This recipe was from a cookbook called The New Vegetarian Kitchen, which I think I’ve mentioned before – I really recommend it, though the recipes aren’t that frugal. I did play about with the recipe a bit though. You should know my feelings about vegetables by now: as many as I can possibly fit on the plate please! So I added some chopped yellow pepper to the mix. I changed the spices, keeping cumin but swapping fenugreek for a hot chilli powder, because I wanted something spicy.
I was out of pistachios so also didn’t serve with the intriguing-sounding pistachio salsa, though i’m so making that another day. Instead of serving wrapped in a naan bread, like a burger, I used mine as veggie ‘cutlets’ (as a student, I used to buy this type of thing from the frozen section in the supermarket; I assume you can still get them) and served with salad, yoghurt (with finely chopped onion and a little mint sauce added to make raita) and couscous for a light but filling summery meal. Monday was the first warm, sunny spring day around here so it felt like the right sort of food 🙂
These are easy to make completely by hand, but would be even easier with a food processor – I annoyingly broke my a couple of weeks ago and haven’t quite got round to replacing it yet. I miss it so much! Oh and if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can crush the cashews by placing in a food bag and bashing with a rolling pin, though you won’t get them as fine.
Carrot and cashew nut cutlets (serves 2)
- 75g cashew nuts
- 2 small carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
- 1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 30g breadcrumbs (1 small slice of homemade bread – I toasted then used a grater as I couldn’t do them in the food processor)
Preheat your grill. Toast the cashews on a baking tray under the hot grill for a few minutes, keeping an eye on them and shaking occasionally to prevent burning (they will toast a lot faster under the grill than in the oven, so be careful). Once golden, remove and grind well, either in a food processor, coffee grinder (one you don’t use to grind coffee, obviously), in a mortar and pestle or even by putting in a food bag and bashing with a rolling pin. You want it reasonably finely ground, but a bit of texture is OK.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions and pepper until soft. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further minute before removing from the heat.
Mix the ground nuts, cooked vegetables, grated carrots, breadcrumbs and spices. Beat the egg well into the mix and use your hands to separate into two balls and press into a rough burger shape. Place on a baking tray and grill for around 8 minutes, turning once.
Serve as a burger, or with couscous and salad, or potatoes and veg – however you want really!
Summery lemony couscous salad
- 100g plain dried couscous
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- handful fresh coriander, chopped
- drizzle of olive oil
- 6 dried apricot halves, sliced
Make up the couscous using packet directions – I pour over an equal volume of salted boiling water to couscous, then add an extra splash to be on the safe side, drizzle with olive oil then cover with a tea towel for 10-15 minutes. Once the couscous has absorbed all the water, fluff up with a fork and add all the other ingredients, stirring well. Serve on the side of the nut cutlets or with other summery dishes (would be especially nice with griddled chicken or a veggie tagine).