I’ve shared before that one of my favorite recipes come up when I have limited ingredients on hand and need to go grocery shopping. These patties are no exception. I wanted a quick lunch and didn’t want to order takeout.
I checked my freezer, I had cooked chickpeas. I looked into my fridge and found a head of lettuce, leftover cooked millet and a couple of carrots. I opened my pantry and came across an unopened jar of black sesame paste. A few minutes later, I was adding ingredients to my food processor to try to bring together some falafel/ tarator flavors and this came out. Not exactly falafel. These patties are dense because of the flax that binds them together and not airy and crunchy like the fried falafel since they are cooked in a minimal amount of oil. And not exactly tarator because as I researched the next day, black sesame paste is rather used in making sweet goodies and not savory dips. In fact, that’s why I bought it in the first place, but I thought it can be used interchangeably like the tahini. Now, if you can get past the charcoal colored dip, it’ll do its job, but I won’t be using it again as such. For that particular lunch, I shaped them thin and served them with a lettuce salad and a grated carrot/cumin salad. They obviously passed the taste test with all the family, so I decided to prepare them again. The black sesame “tarator”, however, did not work its wonders on my girl. She loves regular tarator, but her toddler mind could not fathom that this black thing could be eaten or is even related to her beloved creamy sauce which she enjoys spooned over baked fish.
The next time I prepared them, it was my girl and I alone for lunch, so I served them with one of her favorite raw ingredients: zucchini. In fact, I guess she tasted raw zucchini before I ever did. She’s always around while I’m preparing vegetables and her tiny little hands seem to reach far. Raw zucchini, raw broccoli, raw Brussels sprouts, yep, she’s had it all. Only after I catch her “greenhanded” ;) that I try them raw for myself. Who’s teaching who? One may wonder…
So as you see, these are pretty versatile. Serve them up the way you fancy. In between burger buns with avocados and tomatoes, with a lettuce/tomato/cucumber salad, with a raw carrot/zucchini salad or better yet, in pita bread with some “real” tarator. Anything goes, really. You can even mix a bit of tahini in yogurt and drizzle over the patties and any of the salads you choose to eat them with.
I use millet here because I had it on hand and I always like to change up the grains I use. I suppose quinoa can work, so will amaranth if you have it. Cook a batch of any of the grains you choose ( not just to yield 1/2 a cup) and use them up for breakfast instead of oatmeal or add them to any salad you might be having. Don’t shy away from new ingredients. No matter the results, you’re gaining more kitchen confidence.
Ingredients ( makes 4-6 patties)
- 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup cooked millet
- 1 very small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 small cloves garlic ( or 1 big)
- 1 flax egg ( 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed in 3 tablespoons hot water)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Salt and black pepper
Start by placing the flaxseed in a small bowl and adding hot water to it. Set aside for about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. It will start coagulating and will replace the egg for a vegan version of these patties. If you don’t have flaxseed, you can always use a medium egg instead.
Meanwhile, to a food processor, add your cooked chickpeas. I cook dry chickpeas in batches and store them in my freezer for easy use, but you can always use canned.
Add the rest of your ingredients and the flax egg.
Pulse and process until your ingredients are mixed. Do not overprocess. It’s okay to have a few unbroken chickpeas.
Divide your “dough” and shape into patties. You will get anything from 4 to 6 patties, depending on the thickness you want them to be. If you’re going to put them between burger buns, 4 is ideal. If you’re adding them to a salad, you can make them thinner and get six patties.
Heat a bit of oil in a pan, add your patties and cook on medium low heat from 5 to 8 minutes on each side until golden brown. Do not crowd the pan, so you are able to flip them without breaking them up.