The ‘Ultimate Umami’ is a special occasion in a bun! it’s the main event (with a side order of wedges). I think this burger will be enjoyed by absolutely everyone!
Most of us now know that veggie burgers can have way much more flavour and texture than a traditional meat burger, we just need to make them right and flavour them up with bold and delicious flavours. This is where all that ‘umami’ comes into play. We’ve all had a sub-standard, borderline nightmare, veggie burger experience. This ain’t it!!
These are perfect for a late autumn BBQ. The sun is still hanging on up here in North Wales and there’s that lovely nip in the air. September and October are two of my favourite months in Snowdonia, winter is well on the way, but we can still squeeze in some BBQ’s and picnics. The sea is still warm-ish, the moutains take on amazing colours and shades and there is so much local produce to play with.
I’ve packed these patties with big flavours and the texture is solid (good ‘solid’, not brick like). It’s not going to flake or crumble out on you at the decisive BBQ moment or grill flip. We enjoyed them down in Ludlow, the night before our cooking demonstration and talk, on a little BBQ sat outside the coolest caravan ever, a ’59 Vintage Airstream in mint condition with a bath outside under the stars. Lucky, lucky us!! The burger was a highlight, but am outdoor bath at dawn, with the mist rising off the meadows probably just pipped it in the amazing-ness stakes.
The ‘Ultimate Umami’ (UU for short) will blow your taste buds away (to somewhere nice, like the coast of Southern Italy, or the Himalayas on a clear and sunny day. Burgers have that power!) I don’t think I’m exaggerating here! Name me one person who does not truly get a burger tickle on occasion? (Comments below).
There’s some kind of magic there, but the accompaniments need to be bang on too, it’s a team effort, so we’ve gone to the Med to pick our favourite flavours; basil yoghurt, sweet roasted peppers….. This burger will also be ideal with any of your favourite sides and sauce; it’s got that deep, savoury, deliciousness that accompanies most things brilliantly. It’s a launchpad for a burger feast to remember.
UNIVERSAL VEGAN BURGER LAWS
You need a tasty burger if you want to be a vegan cooking wizard or wizard-ess. It’s one of the universal vegan cooking laws. Those timeless guidelines, set in a block of ancient fossilized tempeh, somewhere high in the hills of Eastern California, by a veg patch and smoothie bar. ‘Thou shall munch on tasty burgers! Then thou shall use a napkin afterwards (it can get a little messy)!’ Other vegans laws include ‘Open mindedness towards tofu’ and ‘When in doubt, blend it!’
Umami overload! Not a bad thing. Mushrooms, red rice, balsamic vinegar, yeast extract, caramelised onions, toasted walnuts, miso, smoked paprika……it’s all there. Intense. It’s a bells and whistles burger for sure.
Umami is the fifth flavour and is present naturally in many foods, normally the very tasty ones. Of course, a Japanese scientist isolated it and turned it into MSG. Not good stuff. But umami itself is basically the thing that makes you go MMMMM in savoury dishes.
We hope you get the chance to sit in a garden soon with one of these whoppers and enjoy the late Autumn sun.
Don’t mess with veg burger too much. Handle them minimally and gently. Once in/on the pan/grill, just flip them once. Once they are cooked and left to rest, they will firm up some more.
You can make the burger mix beforehand. This works nicely, a night in the fridges and the flavours can really get to know each other better.
This mix will also freeze nicely. Keep for three months max.
We made these into little burger bites at our Home Cooked Happiness Vegan Cooking Retreat, think falafel sized bites. They can be deep fried if you like, makes them very crispy.
Red rice is a super nutritious and tasty ingredient (see ‘Foodie Fact’ below), but you can substitute it for a wholesome brown rice instead. In fact, at the cooking retreat, I tried the recipe with red quinoa, which was delicious.
The ‘Ultimate Umami’ Vegan Burger (Gluten-free)
The Bits – For 4
100g red rice
50g green/ brown lentils
240g red kidney beans (cooked)
400g mushrooms (diced)
1 large onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
80g toasted walnuts (ground to a rough crumb in blender)
3 teas brown miso
2 tbs onion marmalade
1 tbs yeast extract
60g bread crumbs (gluten-free is fine)
Roast Potato & Carrot Wedges
300g carrots (cut into thick batons)
500g potatoes (cut into wedges)
1 teas smoked paprika
1 teas thyme
1 teas cumin seeds
350ml unsweetened soya yoghurt
10g basil leaves (one big handful)
¼ lemon (juice)
1 garlic clove
4 tbs white flour
Roasted Med Veg (your favourite selection, I used onions, peppers and aubergine)
Salad leaves/ Rocket
Onion Marmalade (see our recipe for Onion & Chilli Marmalade here.)
In a small sauce pan, wash and drain the rice and lentils, then cover with 1.5 cm water, bring to boil, pop lid on, cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Leave to cool.
In a frying pan, add 1 tbs cooking oil and add the mushroom, fry for around 12 minutes, until they are caramelised and all their liquid is cooked off. Set aside. Add more oil and fry the onion until golden, add the garlic and balsamic, stir and cook until the balsamic vinegar has evaporated, five minute-ish. Leave to cool.
In a large bowl, mix and mash together all the other ingredients. Combine well. You’re looking for most of the beans to be mashed but a few whole, for texture. Refrigerate. The mix is best used straight from the fridge, but it’s not essential.
Form the mix into burger patties, roughly 10cm wide, 1.5cm deep. This is easiest done with slightly wet hands. Scatter the flour onto a plate. Place the patties in the flour and give a light coating all over.
Warm 1 tbs oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. When warm, fry off two burgers at a time. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side, until a little charred. Place them on a lined baking tray and repeat.
When ready to serve, place the burgers in an oven, 200oC for 10-12 minutes, making sure they are warmed through.
On a baking tray lined with parchment (stops the wedges sticking to the tray), toss the potatoes and carrots in the oil, paprika, thyme, salt and cumin seeds.
Preheat a fan oven to 200oc and bake the wedges for 30 minutes, turning them gently at least once to ensure even cooking.
Place all in a blender and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning.
In your favourite buns/ rolls with a little side salad, relish and loads of Autumn sunshine.
Red rice is normally unhulled and has a lovely nutty flavour as well as loads of healthy properties. Red rice is normally a little more expensive than other white or brown rices, it is more scarce and also has a much lower yield.
Red rice has a stronger flavour and when cooked, will share its bright red colour with other ingredients. In these burgers, the rice adds a full flavour, loads of fibre and is the perfect ‘binder’ to help keep the burger together when being cooked and nibbled.
There is a good amount of protein in red rice and plenty of minerals like zinc and especially iron and magnesium. You’ll also find Vitamin B1, B6 and B2, calcium, plus plenty of anti-oxidants.
If you try the ‘Ultimate Umami’ Burgers, let us know below in the comments. We love to hear from you!!
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