Moist and spiced, these delicious chickpea cakes make a great family vegetarian dinner with homemade oven fries and salad.
Earthy and nutty, chickpeas love spices. So for these burgers, I've used harissa paste which adds exceptional flavour as well as a spicy kick. Harissa, if you are not familiar with it, is a North African chilli paste made from chillis, olive oil and a variety of spices - usually caraway, coriander and cumin seeds. It has a slightly smoky, fiery flavour which I think makes these burgers really special. If you have difficulty finding it, Mustapha's Moroccan Harissa is a good option online. Otherwise, you can substitute an alternative chilli sauce if you want to.
This recipe will give you about 8 to 10 vegetarian burgers.
400g (2 cups) of dried chickpeas or 4 400g/14oz tins
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of harissa
Juice of a lemon
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg white
4 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander/cilantro (this is nice but not essential)
Gram flour (chickpea flour) or wheat flour to coat.
Sunflower or canola oil for frying
If you are using dried chickpeas for this vegetarian burger recipes, soak them in plenty of water overnight.
Drain the beans, then boil in fresh water for about 40 minutes or until soft.
For more information on cooking dried beans, see my detailed instructions on how to cook beans.
Put the cooked chickpeas in a food processor with the onion, garlic, cumin seeds, harissa paste, lemon juice and salt.
Whizz the mixture for a couple of minutes until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl or dish.
Lightly beat the egg with a fork and add to the bowl with the chopped coriander (cilantro). Mix very well. If the mixture seems wet, you can add some breadcrumbs or crushed crackers.
Now shape the mixture into vegetarian burgers. The best way to do this is to take a fistful of the mix and roll it into a ball between your palms. Place the ball on a board scattered very liberally with gram flour. (You can also use wheat flour to coat but gram flour gives a lovely golden colour to the burgers and has a pleasant savoury flavour.) Roll around to coat and then flatten slightly to make a burger shape.
There are a few ways to cook veggie burgers. To fry, heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a pan or skillet and fry the vegetarian burgers for a few minutes on each side. I like to transfer them to a hot oven for a few minutes to give them a nice even crisp coating but you can skip this step if you like.
Alternatively, if you want to cut the fat, cook the veggie burgers in the oven on a baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with oil. Cook in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. If you are cooking the burgers on the barbeque, brush with oil first and barbeque as normal.
I love these chickpea burgers with a yoghurt sauce like raita.
Like most vegetarian burger recipes, these also freeze very well. Shape and cook the burgers as normal, then open freeze on trays for a couple of hours. Before using, defrost the chickpea burgers and reheat them in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.