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Veggie Comfort Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grated zuchinni, after wrapping in kitchen towel/ cheesecloth and squeezing out the water. (Zuchinni adds a wonderful texture and moistness to all kinds of dishes, including potato pancakes, meatloaf, and even carrot cake.)
  • 1/2 cup grated potato. You can leave the skin on if you like, but it’s probably better to remove it. To reduce cooking time, you can also add roughly-mashed cooled boiled potatoes (i.e., just potato, no cream, milk, etc.).
  • 3 canned shiitake mushrooms, finely minced. (You can use any mushroom, but shiitakes are reputed to aid in improving blood flow in human bodies.)
  • 1/2 small onion, grated.
  • 1 tsp of grated or finely minced garlic.
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flake [optional].
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour for protein. If you cannot find this flour, grind your own from dried chickpeas.
  • 1/2 cup white flour. (You should “cut” besan with regular white flour, to reduce the chances of burning your burgers/ pancakes. Once you’ve burned high-protein ingredients once, you’ll know better.)
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil. You can use olive oil, but it has a low smoke point and burns easily.
  • 1 tbsp butter.
  • 3-4 small (bocconcinni) mozarella balls, sliced thinly but without falling apart. (Bocconcinni are popular enough these days that any good cheese shop, Italian market, or even the deli counter at a large supermarket will have them. You can substitute proper buffalo mozzarella, but it’s more expensive. If you can’t get either, regular grated or sliced mozarella will work as well.)

Preparation

  • In one bowl, combine all of the above ingredients, down to and including the red pepper flake (if using).
  • In another bowl, combine the two flours, then the egg. You want a fairly pasty consistency, so you may need to add a bit more water.
  • Now combine all of the ingredients together. With a large spoon, scoop up some mixture and see whether it’ll fall off the spoon. If not, add 1-2 tbsp of water and mix. (Repeat if necessary.)
  • Heat a skillet or non-stick frying pan on high with the cooking oil and butter.
  • When the butter has melted – and before it burns – turn the heat down to medium high.
  • Cook in batches: Ladle a heaping tablespoonful of mixture into the hot oil, and dab it down gently to flatten into a disc. Carefully place a slice of bocconcinni mozarella cheese in the center of the disc. Now ladle another spoonful of mixture on top to cover the cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip over. Cook 2nd side for about 2 minutes. (Chickpea flour needs to be thoroughly cooked.) Repeat for each burger.

Presentation
You can serve these pancake/ burgers with a chunky tomato sauce or salsa, with a dollop of sour cream, or with lettuce and a slice of tomato and onion on a burger bun.