I decided to make an Indian twist on Burgers and Fries for today's Meatless Monday dinner. I started by making the paneer (Indian home-style cheese). I then made my hamburger buns (which come out perfect every time). Closer to dinner time, I made the batter for coating the paneer burgers. The coated burgers were sauteed in vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides. Meanwhile sliced shiitake mushrooms were seared in a separate skillet.
To serve, I sliced a still warm hamburger bun in half, layed on some avocado slices and tomato slices. The browned paneer burger went on next and finally the seared mushrooms. This combination made a really filling burger.
Our side dish was sweet potato "fries" - sweet potatoes cut into thin slices, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked in a hot oven for 30 minutes.
Paneer Mushroom Burgers (Serves 2)
Adapted from Bal Arneson (Spice Goddess)
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces Homemade Paneer, cut into 2 pieces, recipe follows
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 hamburger buns
slices of avocado
slices of tomato
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
To make the paneer:
Pour the milk into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Place on medium-high heat and, when it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and add the vinegar. Stir as the milk starts to curdle.
Line a large sieve with cheesecloth and, holding it over the sink, pour the milk curds into it, letting the whey drain into the sink. Place the sieve over a bowl and fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the cheese. Set weights on top to press out excess liquid and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until it's solid. Yield: 1 pound.
To make the burgers:
Put the chickpea flour, ground coriander, ground cumin, cloves, a pinch each of salt and pepper, yogurt and 3-4 tablespoons water into a bowl and mix until well combined. Add enough water to make a batter consistency. Cut the paneer into two pieces to make the burgers.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Carefully dip the Homemade Paneer pieces into the batter and gently add to the pan. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Keep warm.
Place a clean skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the mushrooms and fennel seeds and sear them until they are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with some salt.
Serve the paneer burgers on the buns and top with the seared mushrooms and slices of avocado and tomato.