Monday, October 10, 2011

Chickpea Patties with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

After our trip to NYC (oh crud, I still haven't posted about that!), my brain was reeling with vegetarian, easy, and budget-friendly recipes. 

When we visited, my vegetarian older brother had just moved from New Orleans to Manhattan to start his graduate film work at NYU. His apartment is tiny, and the most notable thing for me was his lack of a cooking space. His kitchen, if you'd call it that, consists of two portable electric burners, a sink, and a mini fridge. No oven. No microwave. No toaster oven. No freezer. How is he going to survive without having to eat out every meal? 

What I liked about this recipe is that you can make the patties and sauce in advance. Then, just heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a pan, throw in however many patties you want to cook, and save the remaining uncooked patties for the next day or two. You could also very easily scale the size of the patties down to serve as appetizers for entertaining. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with garam masala, it's a great spice to add to your cabinet. It's a spice blend that smells wonderfully fragrant. If you're not ready to commit to the whole jar, if your grocery store carries bulk spices, you could pick up just what you need for a few cents. Don't leave it out, though! It adds a little something extra that these patties definitely need.

Chickpea Patties with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
Adapted slightly from the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook (highly recommended, by the way)

Serves 6 (Note: ATK considers one patty a serving. I managed to get 10 patties, even with measuring them out, and I considered 2 the right portion size for a dinner.)

2 slices high-quality white or whole wheat sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded (use a spoon and scrape them out), and shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups 2 percent Greek yogurt
6 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed
2 large eggs
2 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp cheap-o olive oil
1 1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced
3/4 tsp salt
lime wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse bread in a food processor about 10 times for coarse breadcrumbs. Spread evenly over a baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally until golden brown and dry, from 4-12 minutes (Depends on your bread; Mine took 4 minutes to be really golden).  Let cool at room temperature.

Toss the cucumber with 1/2 tsp salt in a strainer. Let it drain for 20 minutes, and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can using your hands or a cheesecloth. In a small bowl, combine the cucumbers, 3/4 cup of the yogurt, 2 tbs of the scallions, and 1 tbs of cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor about 8 times until you have a coarse puree with large pieces still remaining. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2 tbs of good oil, garam masala, cayenne, and 3/4 tsp salt. Add to the bowl the chickpeas, breadcrumbs, remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, remaining scallions, remaining cilantro, and shallot. Mix gently until just combined.

Form 1 inch thick patties with about 1/2 cup of chickpea mixture each, yielding 6-10 patties. 

Heat over medium heat 2 tsp of oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet. When oil is shimmering, place 3-4 of the patties into the skillet (don't let the edges touch each other).  Cook until well-browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer cooked patties to a plate and tent with foil. Repeat until all patties are cooked, heating 2 tsp of oil in the pan each time you place new patties.

Serve with the cucumber-yogurt sauce, lime wedges, and a simple side salad. 

To make in advance, store the sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 days without a loss in quality. Stir before serving. To store the patties, place them in a single row and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Tuck the plastic wrap around the edges of the patties to seal them in. Additionally, cover the container with a lid, if possible. Patties can be stored without a loss in quality for up to 24 hours, but definitely still good for up to 3 days. 


  1. These do look fabulous and seem like a refreshing alternative to a boring weeknight meal! I like the idea that you can make them ahead and have them ready to go. I'll have to give them a shot real soon!

  2. These look great. The garam masala is a good thing to add. Its spicy, brings out a great aroma while using it and gives a twist to the taste of most delicacies. I usually use garam masala on my chicken curry.

  3. I made these couple days back and they turned out really good! I used zucchini instead of cucumber. I will be making them often! thanks!

  4. Thanks for the comment, Deepa! I always like to know how recipes turn out for others.

    Ali- I completely agree. I considered adding curry powder to these. Maybe I'll do a little bit next time.

  5. These do look fabulous and great!:)


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