Sweet Potato and Chickpea Burger with Tahini Spread

I was surfing the web and saw that most of the food-related updates were connected to the Superbowl. Finger foods, bar bites, burgers and beers comprised most of my news feed. To add to that, I was missing vada pav from back home. This dish was a result of all such thoughts. I decided to use sweet potato as the primary ingredient. Most vegetarian burgers contain mushrooms – but I’m not a big fan of them. To add some body to the burger, I used chickpeas. This combination worked great together and the patty had layers of flavour and texture. When slathered with some tahini yogurt dip topped with thinly sliced onions, it was a perfect bite. It is not very oily and the patty has loads of texture on its own. We paired it with wholemeal buns – but they are good enough to eat on their own. For those who are vegans, you can just skip the yogurt spread. I would love to hear how it turned out in case you try it 🙂

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 45 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients :

  • For burger patty

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2/3 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight. Else use canned ones.
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose / wheat flour
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste

  • For tahini spread

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet potato and chickpea burger

Sweet potato and chickpea burger with tahini spread


To make the patty:

  • If you are not using canned chickpeas, pressure cook or boil soaked chickpeas till they are soft.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato. Coarsely grate it to yield around 2 cups. Once grated, squeeze out the water from the sweet potato.
  • In a bowl, take the grated sweet potato, chickpeas, flour, salt and the spices. Mix well to combine. While mixing, try to keep different textures of the chickpeas. I left some whole, some were partly broken and some were smoothened into a paste.
  • Make rounds of the patty mixture and flatten them.
  • Sweet potato and chickpea burger patty

    Sweet potato and chickpea burger patty

  • Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame and add the oil. Place a flattened patty and let it cook on one side. After about 2 mins, flip it to the other side. Remove it when golden brown and crisp.

To make Tahini spread:

  • For the spread, take all the spread ingredients in a bowl and stir. It will seem thick at the start, but as you keep stirring it, you will get the desired consistency.
  • To assemble the burger, I placed the patty on the lower half of the bun, added a layer of onions on top of it and then topped it off with the delicious tahini spread. We had a great meal!

Tips:

  • Do not overcook the chickpeas. You need them to give texture to the patty.
  • Squeeze as much water as you can from the sweet potato. If the patty mixture is too “wet”, it will not get crisp.
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Hazelnut Biscuits / Hazelnut Nankhatai

During the course of the day, sometimes I feel like having or making something (forgive the cliche)… different. This is largely the outcome of one’s moods or just to stock up on some munchies at home. On one weekend, I wanted biscuits for my cardamom flavoured tea – and the standard biscuits would not do. Then an idea went off in my head – why not make Nankhatais! These are eggless biscuits which are soft with just the right amount of bite and perfect for tea time. They are typically made using cardamom and cashew. Since I was already making cardamom tea, I decided to use another version to complement the tea. Rooting around my pantry revealed some hazelnuts. Perfect! This would go extremely well with the cardamom in the tea and add great taste to the biscuits. I baked two batches – one using all purpose flour (APF) and the other was with whole wheat flour. The APF version is tastier but the wheat version is healthier. So you can choose the route that you wish to take but either way you will enjoy these biscuits.

Recipe Details :
Makes: 10 biscuits
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup APF / whole wheat flour
  • 5 tbsp ground hazelnuts
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee
  • 1/2 cup finely ground sugar
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Hazelnut nankhatai

Hazelnut nankhatai


Method:

  • In a mixer, pulse the hazelnuts to a fine mixture and keep it aside.
  • If you are using table sugar, use the mixer to make it a fine powder. Alternately, use powdered sugar.
  • Take the ghee in a small bowl and melt it on a low flame. Add the finely ground sugar to the ghee at this stage. Take it off the flame when the ghee is fully melted. Whisk the ghee and sugar together till it forms a smooth and creamy mixture.
  • Sift the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the ground hazelnut mixture and a pinch of salt to this bowl and mix well.
  • Add the ghee and sugar mixture to the flour mixture and knead it into a smooth dough. If required, use some ghee while kneading to bind the flour. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest for 30 mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 160 C (APF) or 130 C (whole wheat).
  • Make rounds from the dough and flatten slightly. Place them on the baking pan giving adequate distance between two biscuits. Press a piece of hazelnut at the center of each biscuit for visual appeal.
  • Bake for 10 – 12 mins but keep checking in 5 min intervals so that the biscuits do not brown or get too hard. Once done, allow them to cool for 15 mins and then serve.

Tips :

  • The sugar will take some time to dissolve in ghee. The finer the sugar, the faster it dissolves.
  • If you are looking to make biscuits from a dessert perspective, then addition of salt is not required. As a tea time snack, adding a little pinch of salt would help the taste.

Chocolate and Date Lollipops

Some goodies take you right back to your childhood. When I was planning for a picnic party, I knew that I wanted to have lollipops in the dessert course. The very idea of eagerly opening the lollipop wrapper and tasting it thrilled me. I also happened to have a nice box of dates lying around and I decided to use it as as the base. I added chocolate and walnuts for taste and texture. The lollipops turned out to be delicious with none of the main ingredients overpowering each other. This is bound to be a hit with both adults and kids.

Recipe Details :
Makes: 8 lollipops
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 6 seedless dates
  • 8 whole walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts crushed (optional)

Chocolate and date lollipops

Chocolate and date lollipops


Method:

  • In a mixer, pulse the dates, walnuts and vanilla extract to form a soft dough. Do not add any other liquid to this mixture.
  • Take some of this mixture in your hands and gently roll into a ball.
  • Once you are done rolling the entire mixture, place the lollipops in the fridge for some time to firm up.
  • In the meantime, take the chocolate chips in a bowl and heat them in the microwave for 75 secs. These 75 secs should be in steps of 30 secs, 30 secs and 15 secs. Stir the mixture using a small spoon in every step and ensure that the chocolate has completely melted. There should not be any chunks. Let it rest for 5 mins.
  • Roll the lollipops in the melted chocolate. If you find this hard to do, you can use a basting brush instead. For this, dip the brush in the melted chocolate and coat the lollipops evenly. This gives an even finish and does not smudge the chocolate.
  • When the chocolate coating is still wet, gently sprinkle or roll the lollipop to the finely crushed hazelnut.
  • Keep the newly coated lollipops on absorbing paper and solidify in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  • To serve, remove from the fridge and skewer them. I wrapped them using cling wrap and tied them with an attractive coloured ribbon. If refrigerated, they can be stored for 4-5 days.

Tips :

  • While making the date-walnut dough, use the pulse setting.
  • Between pulses, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • If you find the mixture is too sticky to work with, add more walnuts and process or store in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling.
  • Be careful while melting the chocolate. Mixing the chocolate between the heating phases helps to create a smoothly melting chocolate.

French beans and red capsicum masala rice / French beans and red bell pepper masala rice

While learning and experimenting in my cooking, I’ve realized that food is firstly a visual medium. By that I mean, depending on my mood, the colours and I vibrancy that I like to see and present change. This recipe turned out to be an outcome of one such cooking process. I wanted to make something quick, toss in some vegetables and rice and call it done. I like to use rice as it generally acts as the perfect base for one pot meals. I had some nice French beans lying around and wanted to use them. To make their green colour look more vibrant, I wanted something in red and decided to go with red bell peppers as the second vegetable. The masala rice turned out to be delicious and crunchy due to the veggies and this has become one of my favourite dishes to repeat when I need to cook fast. I have tried making this recipe with basmati rice and brown rice and I preferred the brown rice version.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 cup French beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut in cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Beans and red bell pepper rice

French beans and red bell pepper rice


Method:

  • Cook the Basmati rice and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan on a low flame. Add the bay leaves, clove and cinnamon and let them fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onions with a little bit of salt and sweat them till they are translucent.
  • Now add the chopped French beans with garam masala, pepper powder, cumin seed powder and some salt into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and let the beans cook for around 5 minutes.
  • Toss in the chopped red bell peppers and cook them just for around 2 minutes without the lid. They need to be a bit crunchy.
  • Finally add the cooked rice to the vegetables and toss the rice around gently in the pan with a ladle. The rice should get perfectly mixed with the spices and vegetables.
  • Serve hot with chips or papads.

Tips :

  • Sprinkle some water while cooking the beans. Do not cover the pan with a lid for long as the beans might burn.
  • Do not overpower the veggies in the dish by adding more of cloves or cinnamon.

Granny’s Pancake – Tampines Outlet

In the food courts or round markets in Singapore, it’s nice to chance upon a vegetarian stall offering broth and vegetable combinations. During one of my random outings in Tampines round market, I came across this small food stall serving pancakes. Upon inquiry, I got to know that it has been around for decades. The name of the stall was Granny’s Pancake and somehow, I liked the place at once. Part of the reason could be that there was a smiling grandma serving these hot pancakes over the counter. The stall was quite crowded in the morning and since it was labelled as a vegetarian plus eggless pancake stall, I was tempted to try it.

Grannys pancake shop

Granny’s pancake shop

The Orders
When my turn came to place the order, I asked the smiling granny as to what I should try at her shop since I was visiting the stall for the first time. Her suggestion was that I try the ‘Coconut Pancake’. The coconut filling was bright orange and looked striking and delicious. When I had my first bite, what struck me was the coconut was nicely moist and sweet. The dough was soft and spongy on the exterior and the filling was fresh in the interior. This gave the pancake a perfect balance. Totally worth a try.

Coconut pancake

Coconut pancake

Next I decided to go for the ‘Red bean Pancake’ which was quite interesting. They are quite generous in their filling and that makes every bite of the pancake delicious. The red bean paste was well applied all over and was not very sweet. Two pieces of the pancake when eaten at the same time are quite filling.

Red bean pancake

Red bean pancake


I plan to try their peanut butter flavour the next time. I think they close by 2 pm on weekdays and it is better to go in the mornings to be sure to get these pieces since they literally sell like hot pancakes. I totally enjoyed my pancake experience at this place and as far as my memory goes I did not pay more than $4 for my purchase of 4 pieces. They have other outlets across Singapore as well.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Pancakes ★★★★
Nearest MRT: Tampines/Simei
Address:Blk 138 Tampines St 11, #01-148 Singapore 521138
Timings: Till 2 pm on weekdays; Not sure about weekend timings

Cucumber and Carrot Pancakes

Most of the times we want a recipe for breakfast that’s quick to make and involves less prep work. This recipe fits those requirements to a T. Cucumbers are light on the stomach and healthy as well. I decided to use them as one of the main ingredients in a pancake batter. To give the entire dish some crunch and bite, I added in carrots as well. This recipe can be made into patties, which can be eaten plain or by keeping them in a sandwich along with some tomato ketchup. They can also be made in the bigger size which would be equivalent to a medium sized dosa. It turned out to be extremely delicious and it is one of my favourite breakfast recipes now. Sometimes I even make this for dinner along with a glass of buttermilk. I have tried this exact recipe replacing zucchini instead of cucumber and the result is equally fabulous.

Recipe Details :
Makes: 8 small pancakes or 4 large pancakes
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and grated (approx 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, grated (approx 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Chickpea flour/ Besan
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 – 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp oil for 1 pancake for frying
  • Freshly chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste

Cucumber pancake small size

Cucumber and carrot pancake small size


Method:

  • Take a bowl and mix all the ingredients except the oil to make a batter. Keep in mind not to add water while mixing as the cucumber or zucchini will provide the required moisture.
  • Heat a non-stick pan on low-medium heat and grease its surface with a bit of oil.
  • Take 1/4 cup of the batter and place it on the pan. Press down on the batter gently with your fingers to spread it out in an evenly into a shape of your choice. Do not make it very thin. In case of a large pancake, do the same process using 1/2 a cup of batter.
  • Drizzle some oil on the top and sides of the pancake.
  • Cook until the base turns golden brown in colour.
  • Now turn the pancake over and cook on the other side and then remove it from the pan. Serve it along with toast, with accompaniments of chutney or ketchup (if required), and you are in for a delicious meal.
  • In case of a large pancake, it is heavy enough to serve as breakfast – even without toast. For an idea of the portion size, see the picture below
  • Cucumber  pancake large

    Cucumber and carrot pancake large size


Tips :

  • Do not sprinkle water while making the batter or while spreading the batter on the pan.
  • Don’t make the batter too early as the cucumber / zucchini will make the batter more loose as time passes.
  • If you do want to prep it in advance, use a little more besan and store it in the fridge.
  • Adjust the spices as per your taste levels. You can add finely chopped green chillies if you like it spicy.