Chickpea Patties Smothered in Vegetable Gravy

Simple and nourishing spiced chickpea patties served with a thick spiced gravy made from fresh vegetables, This recipe was part of a mini feast I cooked up for my husband and best friend Basil. Chickpeas are likely my favorite legume and, served with a thick spicy vegetable gravy, the meal was pronounced a "classic" according to Basil. I served this dish with a Tomato and Goat Cheese Crustless Quiche with quinoa.

I never can resist experimenting in the kitchen, even when the temperatures soar here in London. Factor in the humidity, and you figure there is a likelihood that one could spontaneously combust. I tend to stick with salads more often than not when it is 30°C or higher, but sometimes I get a craving and cook up something a little fancier. Really, these spicy and nourishing patties don't take long to mix up and fry, and the wonderfully fragrant fresh vegetable gravy is straightforward too, especially if you have a sous chef to help out with the prep. Thanks to hubby for helping out.

These patties can even be made into delicious veggie burgers, with some of the gravy spooned onto the patty, along with other toppings. To make the patties vegan friendly, use a flax egg instead of a dairy egg and omit butter. The vegetable gravy can be made ahead of time and warmed in a pan with a little added water. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days in a sealed container, and makes a wonderful addition to cooked rice or all kinds of other dishes, so if you are making burgers with these chickpea delights, then consider using the gravy on the side with anything else you desire.

Chickpea patties:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 small bunch of green onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 to 4 green or red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten, or 1 flax egg (*see note)
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached, whole wheat or quinoa flour
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • sesame oil for frying
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight covered in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juiced added. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.
  • Place the cooked chickpeas in a food processor and add the garlic, green onions, chilies, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, coriander and cayenne. Process to a coarse paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the cilantro, egg, flour, salt and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Flour your hands and shape the dough into 10 to 12 patties about 1/2-inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of sesame oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry the patties for about 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another few minutes until lightly browned on each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 150° oven.
  • *Note: To make one flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Let sit for 15 minutes before using.
  • Serve warm covered with generous spoonfuls of warm vegetable gravy (recipe below).
Vegetable gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil(optional)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 green or red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups mixed chopped fresh vegetables (I used zucchini, green pepper, cauliflower, green beans and white mushrooms)
  • Note: avoid using root vegetables
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and stir for 10 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. Now add the garlic, chilies, cayenne, celery, salt, tarragon and thyme, and continue to fry for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock or water to the pan and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the remaining cup of vegetable stock or water together with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Increase the heat under the pan to medium-high and stir in the whisked cornstarch and stock or water. Continue to simmer for a few minutes, and then add the vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the gravy has a thick consistency.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days in a sealed container and gently reheat in a saucepan with a little added water.
Makes 10 to 12 burger-size patties and 4 cups of vegetable gravy

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