Masala-Tofu Veggie Burgers

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The following article was written by Priyanka Naik of

Ever have a craving for a veggie burger with a slight ethnic twist? Try one Indian-style!

In India, veggie burgers are prepared in a multitude of ways. For instance, frankies, kati rolls, vada pav, and aloo tikki are all forms of veggie burgers. I decided to make my version of a veggie burger a little Indian (spiced with cumin and curry leaves) and a little American (served on a hearty roll). These burgers are nutritious—the tofu adds a good deal of protein, and the vegetables provide fiber and nutrients. Best of all: They’re vegan!

Remember to prepare the Indian Breadcrumbs and the Creamy Cilantro-Mint Chutney (below) before assembling and cooking the masala burgers.

Masala-Tofu Veggie Burgers With Creamy Cilantro-Mint Chutney
3/4 cup firm cubed tofu, well drained
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of cumin powder
Coarse black pepper
Cayenne powder, optional
Pinch of hing (asafoetida powder), optional
Cooking spray
1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 Tbsp. black mustard seeds (or alternatively, cumin seeds)
4–5 curry leaves, optional
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 red, orange, or green bell pepper, finely diced
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
3–4 small green chilies (any variety but serrano), according to your spice tolerance
1 tsp. turmeric
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled, and diced
1/2–3/4 cup Indian Breadcrumbs (recipe below)
1 red or white onion, cut into thick slices
1/2 cup Creamy Cilantro-Mint Chutney (recipe below)
4 Portuguese or other type rolls, toasted
1–2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Sprigs of cilantro
Lemon wedges

  • Place the tofu, a pinch each of turmeric and cumin powder, coarse black pepper, the cayenne pepper, and the hing in a small bowl. Mix and set aside to marinate.
  • Place a large skillet generously coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the mustard seeds and sauté for about 30 seconds or until you hear popping noises. Add the curry leaves. (Be careful―they also pop in the hot oil!) Add the onions and peppers and sweat them for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, chilies, and turmeric. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions and peppers are soft. Add the peas and carrots mixture, cumin powder, and salt. Sauté for 7 for 10 minutes.  The vegetables should be soft and cooked through.
  • Add the marinated tofu mixture. Sauté until slightly brown and soft enough that the tofu crumbles. Add the lemon juice and half the chopped cilantro. Add the potato and toss until everything is coated and soft. Adjust the salt and spices. Using a potato ricer, mash the mixture until mushy and the veggies are in small pieces. Set aside to cool.
  • Add a small amount of breadcrumbs and mix it in with your hands. Form the mixture into four thick patties. If the mixture does not hold together, add more breadcrumbs. Place the patties on a plate and cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook.
  • Place a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and cook one patty at a time for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned and crispy. At the same time in a separate pan, sauté the thick slices of onion until charred and slightly soft.
  • Spread a generous amount of chutney on each side of the rolls. Place the burgers on the rolls and garnish with onions, tomato, and cilantro sprigs. Serve each burger with a lemon wedge. (And maybe some reduced-fat chips, on the side!)

Makes 4 veggie burgers 

Indian Breadcrumbs
2 end slices of white bread
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Coarse black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  • Break up the bread slices into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Sprinkle in the spices and pulse again.

Creamy Cilantro-Mint Chutney
1/4 cup cilantro-mint chutney (available at major grocery stores)  
1/4-1/2 cup vegan sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a small bowl, mix together the chutney and vegan sour cream and add salt and pepper.
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