FYI.