“Is cauliflower super trendy in Singapore?” asks BBC chef Rachel Khoo as we flip through her newest pretty cookbook, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook. Her fifth one to date, it’s filled with photos from her travels and other doodles, plus tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner options for today’s busy working woman.
Bless the sweet girl. We don’t have the heart to tell her that cauliflower is right down there on our list of no-gos, along with slimy natto and stinky tofu.
But then she tells us what she does with it - cauliflower cheeseburgers! - and suddenly the lumpy white veggie doesn’t seem so undesirable.
“You use cauliflower with white beans to make a vegetarian meat patty. And you add some cheddar cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs. You can have this on its own with a side salad. I usually do a red onion chutney on there and some radishes. For me, this is like a hamburger that won’t make you disappointed!
“You also use lettuce as a wrap so you haven’t got that heavy bun. No carbs, woo hoo! It’s not hard to try to eat a little healthier.”
Tempted to make your own? Check out the recipe below. According to Khoo, you can even make this dish ahead of time to have throughout the week. Just freeze the patties on a tray before coating them in the egg white and breadcrumbs. To cook, simply defrost and fry in a pan.
For more recipes, visit Khoo’s online lifestyle magazine Khoollect, or catch Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: Melbourne every Wednesday on BBC Lifestyle (StarHub Ch 432) at 11.20pm.
Prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 25 minutes
1 very small head of cauliflower (approx. 200g), trimmed and separated into florets
140g tinned haricot beans (drained weight)
85g fresh breadcrumbs
140g mature cheddar
2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
A sprinkling of grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tablespoon roasted chopped hazelnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large egg white
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 oak leaf lettuce (or other)
1 medium tomato, sliced
For the caramelised onion chutney (makes 250g)
4 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Pinch of sea salt
150ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp raisins, finely chopped
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Then drain and leave in a colander to cool.
2. In the meantime, start to make the chutney. Put the butter in a frying pan on a low heat, then add the onions and salt. Fry for about 20 minutes, or until sticky and soft. Add the vinegar, raisins and sugar, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until glossy and reduced. Check the seasoning.
3. When the cauliflower is cool, put the haricot beans into a food processor and pulse, then add the cauliflower and pulse lightly. Be careful not to overwork the mixture as it will get sloppy.
4. Place in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs. Grate 80g of the cheddar and add it to the bowl, along with the parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then form the mix into six patties, around 6cm in diameter each, in the palms of your hands.
5. Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl and put the rest of the breadcrumbs on a plate. Brush each patty all over with egg white and press into the crumbs, making sure they’re well covered.
6. Put the oil into a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. When hot, cook the patties in batches for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until nice and crisp and golden.
7. Slice the remaining cheddar and put a slice on top of each patty while in the pan to melt. Place each patty in a lettuce leaf, add a slice of tomato and serve with a generous spoonful of chutney.
Photos: Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook