Indians! I luv ya. I mean it and I am talking about the Indians from India who came up with all that righteous Indian cooking. Damn fine!
Anyway, thanks to those cool Indian chefs, I found a way to make bean patties that are kinda close to a beef patty. They are not as close to a burger as a modified soy-protein burger, but for being able to make it in your kitchen with reasonable effort and natural ingredients, it is Neat-O!
Here's how you make a bean patty:
DRIED BEANS: The original recipe called for yellow lentils which are actually skinned mung beans. HOWEVER, I have experimented with all kinds of dried beans with equal success: black beans, pinto, green lentil, red beans, etc. The amount of beans is not critical because you cook as you go. More beans means more patties. I would start with two cups of beans. Next time you can increase or decrease.
SEASONING: pick flavors you like. If you want to ape a burger, then use beef boullion and some steak seasoning. I also like to use Indian masala seasoning.
OIL FOR FRYING I use vegetable oil. If you were piggy, you could use lard or vegetable shortening, or if you were a real high-stepper, you could use melted chicken fat I suppose (see you in Hell, Cholesterol Man!)
Like most Indian food, the trick for success is as much in the process as it is in the ingredients. First, you need to soak the beans for two or three DAYS. Then, drain the beans. This is real food science. When you soak beans to the point of germination, the carbohydrates in the bean are used for energy to begin the sprouting process. Carbohydrates are lost. Protein is produced and two very good amino acids are produced that our bodies really like for our own protein needs (I will leave the details out for this post). Less carbs, more protein? This is exciting for our South Beach friends.
Next, put the soaked and drained beans in a blender. Put in a slice of fresh ginger if you have it. Grind the beans into a smooth puree. You can add a tablespoon of water or so if you need it to grid the beans, but don't over-do-it with the water.
Put the bean puree into a mixing bowl and mix in your favorite seasoning - beef boullion, masala, steak seasoning, Lowry's, whatever- have a ball, man. These are beans. You can screw up and the world will still be OK.
Now, heat up the oil to frying temperature. When the oil is hot, scoop up a fist full of the bean puree and shape it into a patty. Fry the patty in the oil until the surface has that pale fried-cooked look. Take the patty out of the oil and for a short moment, put it in warm water maybe five seconds. Take it out and put it on a paper towel. Do this until all of the bean puree is gone. Then, fry them again until they are golden brown. I think the soaking in water process is to get some moisture in the shell so that it doesn't absorb oil when you fry it the second time.
You can eat right then, or you can freeze them for another day.
I like to eat them just like a burger - bun and all.
I did make some into balls once and added them to chili. They were OK, but a little soft. I am going to use them for meatballs in spagetti in a few days.
This is all too cool. Try it. It will give you something to daydream about during the day when you are supposed to be working. The possibilities are endless...
UPDATE: scroll down on this thread and see the photos of the preparation and cooking process added below.
Here is a pick of the cooked patty. You can click on the pic to see it up-close. Doesn't it look good! It really is delicious.