Didi’s Kasha-Crunch Burger
This burger is a favorite. Your main mission is to pan fry the burgers until a thick crust forms. Any heavy-bottomed seasoned skillet will work but, to create the perfect texture, my pan of choice is cast iron. Be warned: no-stick pans will not do the job properly!
I like this burger served “naked” with a dollop of Thai hot chili sauce. Another excellent way to serve these is to make small “meatballs” and serve them on top of spaghetti with tomato sauce. Or for a satisfying brunch dish, make one rather large and flat panfried burger for each person and nestle a poached egg on top of it.
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. short or long-grain brown rice
2 t. kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped mushrooms (button, crimini, Portobello)
1 c. kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 c. chopped toasted walnuts (cashews, hazelnuts, or other nuts)
3-4 T. chopped fresh tarragon (or parsley)
Flour for dredging the burgers
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.
Add the rice, salt, mushrooms, and 5 cups of water to the vegetable mixture and bring water to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes. Now stir in the kasha and cook until the rice and kasha are tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about another 20 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts and herbs. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor and pulse until coarsely or finely chopped. The mixture can also be left “whole,” as another option. Put processed burger mixture in a large bowl and cover it if you aren’t forming the burgers right away. Otherwise, proceed as follows.
Dust your hands with flour and, using your hands, form the mixture firmly into large patties. Lightly coat each pattie with flour to create the crust.
Heat a generous amount of oil (1/8- to 1/4-inch depth) in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Pan fry the burgers until the undersides are dark golden brown, about 5 minutes, checking frequently to prevent burning. Flip the burgers, and brown the other side in the same manner.
Note: These burgers can be formed into patties, separated by wax or parchment paper and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. For longer storage, up to 2 months, burgers can be frozen. It is best to individually wrap burgers in plastic before freezing. Frozen burgers must be defrosted completely before cooking.
I find that defrosting them in their wrapper in the microwave for two minutes makes the burger easier to handle and able to keep its beautiful rounded shape. The added bonus is that it is already warm inside, therefore it cooks and browns much faster. Microwaving also gives you the flexibility to cook up a burger at a moment’s notice.
My family and I have been enjoying your Kasha Burgers this week! When I made the mixture I loved the taste so much I decided to stop before putting it into the food processor and served the first batch in 'whole' Kasha style. Interesting twist on Kasha! We loved it! The rest was processed and made into six burgers. The three of us ate three tonight with a side dish and they were so crispy and delicious! I haven't made anything with such a crust on it since I went Veg. The cast iron pan is very happy as am I! Thank you so much Toni! I still have one more meal to go! Yay!
Hi Chris, There really shouldn't be a need to use egg or any binder, especially if the texture of the burger is already sticky. It shouldn't be 'wet' sticky, just easily compacted. Maybe the water content is too high. There are a few more things to consider. First you are using Kasha, buckwheat groats not Kashi correct? Next the rice, buckwheat and veggies have to be well cooked, but not wet. I will usually just coarsely process half the burger mix and blend that in with the remaining mix. Too many nuts or seeds can make the mix a bit harder to bind, because of the individual texture of the nuts, so perhaps it might help to be sure those are fairly well ground. Not too small, but you don't want really large pieces because they tend to want to break away. Also I found that handling the warm mix was easier than if the mix is cold. This really is one of the easier recipes I've used so the problem is certainly a bit of a mystery!
Hi Toni, Thank you for responding! Once the ingredients had cooled, I tried to form into a burger with no luck. The book had said it was not necessary to use the food processor. However, I then took a batch and ground it up in the processor. Still with no luck. I suspected it was too dry, so I added an egg to try to bind it together. Also with no luck. I also used slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds as my "nuts" in the recipe. I ended up with delicious stir fries, several are now in my freezer for another day. The texture was very sticky, and I used flour on my hands as per your suggestion. It just simply fell apart. Once I added the egg, I almost formed a burger, but it mostly stuck to my hands and fell apart as well. If you can think of anything I will try it again, but I'll cut the portions in half - just in case! It was my first time eating Kashi and I loved it. Plus I ate Tempeh for the first time due to your show and recipes, and I enjoy them alot! Thank you. Love your show! You make my Saturdays!
Hi Chris, I'm happy to help. The problem most likely is too much moisture or not enough. I suspect not enough and I'm also wondering if you partially processed the mixture enough. Let me know in more detail what the texture of the mix was and we will work this out. This recipe is very reliable and very easy once you have a handle on the texture.Hang in there!..Toni
I attempted to make the Kasha-crunch burger. When it came time to flour up my hands to form the burgers...the mixture would not come to together! I was not able to form one burger. So now I have many meals frozen as a base for stir fries. I followed the recipe. Please advise as I was really looking forward to a crunchy yummy veggie burger. Thank you