Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Veggie burger vexations

The Age’s Epicure has a feature on vegie burgers. I love them: so filling and tasty with a nice hot serve of home made potato wedges sprinkled with salt on the side (sweet potato wedges are great too!).

“VEGIE burgers are nothing new. But they have gone mainstream - and in the process, for the most part, they've become worse.”

It’s true!! A few years ago, whenever I’d order a veggie burger while I was out, they’d be really flavourful, lots of punch, hot and crispy on the outside and bursting with herbs, spices and bursting with little juicy bits of vegetable. But now you find them everywhere, and they’re bland, tasteless mush. I don’t think the people who make them ever eat them themselves. Or they must think that we enjoy them being like eating mud cakes in bread.

When I make them at home, they taste awesome, but I haven’t mastered how to make them without them falling apart. Perhaps it’s my dad’s enthusiasm for flipping everything 20 times on the BBQ that makes them fall apart, or maybe it’s their construction method. I have come to learn that they really do need to rest for 30 mins in the fridge before placing them in the pan. This article has solutions to my problems! As Mark Bittman explains:

“Vegetables, legumes and nuts don't have the connective tissue that helps hold meat patties together, so they require a little binder to create a cohesive mass that can be shaped and handled. The idea is to use ingredients that bridge the gap between liquids and solids by capturing the moisture.”
Egg, butter, potato or bread are great ways to help them bind.

The other tip was: “There are three secrets to a vegie burger with a crisp outer crust and a tender interior: be sure there is enough hot fat in the pan before cooking; let the patties cook on one side until they are nicely browned; and don't overcook - you want them hot but not dry.”

Ah-ha! Excellent. There are also three recipes included so you can choose from tofu, bean or nut burgers. Mmmm... can't wait to try them!

Image source: The Age - Epicure

5 comments:

potty mouth mama said...

Mmmm. Sounds good. I might have to try some vegie burgers this weekend!

katiecrackernuts said...

I have printed off the recipes and will get cracking. Last night I was dreaming of cooking and baking. I found an old German cookbook from the 1950s with recipes for "thick gingerbread" and "thin gingerbread". Gotta try both. I also baked a huge vegie lasagne last night for tonight's dinner. Is the best lasagne ever, meat or not meat. I must post the recipe. Sooooo much to do. Too much.

Jenaveve said...

Noice! I've printed off the recipes already. Agreed with the resting bit - seems to be the key difference between a lot my success and failures. Also with the cooking method; this works for the juices in meat burgers so I guess it would also do wonders for any other type of burger in keeping it as moist as possible on the inside, and crisp on the outside. I wonder if, like with beef burgers again, a five minute rest after cooking would also make any difference? Hmmm.

Stacey said...

I love vegie burgers, especially ones with lentils. I think you've inspired me to try making them myself.

John Hurst said...

G'day Beth,

Your link on this page to

http://www.ajh.id.au/~ajh/personal/albums/2008/07/09/20080709-194229_1200x900.JPG

should be updated to

http://www.ajh.id.au/~ajh/personal/albums/2008/07/09/JohnsPics/20080709-194229_1200x900.JPG

Your friendly webbot,
John