A Burger By Any Other Name

So you all must have heard of the plant based burgers – beyond burger and impossible burger, they look like meat, taste like meat but are not meat. This is a big hit across the world especially for meat eaters trying to give up meat. Just recently, I heard on the news that soon in the USA, a law may be passed that bans the usage of ‘burger’ even if it says veggie burger, if no meat is used. Burger according to them has to be meat, not lab grown, but from an animal. They are also going against the use of rice for example cauliflower rice where the ‘rice’ is actually grated cauliflower. I can see where that could be mistaken for rice with cauliflower, like lemon rice is rice with lemon flavoring or spinach rice is rice with spinach. But a veggie burger seems quite self explanatory, it is a burger made of veggies.

Read more here!

In India, when I was growing up, we did not have that problem because we hardly used the word burger. We had a word for ‘burgers’ and they were cutlets. No, they are not what the rest of the world thought of a cutlet. These were vegetables (mainly potato with some beans, carrot and cauliflower) or meat or fish, minced or mashed with spices of course, shaped as patties and coated usually with semolina and deep fried. They are crisp on the outside and moist in the inside and spicy. This was an ideal snack to be eaten after school or when you have guests. In India, there is a coffee shop called India Coffee House (there is one in almost every city). They were started some time in the 1930s, the waiters have a uniform with a white turban, I sometimes wonder if the uniforms are the same ones from the 1930s. Their coffee is simple, good Indian filter coffee, cheap and no frills.  They are also known for their cutlets served with ketchup.So, here I am not sure if I should call it a burger or a cutlet or a patty. Call it what you want, but let me tell you it is delish! 

This burger is almost like falafel but the mushroom also gives it a slightly meaty texture.  I fried the mushrooms and had the garbanzo cooked and ready to go the previous day.  If you want to add spinach, go ahead and add a few handfuls of chopped spinach. I had also made some pesto the night before. Putting the burgers together did not take a lot of time, once prep was done.


400 grams mushrooms, sliced or chopped fine

1 medium onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can garbanzo beans or chickpeas (1 ¼ cups cooked chickpeas)

½ cup chickpea flour (besan)

2 tbsp sunflower seeds or watermelon seeds

2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves

1 green chilli, chopped (optional)

2 tsp cumin powder

 1 tsp chilli powder

Salt to taste

2-3 tbsp oil

Accompaniments (Whatever takes your fancy, but here are some options)

Sliced tomatoes, pesto, coriander chutney, raw onions, pickles, jalapeno pepper, lettuce, cheese, goat cheese, mayo, tahini or tamarind and date chutney


Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add onions and saute till golden brown

Add garlic and mushrooms and saute till mushrooms are cooked and it is dry

Cool and mince in a chopper or blender. If you are using finely chopped mushrooms, you can skip this step

If using from a tin, rinse garbanzo beans/ chick peas

Mash the beans using a masher or in a chopper. It has to be coarse so there is some texture to it

Mix the beans with mushrooms and add the sunflower/ watermelon seeds

Add a tablespoon of gram flour at a time and mix

You should get a mixture that is not too sticky but it should not be like a dough

Leave it in the refrigerator for ½ hour

Heat oil in a pan

Form patties and pan fry on a low flame. Flip and fry the other side

Serve with burger buns and a few accompaniments of your choice or just eat it plain



One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s