My girlfriend was scrolling through her phone last week, and she stumbled upon a dish we made together one of the first times we cooked together – chana masala and rice!
The lighting in the picture was really bad so I won’t post it here, but we both remembered how delicious that dish tasted. I hadn’t made chana masala in about 2 years, but I remembered the process quite well. I also remembered that there were quite a few dishes to do at the end of that meal. I actually think this burger is less work and tastes just as good, if not better!
Chana Masala is all about the spices.
The bulk of this burger comes from the chana – chickpea. The chickpea is the oldest legume in the world, so this burger is packed with ancient healing DNA! I soaked dried chickpeas overnight and boiled them for about 90 minutes, but you can used canned if you want.
Garam masala is the most delightful part of the spice blend I used in this burger. Garam masala is a spice blend in itself – the one I used has cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black pepper, and coriander. It is warming, smells a bit sweet when it hits the pan, and it makes your entire home smell phenomenal!
I also added ginger, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to the burger. Classic curry flavors balanced this burger to the max!
Converting from stew to burger
When making chana masala, I like to add spinach and a squeeze of fresh lemon at the very end of cooking. The lightly cooked spinach provides beautiful green color and the accompanying nutrients, and fresh lemon adds that depth of flavor that only a hint of acid can provide.
I decided to incorporate these two ingredients directly into my patty. I love chopping greens and adding them directly to the patty mix – it is beautiful, and you won’t even know they are there. I used lemon juice as a final binder in this patty, and the brightness shined through to the max!
Tomato also provides a lot of the flavor in traditional chana masala, but I didn’t want to overpower the flavors of the burger with something like tomato paste or ketchup. I opted for a thick slice of tomato on top of the burger instead.
Less talking, more cooking!
This was easily a top 3 burger I have invented so far! The ingredients are readily available at your local grocer, and you likely have a lot of them in your fridge already.
Take inspiration from what I’ve done here and make it your own! I topped my burger with spinach, cucumber, tomato, onion, and a vibrant herb aioli.
However you cook this dish, make sure you prepare it with mindfulness and love!
Chana Masala Burger
- Cast iron skillet
- 15 oz chickpeas rinsed
- 1 onion small
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 tbsp cumin seed
- 1 tbsp mustard seed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup spinach finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp unrefined salt
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1 lemon Meyer if available
- 6 whole wheat burger buns
- handful spinach
- 1 tomato
- handful slivered onions
- 1/2 cucumber thick slices
- Vegenaise dressed how you like it
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, mustard seed, and cumin seed. When mustard seed starts to pop, add onions and jalapeños. Cook for about 4 minutes, until onion begins to turn translucent.
- Add chickpeas to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Leave about half of the chickpeas intact.
- Add onion sauté, spinach, and seasonings to the chickpeas, and mix to combine.
- Add brown rice flour and mix by hand. Mixture should be a bit dry.Squeeze half of lemon and mix by hand. If patties are not forming and holding together easily, add the other half of lemon juice.
- Form four to six 1/3" patties. These will be about 1/2-3/4" tall, and as wide as your burger bun.
- Heat cast iron over medium heat, and heat oven to 400ºF.Cook burgers on each side in cast iron until golden brown on outside, about 4 minutes on each side.Place entire skillet with burgers in oven, cooking the burgers for 4 minutes on each side.
- Toast burger buns, add toppings of your choice, and enjoy!