Jun 25, 2006

Tandoori Chicken Burgers and Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesean

  • Two recipes tried recently that were very tasty. Here is the data and our findings.

    Tandoori Chicken Burgers

    * 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into rough chunks
    * 4 scallions, thinly sliced
    * 3 tbsps chopped fresh ginger
    * 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
    * 1 tbsp paprika
    * 2 tsps ground cumin
    * ½ tsp ground cardamom
    * ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    * Coarse salt and ground pepper

    Combine all ingredients and toss. This is your marinade. Set aside in therefrigerator for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Avoid processing to a paste. Gently form mixture into 16 little patties. Think falafel globs, especially because you will serve these in pitas with yogurt sauce. The original recipe instructs you to grill these for 2-3 minutes per side, stuff into pitas with sliced cukes and top with yogurt sauce (recipe below) and fresh cilantro. Very yummy!

    Here is what we learned:
  • The original recipe instructs you to grill the patties. We found this dangerous for the patties. We even used a grill grate made for grilling veggies. No slats, just small holes. And we oiled the crap out of it. Still, it was a chore to flip the patties and several crumbled. On a good note, a whole patty is not a requirement when one is stuffing a pita. Next time we will pan fry, bake or broil.
  • More seasoning. Perhaps not more paprika but up the amounts of everything else. I’d even add sambar powder and/or curry and/or garam masala.
  • This recipe works just fine in a pita but my mind was spinning with future uses for this delicious chicken mix:
  • Fry it up in a pan, breaking it apart, and add to an Indian influenced stew.
  • Fry it up in a pan, breaking it apart and make quesadillas.
  • Par-fry in a pan, breaking it up, and wrap in gyoza wrappers. From here you can steam, boil, bake, or deep fry (but we never deep fry) and dip into or top with the yogurt sauce.
  • If we were going to make this into a splurge food item we would par-bake and wrap the mix in store-bought cresent roll triangles and bake. We have a very tasty recipe for Reuben Roll-Ups and I think this chicken mix would work just as well. Instead of the cheddar cheese and Russian dressing called for in the Reuben recipe, I’d brush the cresent roll with sesame oil, stuff and bake then dip into or top with yogurt sauce and cilantro.

Cumin Yogurt Sauce

Combine plain, fat-free yogurt with ground cumin and coarse salt andpepper. I'd toss in some copped cilantro too.

Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesean

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ lbs zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (3/4 C)
  • 2 ounces fresh Parmesean
  • ½ C fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Combine and toss all of these inredients in a bowl. How easy is that?

OK, here is what we found out about this recipe:

  • Needs plenty of salt. Beans just suck up salt into the great bean void.
  • Add some red onion. A small dice.
  • Add a splash of vinegar. Just the lemon juice doesn't give it nearly enough zing. Use white balsamic if you want to avoid darkening the dish.
  • It isn't the season for zucchini yet so it's hard to find any with much flavor. Once our garden produces some, this recipe will shine.
  • What's wrong with giving those green beans and zucchini the slightest saute in a hot pan? Would add flavor. Plus, sometimes raw green beans have that squealy thing against your teeth. Not really a complimentary mouth feel to the soft beans and zucchini. If I had my druthers (and I usually do), I'd 86 the green beans and add halved tiny tomatoes or diced seeded tomatoes. Again, wait until those are also in season.

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