Just because Lucky Peach magazine is famous for meat-laden recipes like porky ramen, fried chicken and piles of shellfish doesn’t mean they can’t publish an awesome vegetable-based cookbook. This fresh, fiber-rich, plant-based collection of “Turbocharged Recipes for Vegetables With Guts” is so good you’ll forget you were ever craving that lap cheong or roast duck. This riff of McDonald India’s famed McAloo Tikki sandwich is sublime.
The McAloo Tikki is the Power Vegetables! veggie burger. They are burgers that are crisp in a way that meat never is or should be, and an amalgam of textures and flavors that would make whoever invented the Whopper proud.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- thinly sliced red onion
- Thinly sliced beefsteak tomato
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 4 potato hamburger buns
- 1 large russet potato, peeled
- neutral oil, for frying
For the sandwich
Finely grate the garlic, chili, and ginger into a large bowl. There should be about 1 tablespoon of each. Add the spices — coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and salt — and the peas to the bowl. Set aside.
Set up your assembly line: Stir the mayo and ketchup together in a small bowl to make the special sauce. Arrange the rings of red onion and tomatoes on a plate. Have your cilantro and buns ready and waiting.
When ready to cook, set a box grater in a shallow bowl or pie plate and grate the potato into the receptacle. Use your hands or a kitchen towel to squeeze the liquid from the potato. You aren’t looking to wring it dry, just to extract what’s there to be extracted. Toss the squeezed potato into the bowl with the seasonings and use your hands to fold and mix.
Pour ¼ inch of oil into a 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, and heat over medium heat. Eyeball the potato mixture into 4 portions in the bowl and use a gentle grasp to lift one portion from the bowl and deposit it as a lacy-edged mound in one quadrant of the pan. Repeat with the remaining portions to form four lacy potato-pea mounds.
Fry the McAloo patties without moving or pressing on them for 3 minutes. When the edges have become golden brown, use a slotted metal spatula to release the patties from the bottom of the pan and carefully flip them so as not to splash any hot oil on you or your friends. Cook the McAloo on the second side until crispy, then re-flip and cook until the whole thing is mahogany brown and quite crunchy all over. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
Assembly-line your McAloos: Smear a bit of special sauce on each cut side of the buns. Set a patty on the bottom bun and top with a few rings of red onion, a couple slices of tomato, and a handful of cilantro leaves. Eat at once.