Food Station The American burger is passe. Time to try a South Indian one instead

Burgers are usually flour-based. People try whole-grain, but at the end of the day, that is still Western and it is still bread. Burgers per se are not junk food. If you remove the mayonnaise and ketchup, then you get rid of the junk food element. I’ve replaced the traditional burger with a vada, which is rich in protein. I use cucumber, cheese and tomato — which are all healthy. I use tomato chutney instead of ketchup. And voila! You have a burger without the junk food label. I basically remove all the elements from a conventional burger, which I would not want my son to eat. You can replace the chicken with a vegetable tikka or even with grilled apple. If I can play — so can anybody!

I wanted to use grilled sweet potato actually, instead of fries. But it’s unfortunately not the season.

Vada chicken burger


1/4 urad dal washed

1tsp chopped onion

1/4tsp green chilly

1/6tsp chopped ginger

Salt to taste

1/2tsp chopped coriander

1/2tsp cumin seed

1tsp cashew nuts, broken

Oil to fry vada

80gms chicken minced e

Salt to taste

1pinch crushed pepper corn

1/2 an egg

1tbsp chopped onion

1piece lettuce leaf

2 slices onion

2 slices tomato

2 slices cucumber

1tbsp tomato chutney Method

Soak the washed urad dal in a cup of water for at least 40 minutes.

Drain the water and process the dal in a blender mixer till almost a smooth paste is formed. Use as little water as possible so that you get a thick paste.

Add in the zeera, chopped onion, chopped coriander leaves, green chillies, chopped ginger, salt and broken cashew nut. Heat oil in kadhai to medium high temperature. With the help of wet palms, make vadas of extra large size and fry till golden in colour and cooked inside as well. Drain on a kitchen paper towel and leave aside.

Mix minced chicken with salt, peppercorns, chopped onion and egg. Form a patty of the same size as the vada with wet hands. Grill it on both sides using a grill or a thick-bottomed frying pan. You can use a non-stick pan also if you wish to use less oil.

Slice the vada horizontally into half, just like a burger roll. Arrange a lettuce leaf on half the vada and add onion, cucumber and tomato slices. Gently place the chicken patty on it and top it with tomato chutney. Place the other half of the vada back on the vada burger and serve hot.

(Note - Vegetarians can replace chicken with a potato and/or mixed vegetable or even a lentil patty. )

(Rakesh Kumar spoke to Nandini Nair. He can be reached at chefrk@crowneplazadelhi.com)