Monday, April 07, 2008

Protein Patties- Necessity, the Mother of Invention!!

About three weeks ago I underwent some blood tests and the results were... well, unflattering. No, no, I'm not about to hand in my dinner pail or anything like that! Just that the results put a TOTAL dampner on everything and to put it kindly, I wasn't doing things right... not eating right.
Not eating right with all the GOOD food I cook! Huh! but the black and white did not change, not a bit.. so I decided to go about setting things right. Eat right.

Whaddya eat for protein? They asked me...
Well, lentils, beans.. sometimes..
And??? they urged me on.. And WOT? I retorted!
They shook their heads, gravely, clicked their tongue half a dozen times and looked mournfully at me. I knew it, right then I knew it! I saw it coming...
No fish? No.
Eh.. chicken? Oh no!
Err, I take it , you eat eggs? Well, if you conceal them in cakes ( see,I do eat eggs)
Well, you are OFF cakes! (both parties frown) Then I do NOT eat eggs.
Well, looks like your only option is Tofu.
Oh, I don't eat Tofu either.......... now they frown and goggle their eyes at me in disbelief.... but.. I can try.
They smile, bleakly, but they see a ray of sunshine! That settles it , TOFU ,TOFU and more TOFU.
Now I know how people who are sentenced to a life sentence feel like.
And so I embraced Tofu. I snuck into Albertsons and snuck out with a packet of Extra Firm Tofu, snuck home and bunged it on the dining table and stared at it, long and hard. Like that really helped! Hah!
For some time after that I made scrambles tried replacing tofu for paneer kind of recipes, but nothing was appealing. I would eat the food half heartedly, chew it and chew it and chew it.. well, they say you need to chew a morsel 32 times to digest it fully.. Well people, I broke that record!My eyes lost their twinkle, I played with my food, looked wistfully at M's dinner and eyed him with envy as he plowed into 'his food' with relish and shot me a look of pity. I dangled a bit of tofu between my thumb and finger shook it a few times hoping for god-knows-what!
The only upside was I lost weight in these 3- 4 weeks!

But one cannot even rejoice in the upside when tofu stares at you, insolently, at every meal. I had to find my way out! If I had to live with Tofu, then I HAD TO make it edible for me.
And with M rubbing it in with his remarks... that was the last straw ! I was thumbing thru a cook book silently drooling over all the lovely, edible food when he sneaks behind me, peers over my shoulder and asks" whatcha lookin' at?".. " Food" I answered testily... He sniggers and... and .. " Tofu par guzara kar rahi hai, yeh sab chod" ( you are living off tofu, forget all these) .
I'd be mad as a wet hen, if a wave of self pity had not consumed me! Poor me !
That did not last long, he foodie in me emerged, stronger, I had an .. after having consumed some frozen variety of soy patties (and found them blah!) I thought why not tofu+ something patties? Problem was, I fond myself clueless .. plus what? Nothing tastes good with tofu ( I know, I know, one track mind) and then I had it! beans!! Garbanzo! I like those.
Just to be on the safe side I toured blogosphere, I saw these and these .. so I was sure I would not go wrong!

So here I am with a recipe that I liked and enjoyed!
Makes approx: 4 big size patties.
You need:
1 cup cooked Garbanzo Beans ( Canned beans are fine, quicker!)
3/4 cup Tofu ( I used extra firm)
2 tbsp. Finely chopped Onion
1 Green chili
Fistful of Cilantro leaves (roughly 2 tbsp. minced cilantro)
1 inch Ginger
2 med. Garlic cloves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1tsp Shaan Tikki- Kebab Masala
Rinse the garbanzo beans ( if using canned) or, soak dry beans overnight and pressure cook. Squeeze out the water from the Tofu .
I used my chopper to grind the ginger, garlic, cilantro and cumin. To that I simply added the beans and tofu and whizzed it again. Easy-peasy.
To the mix, add salt, lime juice and tikki masala (or any other spice you want eg: garam masala). Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30- 45 mins.Shape into patties and shallow fry with a little oil on a skillet till brown on both sides.
To assemble: place the patty between a burger bun with the usual fixins' or like me make it light.. lightly toast a slice (or 2 , I kept it an open face sandwich) of whole wheat bread, apply a cilantro chutney (optional), a slice of cheese, top with the patty.

Other garnishing :lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber slices. Serve with Ketchup, chips, fries.

Verdict: YUMMY! No taste of Tofu!

None of the spices/ flavors over power the other ! Filling and tasty and a definite keeper!!

Mr. Smartypants agrees!
Points to note: I made a patty as soon as I made the mix, but it did not 'hold' together, broke in half when I turned it on the skillet, but was better after the stint in the cooler. I might play around with the garbanzo-tofu proportion a bit more to see if that changes the equation.
And now a word of Thanks!
Bee- Jai I basically adapted from your kidney bean burger recipe! thanks a TON! Those burgers are next on my list!!

Nupur's recipe for chavli curry was heaven sent! I used to HATE the typical way in which chavli was made at home and NEVER touched it, but now I love it!!

Another soup I kept a safe distance from was spinach, till I tried the recipe from Adhi Potoba. I liked it!

And finally, a non-blogger, but a personal friend, B, I call her Busy B! She was the one who urged me to go on and blog about this recipe. Thank U Sweety! This one is for you!!!
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  1. manasi, try quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth - these grains are excellent protein sources, and delicious. amaranth grain is available in the indian store as rajgira.

    low-fat yogurt is a good source of protein, and for a smoothie, try this. mix silken tofu with some milk, soymilk and fruits. you won't taste it.

    also, include nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter. or nuts as they are, or in chutneys, pestos, etc.

  2. woo the patties look so tempting... shall we sell the recipe to burger king or Mc? hehe... nice one.. looks so tasty...

    And thanx manasi for visitng my blog... i miss chaat a lot too.... but thank god that even my hubby is a total chaat person.... we enjoy it at home often...:D

  3. Came to you from "Taste of India" and immediately clicked on your blog link when I read "Protein Patties" :))

    I am always looking for some innovative ways to get some healthy food into my kids system. I think you came up with an excellent idea to do that. Good job.
    Will definitely try your recipe soon.

  4. Aga kashi ga tu :)
    Your post was just what was needed on this Mother of all Mondays!
    The patty looks positively delicious.

  5. Great idea... I have a package of tofu in the fridge. This sounds like an awesome use! :)

  6. that's a good write-up, Mansi! I also fall into your category. But I don't have such patience like you! the patties look delicious. I think I also have to try them for good health, he he! Take care.

  7. sounds very healthy! I will try it out sometime. Are soy flakes an option at all for you?

  8. Looks yummy ! And has food value as it is rich in Protein.


  9. Nice reading ur post..The patties look wonderful

  10. manasi..thanks for dropping by my blog..these patties are healthy and look awesome.:)

  11. Wow....these look delicious!!!At first glance I thought they were made of potatoes...they look that great :)

  12. Patties looks so delicious and then to say you didn't think about making it before.
    I still have to be converted to toffu as i dislike it with a real passion and after seeing you patties i am in a half mood to give it a anothr try

  13. I totally second Bee, Manasi: other sources of protein do exist. And Jugalbandi has such informative articles about these. Also, I wonder if your doctors are familiar with a vegetarian diet and the fact that a vegetarian diet certainly can provide complete protein. Here in the US, there could be many health providers who are simply unaware about a meatless diet and might raise eyebrows at your protein choices without reason.
    If you can, do try and look around for a nutritionist who is well-versed in helping people who do not eat meat (and who does not have unwarranted beliefs that a vegetarian diet lacks in nutrition).

  14. The pattice look superb...have to try it out soon as I have never tasted tofu yet

  15. ROFL... what a big drama queen u r mansi;) u made my day sweetie:)
    i looooooooooove tofu, and i mean really really love it :D so i dont have to think hard to use it up. i use it as filling for stuffed parathas and also substitute paneer with tofu in most of the curries.

  16. Brilliant in every way. This is what Dylan must've felt like after writing "Like a Rolling Stone". Only he couldn't eat the LP between two slices.

  17. Thats my gal, Manasi. You can do it. Do try silken tofu. You can make salad dressings/spreads with it and its unbelievably creamy. You would actually enjoy it. Also, keep a stock of frozen soy beans and add a handful to soups, upma and khichdi. There are umpteen options for whole grains. Try some from the bulk bins to see whether you like it and then include it in yr diet. All the best!

  18. I really enjoy reading your posts. So glad that you found the recipe for the patties, they look absolutely delicious and Bee has certainly given you some great advice there.

  19. I wanna join the cooking gang

    For some great Indian home tested recipe do visit my blog:
    Also do check the two minute Kulfi and NRI Ras malai and yes do not forget to leave a comment if you loved the dishes which are so simple to prepare and are a real delighter
    The great Indian Desi Dhaba

  20. Mansi, Looks amazing! I love tofu especially anything in a Thai recipe. hmm maybe we should have a tofu roundup so you can add more recipes :o)

  21. BEE, Thank U, Thank U,THank U!!! This weekend the shopping list has ur alternatives! I am planning on buying peanut butter.. I had tasted it some 3-4 yrs ago in India and took a deep rooted dislike to it, but time to change! Thank U once again!!

    Shubha, u know I always say this, I do a lot of things well, sadly , none of them generate any $$$, now that u have given me an idea.... hhmmmm!! :)

    Ajali D Thank U so much dear! I do hope ur kids like this healthy alternative! Let me know when u try!

    Thank U Dhivya !!

    The Cooker, bagh na ga, karayla gele ek, jhala ulta! Kanala khada, ata sudharle!!

    Kalai, hope u like these if u try them!

    Uma , Thanx dear! Hope u try this healthy alternative!

    MS, Soy flakes.. I did not even know about these ! sheesh, I am an ignoramus! let me check, THANK U!!!

    Anon. ,Anjali.J, Divya, Saswati Thank U so much!! This is a very healthy alternative!

    Homecooked,I guess once I go back to the no-diet stage, I will add some potato as well, it will help bind it better!

    Happy Cook, I know how u feel, I used to share that haterd.. not tht I am a fan of Tofu now, but I have found a solution to look beyond the dislike!

    Nupur, U sid it girl! The first nutritionist I met was a FLOP! she was so totally anti- vegetarian! She was hopeless! Asked me to find my own protein sources as she had NO idea what Indian- Vegetarians ate! Hopeless Bai!! I dumped her and skedaddled out of there Pronto!

    Easy crafts , Try it if u can, a better way to get to like Tofu!

    Sia U looooooove Tofu!???? Boing.... Boing ( my eyes are totally buggered out)! There u are, some more from the drama Queen! hehehee!

    Thank U, Adhi Potoba ! I have other recipes bookmarked from ur blog! Will let u know when I try some more!

    Thank U so much Suganya, Bee also suggested silken Tofu, am getting it in this weekend list, Endamame beans , I've seen those in the frozen section and will get a pack !!

    Thank U Trupti !!

    Thank U Cynthia! Bee has been a life saver!

    Thank U , AnuZi !

  22. Manasi-

    The protein patties not only are healthy, but they look so enticing and am sure are also tasty.

  23. You go girl! Good for you - making positive protein changes. I loved all the ideas folks have - smoothies, nuts and whole grain. I've started to like quinoa, amaranth (rajgir) and of course, ragi. Thaalipeeth variations are a life saver (although I am sure your version will be tastier than mine ;-) Also am a big fan of sprouting whole beans (like moong) and making usal / soup out of them. Looking forward to your tasty innovations!


  24. Wonderful patties and excellent ideas :)

  25. Gotta' agree with bee and Nupur, vegetarians have enough sources of protein to relish and enjoy :). Bee mentioned nuts-i particularly recommend soaked almonds. Soy in any form (beans, chunks, tofu), beans, yogurt are all good.

    And yes, recipes as lovely and creative such as yours-total delight! Stuff that is nutritious and lip smacking :).

  26. aww!! i think i have been losing hair over my protein intake since turning vegetarian...and yeah i too think of lentils ...the patties look fab....for a change, i actually like tofu!!

  27. Excellent recipe for tofu! I am like you when it comes to Tofu...hate it, but then I also eat fish and chicken, although not that often.
    My hubby always urges me to search for good recipes for tofu...and I think this one will be perfect, even for me.

    Will let you know when i try these out.
    Its been so long since i visted your blog or nay other blogs...from now on you will see my comments more often :)

  28. I hate tofu too! The one you have made looks good and since I too prepare something similar - I know it should have tasted fine! Loved your animations!

  29. Hi Manasi..
    Its really nice, and good looking recipe.. I must try it.
    Well, even I was staring at soya milk , wondering how can I drink it.. I tried using it in dosa batter (mix it instead of water when u feel batter is thick). Also i use soya milk to knead chapati aata for my daily chapaties (or u can mix soya flour to the chapati aata )

  30. Hi Manasai, for a minute I was afraid you were sick! Glad to hear otherwise :)

    Tofu -- I suppose it can be an acquired taste but it really does absorb other flavors so nicely. Try simmering it in soy sauce/rice wine/water mixture with a touch of sesame oil, till all the liquid is absorbed. Then it is perfect for a Chinese style veggie soup -- hot and sour for example. Simmer it in spagetti sauce. Pan-fry it and top with miso sauce if you like Japanese flavors. Or brown it in a little oil or ghee and use it like paneer. One thing that helps is -- before cooking the tofu -- slice the block in half lengthwise, and place the halves between two big plates. Weight the top with a couple of cans of beans until most of the water has drained out. Also, try the low-fat firm varieties -- they seem to taste less of soy, to me.

    Sorry to be so long winded -- oh, and your protein patties look really tasty! :)

  31. Hai friend,

    Very good recipies, proffestional photographs, nice layout,whats else visitor needs, you have got it all,keep growing.

    "Recipie writer/Blog contributors wanted" - Absolut ASL


  32. hahaha This made a wonderful read. am so glad that u conquered your demons! But personally am thankful for my 'out of ordinary' taste buds since I am among those who luv Tofu ( may be v few).. so much so that I can jus cut up chunks of tofu and eat them plain :) My protein! :) But then as Bee said there are many other protein rich foods which are yummy and good for health too :)

  33. This burger looks excellent. It's in my to do list now. My husband is also a tofu fan, so I'm also in search of differnt tofu recipes. I usually make tofu parathas using extra firm tofu, like paneer parathas. Now I have a new recipe to try. Thank You.

  34. Manasi! these look soooo good! sorry about the "protein diet restriction", but as Bee said, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it withouut compromising much! just like these delicious patties!:)

  35. I'm so glad you like the Spinach soup. I make it often for my wife, but still not a fan of it, or spinach for that matter.

  36. Hi, was looking on net to see if Quinoa was the same as Rajira, and came across your Blog. Keep up the hard work of increasing your protien intake ! Another thing you could add, is the Soy(protien) powder from trader Joes. Add it in milk shakes, also in a glass of juice, or milk.I also use soy granules from the indian store, and along with paneer, make "bhurjee", very tasty.

  37. As a temporary vegan for health reasons I've been looking for some veggie burgers and this one seems like a winner.

    I know this is an old post, so I hope your health issues are resolved.


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