Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to quit whining: Trader Joe's Masala Burgers

The first few weeks after a move to a different city can dampen your style. You have to learn the ways of your new home and navigate the new lifestyle. One of things that slowed me down since my latest move was finding things on my list at the grocery store. The aisles were arranged in a manner completely counter intuitive to me. Tofu was is in the meat section, sometimes in the diary aisle and sometimes in the produce aisle. None of the stores have quite the variety and novel items as Trader Joes.

We often grossly underestimate just how much we value something until we don’t have it anymore. My pantry misses the TJs vegetarian pasta sauces, rennet free cheeses, real fruit juices, granola bars and breakfast cereal. My soul and saliva glands miss the 'Vegetarian Masala Burgers’. These frozen patties made from real vegetables can debunk any veggie burger stereotype you may have.

After 6 months of moaning and complaining about non-exciting grocery shopping and tasteless burgers, I decided to take matters on my own hands and decided to quit whining. You see, to quit whining, you need to suck it up and find an alternative. I decided to recreate the flavors of the burger in my own home based on memory. One look at this recipe and I felt greater confidence that I could bring the TJ magic into my kitchen. What the burger needed was mealy potatoes mashed with lots of vegetables and some smoky Indian spices and herbs.

Vegetable Masala Burgers

4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and grated
1 green poblano pepper, grated
2 ears of fresh corn, with the kernels grated
1 carrot grated
A handful of peas
Big generous handful of chopped coriander leaves

Mash the vegetables together in a large mixing bowl

1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp dry mango powder
Salt to taste

Stir in the spices and incorporate completely into the potato vegetable mixture. Form into patties, you should get about 5 medium sized patties

a few tbsps oil to fry

Heat oil in a griddle and cook the patties about 4 mins on each side until brown

1 onion sliced
1 bell pepper sliced

In the same griddle, drop the onions and bell pepper and brown them till slightly tender.

Burger buns
Sriracha hot sauce (rooster sauce)

Assemble the burger by squirting on some hot sauce on one side of a bun, place the cooked patty on it. Top it off with some browned onions and peppers and cover with the second bun. Open wide and stuff your face.

This burger is going to feature on my dinner table quite often. I still miss my TJs, and stock up on their merchandise at every available opportunity. Meanwhile, I will try to do a little less of whining and perhaps the occasional wining. But I won't promise anything.