100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Mains, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegan (with substitutions)

Day 28 – Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad

day28

Since the last two days have been quick and simple recipes, I figured I would do something a bit fancier for today’s post.

Are you ever in a Doctor’s office or coffee shop flipping through the magazines and come across that amazing looking recipe you want to take home to try? So you very sneakily and quietly, trying not to attract the receptionist’s or cafe staff’s attention, rip the recipe out of the magazine and quickly stuff it into whatever bag or purse you have with you. I know I have done this countless times over the years since I have started being interested in cooking as a teenager. It always leaves me feeling a bit guilty . . . but thank goodness for technology and camera phones; I no longer have this guilt. Now I simply pull my iPhone out a take a picture of whatever amazing looking recipe has caught my attention. This recipe for Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad, found in January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, is was one of these recipes that I snapped with my iPhone.

Eggplants are a vegetable that is native to the Indian Subcontinent, has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia, and the first known written record is found in an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise. It is believed that the eggplant was introduced throughout the Mediterranean by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The raw flesh of the eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining  eggplants to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness that it can have. The flesh is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed. Due to its texture and bulk, eggplant makes a great  meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Bulgur is a whole grain, usually sold parboiled and dried, that has a light nutty flavor and is a common ingredient in Armenian, Assyrian, Lebanese, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes.  Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, salads, or as stuffing. Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.

I was looking forward to making this dish because of the interesting spice mixture that is brushed on the eggplants before they are roasted, and the combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy ingredients that are mixed through the bulgur salad, and this recipe definitely delivered on the promise of great flavor and spice.

This dish can easily be made dairy free and vegan by leaving off the yogurt, and the bulgur can be substituted with quinoa to make it gluten free.

Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad

from: Bon Apetit, January 2012

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons preserved lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium eggplants (9-10 ounces each), halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup quick cooking bulgur
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives or capers
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Greek style yogurt

Preheat ovem to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup oil, the next seven ingredients, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Score the flesh of each eggplant half with 15mmor 1/2 inch deep diagonal crisscrossing lines, spacing 40mm or 1 inch apart (do not cut through the skin). Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over each cut side, allowing it to soak in. Season lightly with salt. Brush or spoon spice mix on each half diving it equally. Place eggplants, cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until soft ( about 50 – 60 min).

While eggplant is cooking, place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let soak for 45 minutes to soften and absorb water. Stir in olives or capers, onion, currants, parsley, 1/2 cup coriander, pistachios, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

Serve at room temperature, with a dallop of greek yogurt on top of the bulgur salad and coriander to garnish.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Mains, Recipes, Vegan (with substitutions)

Day 25 – Creamy Pearl Barley & Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Day25

Who Hoo . . . it is Day 25, which means I am a quarter of the way through my 100 Days Project challenge.

Do you ever forget you already have an ingredient in the pantry and buy more? I do . . . recently this has happened with pearl barley; I have more pearl barley in my cupboard than anyone person should realistically have. I figured this milestone called for something a little bit fancy, and this recipe for Creamy Pearl Barley & Porcini Mushrrom Risotto, from Treehugger (my favorite green living website), originally caught my eye when I was going through a phase of experimenting with pearl barley recipes. I never got around to making this one so it was a perfect fit for today’s recipe.

Pearl Barley is the most common form of barley used for cooking. It cooks faster and is less chewy than other, less-processed forms of barley. Similar to wheat in its caloric, protein, vitamin and mineral content, pearl barley is cooked mainly in soups and stews. In this case, using barley in a risotto gives the dish a nutty flavor not usually found with risotto rice.

Porcini Mushrooms are a prized ingredient in various foods and cuisines.  Most often dried, these mushrooms keep their flavor after drying, and are then reconstituted and used in cooking.  Low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, Porcini mushrooms are commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto.  They are sold commercially,but are very difficult to cultivate making Porcini mushrooms an expensive ingredient, but I figured Day 25 needed to be special.

Thank you Herbivores for sticking with me so far!! I hope you are enjoying the recipes I am sharing with you and they are inspiring you to do some cooking of your own.

Creamy Pearl Barley & Porcini Mushroom Risotto

adapted from: Treehugger

INGREDIENTS

  • 14g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (use olive oil for a vegan version)
  • 4 good sized shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (be sure it is vegan, if making the vegan version)
  • 4 cups mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh soft cheese (skip for vegan version, or use a vegan substitute)
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh oregano, chives, or other fresh herb of your choice
  • salt to taste

Combine porcini mushrooms with 1 cup hot water in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Then remove mushrooms, squeezing out and reserving soaking liquid.  Rinse and drain the porcini mushrooms, then chop finely. Strain the soaking liquid through a paper towel lined sieve into a medium saucepan. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, porcini mushrooms, and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft but not
browned. Stir in barley until well coated with onion mixture.

Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring until wine has been absorbed. Remember you need to use a wine that tastes nice, because if you use a cheap, bad tasting wine, that flavor will transfer into your dish. Stir in 2 cups stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until stock has been absorbed and barley has swollen and is starting to soften.

Meanwhile, add remaining stock to mushroom soaking liquid and heat over medium-high heat until steaming. Keep this mixture warm over low heat.  Add the hot stock mixture to barley 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and allowing barley to absorb stock before adding more, until most of the stock is used and barley is tender but still a little chewy, about 20 minutes. You may not use all of the left over stock.

Stir in the cheese and half of your chosen fresh herb. Season with salt and more pepper to taste. Spoon into shallow bowls and sprinkle with remaining fresh herb.

Pour yourself a glass of the left over wine, and . . .

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Mains

Day 24 – Ricotta Stuffed Kumara Pancakes with Spiced Fruit Compote

Day24

One recent comment from a Herbivore reader is that everything on the blog is so healthy.

I have to admit I do not eat super healthy all the time; what is the fun in that!?! You have to have that extra fat and calories sometimes, and in my opinion, Sunday brunch is the perfect time to be a bit naughty. With that in mind, may I present my take on Jerry James Stone’s Ricotta Stuffed Sweet Potato Pancakes.

Being in New Zealand, I used orange kumara instead of sweet potato and the fruit compote topping idea came from a dinner time discussion I had with a friend about easy ways to use up apples that need eating. Click here for my Spiced Fruit Compote recipe.

Earlier this week, I was having the discussion about kumara vs sweet potato and if they are the same thing.  Kumara is the Maori name for sweet potato; as far as I can tell they are both from the same plant family, but they are actually a different variation.  Some people claim that kumara are sweeter and more flavorful, and if my memory of sweet potato is correct than kumara does have a slightly different distinct flavor of its own.

The fresh ricotta came from yesterday’s visit to the La Cigale French Market, where a lovely Italian couple sells amazing Mozerella, Scamorza, and Ricotta cheeses that do not contain rennet.  This is an enzyme produced in a cow’s stomach and used in cheese production to coagulate the milk causing it to separate into curds and whey. Many vegetables have enzyme properties that do the same thing, and vegetable rennet is becoming more and more popular in modern cheese production.

These pancakes, fresh squeezed juice, and couple bottles of bubbles made an incredibly decadent boozey brunch. We certainly needed to take a bit of a walk after eating, but it was the perfect chance to enjoy another sunny winter day.

Ricotta Stuffed Kumara Pancakes with Spiced Fruit Compote

adapted from: Jerry James Stone

MAKES: approx. 12 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large orange kumara or sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 ⅓ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • warmed maple syrup
  • spiced fruit compote
  • pecans, dry roasted and chopped

Peel the kumara or sweet potato, wrap it in tinfoil and bake it for about an hour at 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C in a pre-heated oven; you want it to be very tender.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, and then add the brown sugar.

Crack and separate the two eggs. Whisk the egg yolks and the milk together so they are just combined.

Remove the kumara or sweet potato from the oven when it’s done and puree it either with a ricer, a stick blender,  a potato masher,  a fork, or any other kitchen implement that will get the job done. Add the puree to the dry mixture, mixing it well. It should create what looks like a bright orange smooth dough (made me wonder if it would be good for gnocchi).

Work in the egg and milk mixture, until completely combined. Using a whisk to make sure there are no floury lumps.

Beat the egg whites until they are fluffy and stiff.  Fold the egg whites into the mixture, but do not overly mix it.

In a buttered skillet, over a medium heat, ladle in the sweet potato pancake mixture. When bubbles form on the top and the edges look crispy, flip the cakes.

While these are cooking, whisk the ricotta cheese in a small bowl, giving it a creamier texture and making it easier to spread.

When the pancakes are done, layer them with ricotta and top with maple syrup, spiced fruit compote, and chopped pecans.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Mains, Side Dish

Day 23 – Harissa Raviloi

Day23

It was a bright sunny Winter’s day here in Auckland . . . my favorite kind of day!!

Blue skies and sunshine, with a slight chill in the air, always makes me want to go to the markets. I was looking through a couple of my Heidi Swanson cookbooks over coffee this morning, and this recipe for Harissa Ravioli caught my eye.  After coffee I headed to the La Cigale French Market, which is pretty much my favorite Auckland Central market destination. The stalls have such a delicious range of foodie treats, hot coffee, well priced vegetables, and yummy baked goods. Today, there happened to be someone selling fresh ravioli, and I figured something in the universe was telling me to make this recipe.  I purchased the spinach ravioli, which I thought should go well with the harissa and broccoli flavors, but in hind sight the pumpkin ravioli probably would have done the trick just as well.

The main flavor component of the sauce is harissa, a spiced chili paste originally from Tunisia. You can usually find this as a pre-made condiment in middle eastern or high-end food stores, but I decided to make my own; click here for the recipe. Supposedly you need to leave it for 24 hours to reach full flavor, but I used it right away and it still tasted great, I can only imagine with delight how much more flavor it will have later on.

This recipe came out quite tasty . . .  The flavor combination of harissa, lemon, good quality olive oil, toasted seeds and feta made a delicious sauce for the ravioli and was a great way to spice up the broccoli.  I am not an olive person, so I left that ingredient off, but to each their own. I suspect broccoli with this same harissa oil and toppings would make an excellent side dish on its own right. This theory may have to be tested later on this week.

Harissa Ravioli

by: Heidi Swanson

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces or 340g fresh or frozen cheese ravioli or tortellini
  • 8 ounces or 225g broccoli florets or broccolini, trimmed into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sliced almonds, or pine nuts (I used a combination of all three), toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 5 or 6 black oil cured olives, pitted and torn into pieces

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In the meantime, make the harissa oil. Sprinkle the smashed garlic clove with the salt and chop into a paste. Put this aside in a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice, harissa, and good quality olive oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.

When the water boils, salt it generously and add the ravioli cooking them until they float and are cooked through (about 1 to 2 minutes). around 30 seconds before you think the ravioli will be done add the broccoli to the pot, boil for the remaining time, and then drain into a colander.

Place the ravioli and broccoli into a large mixing bowl and toss with a couple spoonfuls of the harissa oil and most of the pepitas/almonds/pine nuts. Taste and add more salt, if needed.  Turn out onto a serving platter or plates and top with more harissa oil and the remaining pepitas/almonds/pine nuts, the feta, and olives.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Gluten Free, Mains, Recipes

Day 21 – Portobello Mushroom Skillet

Day21

Well . . . was supposed to be at a friends house for dinner, but that fell through.  I ended up inviting the few friends who were still keen on dinner around to mine, but then had to figure out what to make.

To adhere to everyone’s dietary restrictions, the meal had to be vegetarian and gluten free. I already had the Gluten Free Dinner Rolls, from my Day 20 post, that I made last night, and in my stash of untried recipes, I found this recipe for a Portobello Mushroom Skillet, from How Sweet It Is. This recipe is quick, simple ,gluten free, and vegetarian; so, essentially just what I was looking for. Plus, the added bonus of being warm and cheesy on a chilly night.

I served the mushrooms with the Gluten Free Dinner Rolls,  a last minute concoction of roasted potatoes and green beans that had been tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and lemon zest, and of course a lovely bottle of red wine.

Portobello Mushroom Skillet

by: How Sweet It Is

SERVES: 2-4

  • 8 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 8-10 slices of fontina or havarti cheese
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add shallots and peppers with salt and pepper, cooking until soft – about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and spinach, cooking until spinach wilts, then stir in smoked paprika and parmesan.

Remove spinach mixture from skillet and set aside in a bowl. Add remaining olive oil in skillet, then place mushrooms in the pan stem side down. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip. Cook for 5 minutes more, then fill each mushroom with an equal amount of the spinach mixture. Turn the heat under the skillet off, and heat the broiler in your oven.

Dizzle balsamic into pan and gently stir mushrooms to coat, then add a slice of fontina or havarti on top of each. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese gets bubbly and melts. Serve immediately,

Garnish with parsley, if desired, and with crusty bread (or in my case gluten free dinner rolls)

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Mains, Recipes, Vegan

Day 18 – Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl

Day18

Asian style food is usually my fall back for a quick, healthy, flavorful meal when I am running short of time.

I got home really late from work yesterday, and realized I had not eaten much during the busy day so needed to make something quick, healthy, and packed with protein. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try this recipe for a Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl sent to me by a friend who, although she is not vegetarian herself, cooks amazing food for her vegetarian husband.

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia, most likely from the island of Java. Like Tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and a very unique textural quality made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds whole soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh’s fermentation process and use of the whole soybean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins than Tofu.

Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking style in which foods are broiled or grilled while being basted in a marinade based on soy sauce, mirin (rice vinegar), and sugar. Modern or store bought Teriyaki Sauce also may include honey, garlic, ginger, and chili, but these are not ingredients common to to traditional Japanese cooking.

So this meal is a bit of a mash up of cultures between Indonesian Tempeh and Japanese Teriyaki Sauce, but all together it was just what I needed for a late night quick protein fix.

Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl

MAKES: 2 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g (one packet) of tempeh, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • store bought or homemade Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 carrot, cut into sticks
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 small heads of Bok Choy
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini (courgette), sliced
  • 1 green onion (spring onion), for garnish
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water

Place the 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water into a rice cooker or pot on the stove and simmer until done.

Heat the sesame oil in a medium pan and add the Tempeh slices cooking them until brown on both sides. Add enough Teriyaki sauce to cover the tempeh and let simmer in a covered pan for about 5 minutes, turning the Tempeh slices over about half way through.

While Tempeh is simmering, steam the vegetables over a pot of boiling water for only a few minutes, just until the colours brighten and the vegetables start to lose their rawness. Be careful, you do not want to over steam the vegetables.

Build your bowl with a serving of brown rice on the bottom, adding a portion of the steamed vegetables, and topped with a few pieces of the Teriyaki Tempeh and some additional Teriyaki Sauce splashed on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of the chopped green onion.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Mains, Recipes, Uncategorized

Day 14 – Lentil & Chickpea Sliders with Coriander Cream

Day14)

Sliders (little mini hamburgers) seem to be one of the latest culinary trends . . .

At restraunts you can now find quite a few different varieties of Sliders, like beef, chicken, fish, etc . . .  Sadly, I have very rarely seen any vegetarian Slider options. So when I found this recipe for Lentil and Chickpea Burgers with Coriander Cream in my Kitchen Classics: Gourmet Vegetarian cookbook, I was inspired to make my own.

Looking through the ingredient list I found that all the ingredients were items I already had around the house except Tandoori Spice Mix, which is an Indian spice mix typically used on meats that are going to be roasted in a traditional clay oven called a Tandoor. A quick Google search pointed me in the direction of this Tandoori Spice Mix recipe, and it turns out that all of the different spices that make up this mixture were already sitting on my shelf, and most likely will be on yours too.

The Coriander Cream Sauce calls for the use of sour cream. As a vegetarian in New Zealand, I have found it hard to find yogurt or sour cream that does not use gelatine as a thickener. Gelatine is a product made from the skin, boiled crushed horn, hoof and bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, and horses. It is added to many dairy products here in New Zealand (you do not find gelatine used in dairy products as often in the United States) in order to give them a better texture; it also can be used in many other food products like gummy candy, jelly/Jello, honey comb, and other deserts.  There are certain brands like Cyclops that are gelatine free, but they also tend to be quite expensive and hard to find. Just for you, Herbivores, here is my vegetarian food tip of the day . . . Even though the full fat version of Tararua sour cream has gelatine, the Tararua Lite sour cream does not, and it is reasonably priced and easily found at the major food stores.

I used red onion, roasted red peppers, and avocado to top off these little burgers, but you can use any toppings that happen to be in your refrigerator or that you prefer.  Melted Swiss cheese with sauteed mushrooms and onions might be another excellent combination with this Lentil and Chickpea Burger recipe; one that I am planning on trying out on my left overs.

Lentil & Chickpea Sliders with Coriander Cream

from the Kitchen Classics: Gourmet Vegetarian cookbook

MAKES: approximately 14 Slider sized burgers, or 12 normal sized burgers

PREP TIME: 30 mins

COOKING TIME: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

for the burgers:

  • 250g (9oz or 1 cup) red lentils
  • 1 tablespon oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori spice mix
  • 425g (15 oz) either tinned chickpeas, drained or dry chickpeas soaked over night and then cooked
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corriander/cilantro, chopped
  • 180g or 2 1/4 cups stale breadcrumbs
  • flour, to dust

for the Coriander Cream:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 table spoons corriander/cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the lentils and let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Drain well once they have been cooked.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until tender. Add the tandoori spice mix to the onions, and fry off the spices until they are fragrant.

Combine the chikpeas, half the lentils, ginger, egg, and onion mixture in a food processor until smooth. Transfer into a bowl and add the remaining lentils, parsley, coriander/cilantro, and bread crumbs, and combine well.

Divide the mixture into portions. If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate for about 15 mins or until it becomes firm. Shape the portions into round patties, toss them in flour, and shake off any excess. Place the patties on a lightly greased BBQ and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the are brown. Alternatively you can use a grill pan, a skillet, or bake the burgers in an oven.

Serve with the Coriander Cream: To make the Coriander Cream, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

To build the sliders: Toast the Slider rolls under the broiler of the oven being careful not to burn them. Place a large dallop of the coriander cream on the bottom half of the bun, add the burger patties, and top with another teaspoon or so of the Coriander Cream. Add the avocado, roasted peppers, and red onion or whatever other toppings you think will go nicely.

Both the burger patties and the coriander cream can be prepared 2-3 days ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator.

ENJOY!!

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