Monday, February 13, 2012

Tour of the World Sliders

Yesterday I decided to have burgers. Veggie burgers are usually something consumed at a Chili's or some place where you have no other options without saying "Can I have the chicken salad without the chicken?" They are usually some form of commercially available black bean patty that has little flavor. I usually smother mine in mustard and jalapenos plus or minus hot sauce. 

On my way to the store I had this slightly insane idea of making a veggie patty base and making multiple different spiced patties and toppings. My mind started racing: "I could make an Indian patty by adding curry and smother it with a lovely raita and maybe lemon pickle. I could make a harissa patty.  I could make a Japanese patty with wasabi..." You get the picture. This is what I ultimately decided on: Mexican, German, and Thai sliders.

Tour of the World Sliders
serves 2

The Base:
1/2 of a 14 oz block of firm tofu
1/2 cup of TVP ( if you don't have TVP other sources of a liquid absorbing agent could be used like breadcrumbs)
1 egg
1/2 cube of veggie bullion (mostly just used for salt so you could use some soy sauce)

This is not a meat tenderizer. It is a garlic smasher.
The spices:
2 tsp of Thai green curry paste
2 tsp guajillo chili powder
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper

small amount of oil for cooking

Not the prettiest pic but just to illustrate the pasty consistency.
Press the tofu for a few minutes to extract some of the water.* Pulse the base in food processor until it all comes together. Allow to sit for 30 min so the egg can soak into TVP. Split the base into three bowls. Add curry paste to one. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic and salt to one. And just salt the last one.  When ready to cook place a small amount of oil in a frying pan and heat to med high. I formed my patties by smashing them in a ring form but you can form them by hand. Place in oil and cook on each side for two minutes until nicely browned.

*I always press tofu by wrapping in a paper towel and placing between two plates. Then place a heavy book on top. I even have a special cookbook that I never cook from but keep just for this purpose.

The toppers:

Asian cucumber salad
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded and sliced very thin
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice venegar
2 cloves of garlic minced

Just stir together and let sit in the fridge while preparing other parts.

Pico de Gallo
6 assorted cherry tomatoes (or one medium tomato), chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice

Again just mix together and refrigerate.
Fried onions 
1/4 cup of all purpose flower
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup beer (preferably stolen from your husband's hands while he is drinking it)
salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 purple onion cut into strips
oil for frying

Heat oil in pan to medium high heat. (I did this before I cooked the patties so I could use the same oil and the same pan. This resulted in my patties being cooked in far more oil than necessary, but it was delicious.) Mix the batter together. It will be quite foamy at first. Just keep mixing. Add onion strips. Stir to coat them. Place them in the hot oil and fry til golden brown. Don't crowd the pan or they will all stick together. I did mine in a couple batches. Remove them from oil with slotted spoon and place on plate with paper towel. I then placed mine in a warm oven (around 200 degrees) to keep warm while cooking sliders

Also needed for topping:
smoked gouda
pepper jack
German mustard
sliced dill pickles

To make my bread a little more fancy, as they were just store bought slider buns (Gasp! I know. I should have made my own buns.), I brushed them with egg wash and put some of my left over minced garlic on some for the Mexican ones, fennel seeds and salt on top of the German ones and black sesame seeds on top of the Thai ones. I popped them in the warm oven while I was cooking. 

Assembly time: 

Thai patty+sriracha+cucumber salad+pepper jack
Regular patty+smoked gouda+mustard+onions+pickles
Mexican patty+pico+pepper jack 

I also put some regular mustard on the Mexican one too. Don't judge me. I'm from Texas. It's south of the Mayonnaise/Mustard Line.**
I know this all seems quite complicated but it only took me about an hour. It is all in time management. Get your base made first so it can rest for 30 minutes. Then do your salad toppers so they can hang out in the fridge. Heat your oil. Get your onions done and popped in the oven. Put your bread in the oven at the same time to warm up. Then it's time to make your patties. 

I could have been a sane person and made only one type, but it was a Sunday. I like to do cooking projects on the weekend.  Also, it was delicious. If I was doing this on a weeknight, I would have only made one. Also, this is the first time I have made this particular veggie patty base recipe. I've tried a lot, and they are always too soft. This was perfect consistency, like a Morningstar Farms patty. Sorry, I have to brag. I ad libbed this completely, and it was better than any recipe I have followed. I think I will make a bunch and freeze them rather than buying anymore frozen ones. Well, I will still buy Quorn patties because they are awesome, and I don't have access to weird mycoprotein stuff.

I will definitely do this again when I can't decide which delicious type of ethnic food to eat. Maybe I can get some little toothpick flags to hold them together. That would be too cute for a party food. Of note, Eric did the same thing with regular hamburger meat, and his advice was to mark which is which because he lost track for a moment. However, with the veggie ones it is easier to tell based on color. 

Despite the lengthy post, do not be intimidated. I just went a little mad scientist in the kitchen (insert insane laughter here), but these burgers are totally easy, especially if you do just one type. The base is versatile, delicious and packed with protein. So mix up the flavors and have fun.

**As mentioned in the caption above, the Mayonnaise/Mustard Line is the line that divides the North and South. It transects Huntington, West Virginia. Above this line is the North and the farther you go up north the more they just love mayonnaise. For instance, in Canada they put it on their french fries. Below this line is the mustard lovers. As an illustration of this, McDonald's offers the Texas Homestyle burger which is not covered in chili or barbeque sauce as you might imagine but is smothered in mustard. (This is a totally made up concept by me, but it's true and may have been yet another reason for the Civil War.)

No comments:

Post a Comment