Falafel and Corn Burgers with Polenta Fried Halloumi Fingers

Hands down, the best veggie burger you’ll ever taste is this one. It’s not a “beyond meat” type of burger that tastes like beef, because it isn’t meant to. The flavour combination of falafel and corn with all these delicious spices in the mix is simply mouth-watering, and these burgers with fried halloumi make a great casual weekend meal.

Here’s what goes in:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup sweetcorn kernels
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin,
  • 1 teaspoon chilli (or to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or coriander (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, and some extra for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the halloumi fingers:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 500g halloumi cheese
  • Vegetable oil for frying

How to do it:

Before you start, measure out all your dry spices and set them aside in a small bowl. (This makes your job a bit easier later on, so you can add them to the blender in one go). Then fry the onion with the garlic until soft and translucent. Transfer this to a food processor, together with the drained chickpeas and corn, and pulse until mostly puréed. Add the remaining ingredients – the spices, herbs, flour, baking powder and eggs – and blend again until everything is well combined, and you have what looks like a sticky dough. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes before you work the patties.

When ready, flour your hands as well as the surface you’re going to work on. Scoop up a golf ball-sized portion of the mixture, flattening and shaping it in your palms until it resembles a burger patty size that you’re happy with. Lightly dust it with flour, so it doesn’t stick, and set it aside to rest until you’ve completed the whole batch.

Then, using a heavy-based frying pan, fry the patties in vegetable oil, over moderate heat. Turn them over from time to time so that they cook evenly, until they are golden brown. This should take around 8 minutes.

To make the halloumi fingers, cut your block of cheese into finger-thick slices, and then again down the middle, so you end up with something that resembles a thick potato chip. Heat the oil in a pan suitable for deep frying. When it reaches the right temperature and you see bubbles when you drop crumbs in, it’s ready for frying. (Keep the heat moderate by moving the pan on and off the heat if you need to). Lightly brush the halloumi fingers with the egg wash and roll them in polenta. Fry them for just a few minutes, turning them over so all sides get evenly cooked. When they’re done to your liking, remove them with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. The halloumi fingers are best served warm alongside your burgers, with a squeeze of lemon and delicious condiments like tzatziki and sweet chilli sauce.

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