Rajma Bean burgers

Rajma is a classic North Indian entré. Served with basmati rice, yogurt, pappadum, salad and achar, it’s the kind of Sunday meal that ends in a dream, literally!


Considering our love for rajma, I always have leftovers for the next day. And with a picky eater, left overs need to be transformed or reused in a palatable form. That’s how I ended up looking for a burger that could use rajma. Vegetarian burgers in America use black beans. Rajma are red kidney beans and essentially both kinds of beans have similar nutrient content and texture.

Searching online I found a recipe at a very creative blog, the ABCD’s of cooking.

But eventually I made modifications.
So here goes.

Serves: 4 to 6 people.

Prep time: inactive: 30 minutes, cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes.


For the burger;

2-3 tbsp oil,

2 to 3 cups leftover Rajma (the thicker the better),

2 eggs beaten,

1/2 cups or more toasted bread crumbs*,

1/3 cup chickpea flour/besan,

1/3 cup fine semolina/sooji,

1/2 cup rice (from leftovers),

1 tsp coriander powder,

1 tsp red chilli powder,

1/2 tsp turmeric powder,

1/2 to 1 tsp salt,

1 tsp pepper,

2-3 scallions- finely chopped,

1/4 cup fresh coriander- chopped,

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped.

1 tbsp cornstarch- optional.

To serve:

Bread slices/burger buns/english muffins- toasted,

Arugula/Spinach leaves, washed and patted dry,

Onions rings,

Tomato slices,

Mustard & ketchup.




From left overs to bean burgers

To begin with I toast one slice of bread until crisp. Then, slice it thin and crumble it into a bowl. You can make crumbs like this or just use bread crumbs that you might have. So, I used a combination of existing crumbs and a freshly toasted slice of whole grain bread. Then added leftover rice. I do not pulse any of the ingredients in the grinder. I like a chunky burger. But you can pulse the rice and rajma before combining with other ingredients.

Next, add to the rice and crumbs, all the rajma. I had about three cups. Mash with a fork. This takes some effort. You might want to remove any large spices like black cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves that might be in the rajma. Next season this mix. Add to it chickpea flour and semolina. While acting as additional binding agents, both these ingredients lend some complexity to the burger. Semolina helps make a crisp crust too. Mix well.

Now, in a separate bowl beat two eggs. Add to the above mix and combine well. Finally, add in all the chopped vegetables.

*Cornstarch is an additional thickening and binding agent. If by the last step you find that the batter is still runny and watery, add cornstarch. Additionally, to avoid cornstarch you could just increase the quantity of chickpea flour. It absorbs moisture quickly. Let the mix sit for a few minutes.

The ideal cooking process is two step. On the stove and then in the oven. So, use a skillet that can transfer to the oven. Or if you don’t have one, then use a nonstick skillet and transfer the burger to the oven in any baking/cookie tray. Preheat the oven to 400 F. While the oven is heating up, warm up about 2 to 3 tbsp of oil in a skillet on high. Then add to it an icecream scoop full of the batter or just use a serving spoon and pat down to flatten it. Cook both sides for 5 to 6 minutes until they are firm and crisp. Transfer to a baking sheet** or move the skillet to the oven. Let the patties bake for an additional 10 minutes. Check to see if the burger patty is dry. Cut a small bite on one edge to check, if the inside is firm then its ready. You dont want to over do it, otherwise they might become really tough.

** When using a baking sheet coat it with cooking spray.


I used a cast iron skillet and a baking tray

You can serve the burger right away.

I used whole grain bread that I had in the fridge. If you planned ahead then use burger buns or english muffins. Toast the bread and assemble your burger. I did not add any mustard to the mix, you can layer some on the bread. Add spinach, arugula, tomatoes and onions and even put in some ketchup. Go all out!

These patties also make good accompaniments for salads or a snack just by themselves with dipping condiments.