Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lentil Burgers and Banana Redemption

If you haven't been following, my last post, Brown Sugar Banana Tart did not originally have a recipe because I did not like the tart I made. The night after I made it though, I went out to the kitchen to get some water before bed and what did I find?--my dear mother enjoying a little piece of the second banana tart. Her eyes were wide, like I had caught her with a treasure chest, and after a moment's pause of silence, she dug her fork into the tart and offered me a bite.

And lo! And behold! It tasted good! The banana flavor was more pronounced, the custard cream had set up to a sturdy smoothness, and it was what I was originally looking for: toasty and fragrant, not too sweet but sweet enough.

The lesson? Love takes time and so does this tart. I've revised the last post so you can have the recipe after all. Hope you enjoy it!

Onto bigger, more nourishing things: A couple days ago I made lentil burgers with peanut sauce for lunch. These are quick and totally delicious. I got the recipe from my food-loving writer friend, Sarah (whom I also catered with for a while). She put the recipe in her witty little recipe booklet that she made to give out at her wedding. With the recipes and some stories she tells their story--Before, During, and After the Feast (of their wedding). It includes such recipes as "'I Do' Potato Salad" (During the Feast), "Beans, Beans, and More Beans" (After the Feast, for those poor times) and of course, this duo of Lentil Burgers and Peanut Sauce (Before the Feast, when they were dating and trying to live on $2/day). She got the burger recipe from More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre, but, because I do not have the book yet, I don't know if she changed anything.

Usually I tamper with recipes. But this one is so good and simple, all I did was add some flat-leaf parsley from the garden (that is totally taking over!).

Lentil Burgers (Peanut Sauce below...)

I made six small-ish patties, and with a salad and/or some oven-fried sweet potatoes two of them would be a satisfying meal. Note that my parents loved this. My father still designated it "interesting" but was still ready for seconds. Mother has since cornered me and made me promise to make them again soon.

2 cups cooked, drained, and cooled lentils
1 egg
1 small onion, minced
a few sprigs parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crushed crackers or breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste (I added at least a half a teaspoon Grey Salt)
tomato juice or sauce

Mix all ingredients together with just enough tomato juice/sauce to hold mixture in a patty shape. Fry like hamburgers in a little olive oil over medium high heat until browned, about four minutes on each side.

Peanut Sauce

OK, I tinkered with the peanut sauce. This one is adapted from Sarah's original. The usual--a little more brown sugar, a little more soy sauce. I also used some restraint and tried the water option instead of coconut milk. It was absolutely fabulous. I recommend it. Coconut milk remains, however, unrivaled perfection.  If you have it, use it.

1/3 cup peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 packed tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup coconut milk (or water)
1 clove crushed garlic or chili garlic sauce to taste
juice of 1/4 lime
water (about a 1/4 cup, maybe more, maybe less, depending on the consistency of your peanut butter)

optional additions:
sesame oil
fish sauce
curry powder or paste (careful on the Thai paste--a little goes a long way)
caramelized shallots
green onions
freshly grated ginger
minced garlic

Combine ingredients with a whisk or fork in a small saucepan, adding the water last. Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Experiment with the optional ingredients, adding a teaspoon at a time of one or a couple. Taste as you go. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!


  1. I'm so happy to hear the banana tart was redeemed!

  2. Hullo Amanda! lovely to hear of your culinary and home-y doings!
    love from the Couv,