These are rough days for the America I value and fight for, the one of compassion, inclusion and acceptance. We can — and must — resist and persist but then we have to refresh and nourish before going back into the fray. That’s why on the day Trump buddied up to Putin and aimed to discredit American intelligence, I reached out to Richa Hingle, aka Vegan Richa.
As with Madhur Jaffrey, another culinary gem from India, Richa is a generous guide in the kitchen — with a generous hand with spices. She creates vegan versions of iconic Indian dishes. She does the same with American everyday eats. She can (veggie) burger, she can biryani, she can Buffalo sauce, she can burfi (not a gorgeous word but you might like it more once you know it’s India’s answer to fudge).
Richa can do all that and more. She’s an animal-loving vegan, her blog, with over a million followers, has been going strong since 2009, her food styling and photography makes you want to lick your screen (um, don’t, please) and she’s author of two best-selling cookbooks.
These are challenging times, though, even for Richa. She doesn’t let it get to her. “Blog work, recipe development, editing, photography keeps me positive enough to handle the other stuff life keeps throwing,” she says. “I like to experiment in the kitchen and cook up new and creative things. It’s therapeutic for me.” So is a simple, healing bowl of dal, a sunny day (she’s Seattle-based) and spending time with her husband, her rescue dog Chewie and all the dogs she fosters.
For Richa, healing starts with the kitchen and with compassion. We will resist, we will persist. But first, let’s eat.
MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, MY FAVORITE RECIPES: Vegan RichaIf you have never made burger patties, these are the ones you want to make first. With a simple list of ingredients-such as beans, walnuts, oats, and spices-you can kick-start your veggie burger adventure here. Serve with your favorite burger fixings. (From Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen copyright © 2017 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press.)
- 1/2 cup 60g raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup 40g old-fashioned oats
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2-inch [1cm] knob fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup 30g coarsely chopped onion
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño slices
- 1 15-ounce [425g] can black beans or 1 1/2 cups (250g) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup 10g coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed or chia seed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons 10 to 15g dry breadcrumbs or flour (gluten-free if necessary)
- In a food processor, combine the walnuts, oats, garlic, ginger, onion, and jalapeños and pulse a few times, until the walnuts and onions are evenly chopped, 5 to 10 seconds. Add the beans, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, and flax seed and process in 5-second intervals, until most of the beans break down. Do not puree-there should still be some whole beans for texture.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Cover the bowl and chill for 15 minutes. If the mixture is too wet, add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
- Divide the mixture into 7 to 8 equal portions. Shape into tightly packed patties. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (add oil if desired). Place the patties in the skillet and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the patties on a medium baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the burgers for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 10 minutes, or until the burgers are golden.