July 7, 2011

Chickpea Burger — guilt-free, veggie option to spice up your summer grill

This has been quite an educating and rewarding week for me. I happened to spent some time generally lazing around and surfing on the web, stopping by some inspirational food photography blogs. Blogs that are already on my radar, as well as discovering new awe-inspiring ones and adding them to the list. As always, I am hugely struck by the amazing skills of the people working behind the screens. Multitalented people who can cook, write and—take gorgeous photographs.

More often than not I’m so much in awe of such versatile personalities that it kinda borders envy. Frankly, I envy their skills. See...with a whooping passion to create beautiful imagery, each time I connect to my little space after hitting another awesome blog, I cannot help feeling a twinge of disappointment. Yes, disappointment at my lack of creativity, and lack of efforts in making this space a better place for you and I to stop by and enjoy. As they say, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Perhaps a total amateur like me needs to travel long miles before ever thinking of having that kinda picture here.

I wish I had at least three essential gears to improve my food shots: a good digital SLR camera, a tripod and some good vintage props. Er…not to mention the extra cash needed to go shopping or prop hunting—sigh. Wonder why I didn’t venture into food photography and styling when I had a good career!!? I could easily have splurged dollars without second thoughts. In retrospect, when I had a job I was busy with my work responsibilities during the day, and my lessons and school at night. All in an attempt to climb the corporate ladder. Sadly, I had no time to purse any other passion—it’s no good pretending otherwise.

Six months ago (yep, I'm counting), when I started my blog adventure, I never knew it would be so fulfilling and rewarding. Particularly when blogging is an expensive obsession and I’m earning no money in return. But today, half a year later, I feel I'm truly lucky to have experienced such great memories, such enriching moments. Today, I’m glad to have found my niche—to be part of a creative virtual community where borders and time zones don't exisit, and to have learned a ton in the meanwhile. This’s a cultural melting pot, way beyond the scale of multicultural environments I’m used to, when I was employed in a corporate environment. It’s been a truly humbling opportunity and needless to say, without your encouragement I simply wouldn’t have survived this long. You make this space different, this journey worthwhile. You are an amazing audience. You, whom I’ve never met face-to-face, yet you who still bring a smile to my face.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Okay, let’s hit the recipe. What do you say about a veggie burger—a patty resembling a hamburger but made with vegetable protein instead of the classic meat, and slathered with homemade condiments like coriander and tamarind chutney? Sounds like a healthy option for summer entertainment, right? Especially if you have veggies at your party or barbeque.

I love using pickled jalapenos in sandwiches, salads, and pizzas; I used it here too. For the veggies, I used slices of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, tender green ends of lettuce, olives, coriander and zucchini. There are no hard and fast rules—use your imagination, taste, or handy ingredients to guide you. Make big fatty patties or flat ones diminutive in size. For a fun party food, you can even make mini burgers. Whatever, it’s quite satiating.
Chickpea burger

(lightly adapted from Good Food magazine)


For patty
400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 small zucchini (courgette), trimmed, peeled and grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 egg white (optional)
juice of 1 lime
1 small green chili, sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves (coriander), chopped
100g breadcrumbs, divided
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

To serve
sesame seed burger buns or wholegrain buns, halved crossways and toasted in butter
1 cucumber, finely sliced
lettuce leaves, clipped to bun size pieces (I used Frisbee)
1 large tomato, sliced
1 small onion, finely sliced
pickled jalapeno, 2 slices per burger (optional)
black olive slices, to serve
chili sauce, to serve
coriander sprigs, to serve

For coriander chutney
1 cup tightly packed cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 green chili, sliced
3 small shallots
1/3 cup water

For sweet tamarind chutney
2 teaspoon tamarind paste
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon chat masala powder
½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (optional)
1 cup water


In a food processor, slightly pulse the chickpeas, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, green chili, chili flakes, egg white (if using) and some seasoning. Scrape into a bowl and mix with 80g of breadcrumbs, diced onions and zucchini.

Divide mixture evenly into 6-8 patties and shape into big fat patties or flat diminutive ones, as you prefer. Press remaining breadcrumbs onto both sides and chill for about15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the chutneys. To make coriander chutney, toast the cumin and mustard sees in a skillet until fragrant. Then, place all ingredients in a blender, and purée until smooth; set aside. For the tamarind chutney, mix all ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool—the mixture will thicken as it cools.

Add oil to a non-stick skillet, swill to coat, and heat over medium heat until just beginning to smoke. Fry the chilled burgers 5-6 minutes each side or until crisp brown crust has formed, making sure they don’t burn.

Brush the insides of the buns lightly with butter, then place cut side down on a grill pan and cook until toasted, about a minute.

For each burger, spread a generous amount of coriander and tamarind chutney on the bottom of the bun, top with lettuce leaves, 2 slices tomato and 2 slices jalapeños. Place a patty each on top, then layer on the onion slices, cucumber, olives and coriander leaves. Top with a dollop of chili sauce, close the sandwich, slip into wax paper sleeves or insert skewers, and—chomp!

If you have any remaining chutney, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. 

These days I cannot think straight with the kinda of hot, dusty atmosphere where I live in. I just can't wait to have a lovely break and enjoy the monsoon rains back home. Soon, I know.

For now, I'm leaving you with this good-for-your-health burger and I hope you get to try it. Enjoy the weekend!


  1. Looks so tempting and inviting... Delicious patty...

  2. Superb!! pics makes me hungry...

  3. OMG Nash..without a DSLR these results..Too good. As always..you amaze me with every post. Looks so so tempting, colourful and I am just running out of words to describe it..
    Actually you should also start a blog on some write ups ...you are a superb writer too. :)

    We both started almost at the same time and just see what you have achieved. Congrats dear!!!

  4. wow this burger looks amazing and stunning photography......this new creation is tempting me!!!

    Happy Blogging!!!!
    Food Blog News Daily
    Good Food Recipes

  5. looks so tempting....nice clicks...

  6. Burger looks way too tempting! Lovely clicks as usual!

  7. Burger looks too good to be true:) The pics amaze me ... very nice. U have a good sense of food styling and colour... Great work Dear:)

  8. what a great recipe...gorgeous clicks.

  9. This is too good,looks so inviting and healthy,can't wait to try this..yum

  10. So healthy and yummy looking burger.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  11. Thats so sooo healthy..looks so tempting..jus cant wait to try it...
    Amazing picss....loveeee the first one

  12. Burger looks tempting dear...Your pics make them superb...lovely clicks..

  13. Awesome dear,love the pics...veg burger looks appealing to all my senses

  14. awesome clicks...lovely recipe..:)

  15. I'm always looking for an awesome veggie burger and chickpeas are some of my favorite ingredients. This looks really healthy and delicious!

  16. flavourful delicious meal looks wonderful lovely pictures

  17. Awesome clicks that too without a DSLR ,you rock girl.The veggie burger looks so tempting.

  18. Burger looks so tempting .. yummm

    Event: Fast food not Fat food

  19. Perfect and yumm clicks

  20. Killer pics...would love 2 grab that burger off d screen..looks too tempting

  21. thats a great veggie idea..ur pics are great. worry not :)

  22. That's looks fantastic!

  23. Wow!!! Nash, amazing dear. I want that burger now..... Drooling pics. Simply superb as usual..:)

  24. I can connect to every word you said, with the emotions ranging from excitement to disappointment, from envy to new resolves...all the best in this pursuit of yours! You take great pictures and the only way to go is upward...BTW I think we should exchange notes...what say?

  25. Healthy but yet so very scrumptious ! I think you are moving up at a very rapid pace up the learning curve..Each one betters the previous one

  26. I hear you... the excitement...the envy and then hoping our pictures to look better every day. If you started your space 6 months back and this is how your pictures have improved .. I must say you are doing amazingly well. I too started 6 months back and see my pictures .. still crying out loud for some light, compositions, props ..god knows what not more.
    Talking about the burger .. delicious and simple. :)

  27. You are brilliant! I love vegan burgers like that...last night I had a veggie burger and can you say...yummy! So this looks fantastic! (and it's homemade which rawks!)

  28. aww that was a sweet comment u left on my post..my email id is mykitchenantics@gmail.com :)

  29. Hey! You guys are so, so sweet—thanks much! ♥

    Aw, Rinku, you are a doll! Don’t think I could ever compare to an enthusiastic person like you, let alone have the time or patience to cook and share such delicious collection of recipes as you have in your space.

    Reva, you make me blush dear.. thank you :)

    Suja and Kurryleaves : If you are into veggie burgers, I hope you get to try this!

    Hey Xiaolu, thanks much for popping over—truly delighted to see you here! Yep, chickpea is a lovely twist to veggie burgers.

    Nisha, you are a sweetheart! Thanks a bunch for your kind support.

    Hey Anamika…sounds like a fun idea…count me in! And thanks so much for the lovely note ☺

    Gayathri…thank you, sweetness. Can’t wait to see ya!

    Ahh Kanaka, you rock! So does the lovely space you share with us on the web. Makes it all the more precious to see your sweet comments… :)

    Hey Charissa, thanks for stopping by and sharing your lovely thoughts!

  30. this burger is lovely! And what a wonderful idea to use chickpeas instead of meat :) Your blog is an inspiration for people like me! i look forward to seeing your posts and your gorgeous pics every couple of days! I have to agree that maintaining a blog is a time-consuming and an expensive hobby! But its one that I look forward to... and it de-stresses me from my other stressful job :) Though Ive always wished I had more time to blog and take pics. Let me know if you can stop by in Bangalore! I'd be over-joyed to meet up with you...

  31. YUM! What a fabulous burger!

  32. Superb burgers - I'll take guilt free, any day :))

  33. healthy and yummy burger. pics looks awsm as usual

  34. Oh.. such a yummy burger.. love the pictures.. like always :)

  35. madhu singhJuly 11, 2011

    hi nash, honestly and very honestly i am impressed... i am a very proud neighbour now... very soon you are going to make it huge... and what beautiful photography with that small camera... i am in love with your work... and as you've said in your beautiful lines above.. i am always keen to know behind the scene stuff too... & when i saw you doing it in reality i was like wow, this isnt for everybody, you've got immense talent seriously..and i would say you aint lazy at all, thats not something a lazy person could ever ever do.
    i am gonna try making this yummy burger very soon.. its made me so hungry... oh btw if you ever need my help for tasting your recipes you know my villa no;)
    well i've typed a huge honest opinion... and i'm truly being very honest with you...
    loads of good luck to ya neighbour;)

  36. You are def not an amateur , I love looking at your pics and think that you are an amazing photographer , the burgers look delish and btw , njan naatil ethi mole , adipoly climate thenneya ;) , take care nash .

  37. hey Nash- totally agree with you that blogging has been such a rewarding experience. As far as the fact that it just takes time and money without producing any dollars, well I just think of it this way - you gotta eat, right? might as well take a couple of pictures while you're at it. I know its more than that but hey thats my story and I am sticking to it :) You have some amazing talent. The burger looks tastier than any I've seen lately and the photography just makes it all the more irresistible.
    US Masala

  38. Lovely idea, that looks great. Your photography is awesome. Gorgeous pictures, I seriously love them.

  39. Adorable photography nash dearie!!!! love each and every pic ♥♥...
    So we are all good food fans alle..

  40. Wonderful clicks. Burger looks delicious
    South Indian Recipes

  41. OMG.. this is the best shot of this month... awesome dear..never seen a better burger snap than this.. :)

  42. AnonymousJuly 14, 2011


    I have been following your blog regularly, but first time posting a comment.. Actually after whenever I visit your blog , I have that feeling 'Oh what amazing photos.. nice props and colours' .. Truly your blog is a visual treat to the eyes.. My fav. snap was that of avial..how you made it look so exotic.. :)

  43. This is one gorgeous, tempting burger!!! Loved the clicks too :)And you call yourself an amateur in photography??? You must be kidding gurl!!! Pics of each of ur posts never fail to amaze me...Keep at it!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  44. I think you are being a bit harsh on yourself. The pics are all so good, no one would think they were captured by a 6 month old blogger. Way to go!

  45. Thanks all for being so sweet, kind and generous! Reminds me why I enjoy blogging...! :)

    Hey Madhu, glad to see you here :) And many thank for your sweet honesty. I'm truly blessed to have a lovely neighbor like you, seriously! We need to spend more time together.. :)

  46. I share the same sentiment- blogging is very rewarding in its own way...beautiful memories:)

    Oh man, I love your photographs so much, each and every picture' looks great' I love gazing at the pictures than making a mental note of the recipes, hehe.

  47. First time here. You have a lovely space. Love your style of writing :) The burger looks very tempting....

  48. Your pictures are so beautiful. Everything looks really tempting! I would love to try this one out. Like your other recipes too.

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi