After more than a year since Sam turned vegetarian, I’m finally getting the hang of vegetarian cooking. For one thing, I no longer think in terms of stir fried vegetables. And when I see tofu, I don’t automatically see it as cut into slices or cubes, and smothered with sauce.
These burgers are made with mashed firm tofu, dukkah, chopped onion and garlic, and to bind them together, panko and a beaten egg. The patties were shallow fried on both sides until browned and crisp.
- Mash the firm tofu in a mixing bowl.
- Press a stack of kitchen paper on the mashed tofu to remove excess water.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cooking oil, and mix well.
- Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of a quarter inch.
- Form the tofu mixture into balls — huge balls, about three inches in diameter — and drop into the hot oil.
- Once in the pan, press down the balls to form patties. I used my fingers but, of course, there’s no reason why the back of a spoon can’t do the job of flattening the balls. It’s safer. But there’s more control when using the fingers.
- Fry over high heat until browned and crisp. Flip for even browning.
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I felt a little apprehensive wondering if the tofu burgers would turn out crisp on the outside. Panko usually does that trick but I’ve never made tofu burgers before and although I’ve removed a lot of moisture from the tofu, it was still possible that enough remained to make the burgers soggy.
My apprehensions turned out to be nothing. The trick was to fry the tofu burgers over high heat and to flip as soon as the underside was browned and crisp. Actually, unless the underside is already browned and crisp, there’s no way to flip the tofu burgers without breaking them. It’s that crust that forms on the underside that makes the patty firm enough to flip.
The burgers turned out wonderfully crisp outside and creamy-soft inside. The dukkah gave the tofu burgers an aroma and a kick that’s hard to describe and best experienced.
To serve the burgers, I laid them on a bed of torn lettuce. For the topping, tomato rings, finely sliced chili and mint leaves.