The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!
We were lucky to have Audax host this challenge too. He is one of the most helpful and knowledgable members of the daring kitchen. His posts are always full of information and helpful hints and this one was no exception.
The challenge was to make patties. Technically patties are flatten discs of ingredients held together by (added) binders (usually eggs, flour or breadcrumbs) usually coated in breadcrumbs (or flour) then fried (and sometime baked). Burgers, rissoles, croquettes, fritters, and rösti are types of patties as well.
Let’s start with basic definitions and info
Patties – patties are ingredients bound together and shaped as a disc.
Rissoles and croquettes – use egg with breadcrumbs as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 1 egg with ½ cup of breadcrumbs (sometimes flour, cooked grains, nuts and bran can be used instead of the breadcrumbs). Some meat patties use no added binders in them they rely on the protein strands within the meat to bind the patty together. Vegetarian and vegan patties may use mashed vegetables, mashed beans, grains, nuts and seeds to bind the patty. Generally croquettes are crumbed (breaded) patties which are shallow- or deep-fried. Rissoles are not usually crumbed (but can be) and are pan- or shallow-fried. Most rissoles and croquettes can be baked. (Examples are all-meat patties, hamburgers, meat rissoles, meatloaves, meatballs, tuna fish and rice patties, salmon and potato rissoles, most vegetable patties.)
Wet Fritters – use flour, eggs and milk as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 2 cups flour, 1 egg with 1 cup of milk and are usually deep-fried and sometimes pan-fried (examples deep fried apple fritters, potato fritters, some vegetable fritters, hushpuppies)
Dry Fritters – use eggs and (some) flour as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 1 to 2 eggs and (usually) some 2 to 8 tablespoons of flour (but sometimes no flour) and are pan- or shallow- fried. (examples most vegetable patties like zucchini fritters, Thai fish cakes, crab cakes, NZ whitebait fritters)
Röstis– use eggs (sometimes with a little flour) as the binder for the grated potato, carrot and other root vegetables, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is one egg yolk (potato rösti).
Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, shallow frying, and deep frying use different amounts fat to cook the food. Sautéing uses the least amount of oil (a few teaspoons) while deep frying uses (many many cups) the most oil. The oil helps lubricate (sometimes adds flavour) the food being fried so it will not stick to the pan and helps transfer heat to the food being cooked.
I made three forms of patties, one baked and one pan fried.
The first is Kofta which a popular middle eastern meat dish that is basically minced meat with onions,spices and parley and it can be prepared in multiple ways. You can bake the kofta with tomatoes “Like I did” or with tahini sauce or with vegetables “usually potatoes, green peppers and tomatoes”. You can also pan fry them first then cook them in a tomato sauce, this way they become sort or a middle eastern meatball that you can then add to spagetti or made into dawood basha and served along with rice.
1/2 kg minced meat
1 medium onion
1/2 cup parsley
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoon bread crumbs (use only if your mix comes out too soft)
Tomatoes cut into quarters (the amount is up to you, my family really likes them so I use quite a few)
Using the meat grinder or food processor run the onions and parsley till they are finely chopped.
Add the onions, parsley and spices to the meat and mix using your hands (Don’t over-mix the ingredients the resultant mixture will be heavy and dense)
- Patties made mostly of meat should be seasoned just before the cooking process, if salted too early liquid can be drawn out of the patty.
- Make all the patties the same size so they will cook at the same rate. To get even-sized patties, use measuring cups or spoons to measure out your mixture
If the mix is too soft add 2 tablespoons bread crumbs (I usually don’t, I like the flavor to be all about the meat and spices)
Form the meat mix into balls or elongated oval shapes and arrange in a pan.
Arrange the quartered tomatoes between the meat ovals and sprinkle with salt and drizzle with some olive oil
Bake on the lowest rack at 200 C ,covered with aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes then uncover and continue cooking till the fluids are almost absorbed and the patties firm up
I served them with yogurt mint sauce, feta sundried tomatoes scones and a salad
Zucchini, corn& cheese fritters
This makes a great light lunch or a lovely side dish for dinner, the recipe is a spin off the challenge recipe.
500 gm (½ lb) zucchini
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (7 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) (60 g/2 oz) grated cheese, a strong bitty cheese is best (I used sharp cheddar)
1/2 cup corn
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm/2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour plus ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted together
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) italian seasoning (if you don’t have it you can use oregano basil and dried mint)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) black pepper, freshly cracked
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil, for frying
Grate the zucchini with a box grater or food processor. Place into large bowl, add salt, wait 10 minutes.
When zucchini is ready wrap in a cloth and squeeze dry with as much force as you can you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid it will be too salty to use.
Saute the corn in the butter then set aside and allow to cool
Return dried zucchini to bowl add corn, cheese, pepper, sifted flour and baking powder, italian seasoning , paprika, pepper, a little salt and the lightly beaten eggs.
Mix until combined if the batter is too thick you can add water or milk or another egg, if too wet add some more flour. It should be thick and should not flow when placed onto the frying pan.
Preheat a frying pan (cast iron is best) until medium hot, add 1/3 of the oil wait until it shimmers.
Place dollops of batter (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the fry pan widely spaced out, with the back of a spoon smooth out each dollop to about 2 inches (5 cm) wide, do not make the fritters too thick. You should get three or four fritters in the average-sized fry pan.
Lower heat to medium
Fry for 3-4 minutes the first side, flip, then fry the other side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat for the remaining batter. Adding extra oil as needed.
Place cooked fritters into a moderate oven on a baking dish for 10 minutes if you want extra crispy fritters.
Some very important notes about pan frying
- Preheat the pan or BBQ.
- Generally when shallow-frying patties use enough oil that it comes halfway up the sides of the food. Best for most meat and vegetable patties and where the ingredients in the patty are uncooked.
- Generally when pan-frying use enough oil to cover the surface of the pan best for most vegetable patties where all the ingredients are precooked (or cook very quickly) and all-meat rissoles and hamburgers.
- Most oils are suitable for shallow- and pan-frying but butter is not it tends to burn. Butter can be used in combination with oil. Low-fat spreads cannot be used to shallow fry as they contain a high proportion of water. Rice bran oil is a great choice since it is almost tasteless and has a very high smoke point of 490°F/254°C. The smoke point is when the oil starts to break down into bitter fatty acids and produces a bluish smoke, Canola (smoke point 400°F/204°C) is also a great choice. Butter has a smoke point of 250–300°F/121–149°C. Olive oil Extra light 468°F/242°C. Olive oil Extra virgin 375°F/191°C. Ghee (Clarified Butter) 485°F/252°C.
- Do not overload the frying pan which allows steam to be trapped near the cooking food which might lead to the patties being steamed instead of fried. If you place too many patties at once into the preheated pan this reduces the heat and the patties will then release juices and begin to stew. Leave some space between each when you place them in the pan.
- For most patties preheat the oil or fat until the oil seems to shimmer or a faint haze rises from it, but take care not to let it get so hot it smokes. If the oil is too cool before adding the patties, it will be absorbed by the food making the patty soggy. If the oil is too hot then the crumb coating will burn before the interior ingredients are cooked and/or warmed through. For vegetable and meat/vegetable patties start off cooking in a medium hot skillet and then reduce the heat to medium. For all-meat patties start off cooking in a very hot skillet and then reduce the heat to hot, as celebrity chef Bobby Flay says that “the perfect [meat] burger should be a contrast in textures, which means a tender, juicy interior and a crusty, slightly charred exterior. This is achieved by cooking the meat [patty] directly over very hot heat, rather than the indirect method preferred for slow barbecues”. All patties should sizzle when they are placed onto the preheated pan.
- Cast iron pans are best to fry patties.
- When the raw patty hits the hot cooking surface it will stick. And will stay so until the patty crust forms so causing a non-stick surface on the patty at this point you can lift the patty easily without sticking. So wait until the patties (with a gentle shaking of the pan or a light finger-twist of the patty) release themselves naturally from the frying pan surface (maybe a minute or two for meat patties maybe 3-6 minutes for a vegetable patty). If you try to flip it too early the burger will fall apart. The secret is to wait for the the patty to naturally release itself from the pan surface then flip it over once.
- Veggie burgers will firm up significantly as they cool.
- Most vegetable patties can be baked in the oven.
- Check the temperature of the oil by placing a few breadcrumbs into the pan they should take 30 seconds to brown.
- If you need to soak up excess oil place the patties on a rack to drain, do not place onto paper towels since steam will be trapped which can make the patty soggy, if you need to just press off the excess oil with paper towels then place onto a rack.