November 16, 2011

Carefree Curry Burgers

by IsaChandra

Makes 6 burgers
Active time: 15 minutes || Total time: 2 hours (1 hour chill time, 30 min bake time)

Carefree Curry Burger

I simmer up a big old pot of curry at least once a week and when I get tired of eating my lunch out of a bowl, burgers to the rescue!

Leftover curry makes the perfect base for these Carefree Curry Burgers, and with the magic of a food processor they come together ridiculously easily. Brown rice adds some “chew” to the texture and chickpea flour gives it a crunchy exterior and toasty flavor. They’re baked, not fried, so that gives you some downtime and makes them even healthier. And if your curry is gluten-free then so are the burgers.

I have never had a burger fail using this formula. Chana Masala, Korma, eggplant curry, aloo saag…you get the picture! The key is that the curry has to have some chunky beans or vegetables. A smooth dahl won’t work because the mixture shouldn’t be soupy. So choose thick, jam-packed stew as your base and you can’t go wrong!

Actually, while we’re at it, here’s a little secret…almost any stew can be made into a burger following these parameters. Make a chili burger by replace the extra curry powder with chili powder. No matter what stew you’re turning into burgers, just adjust the flavorings to match the stew and you’re good to go.

You can totally make these burgers and simply serve with ketchup and pickles. If you’re feeling a little more fancy, you can fake a slaw and a chutney by drizzling some lime juice on both fresh chopped fruit and red cabbage. Then make a curried mayo for some extra kick by mixing a teapoon or two of curry powder into some vegan mayo.

2 cups cold leftover curry
1 cup cooked cold rice (brown basmati is great here)
1 cup chickpea flour, plus a little extra

Extra curry powder to taste
Salt to taste
Cooking spray

Options for serving:
Thinly sliced red cabbage, dressed with lime juice
Chopped mango or pineapple
Vegan mayo mixed with curry powder
Ketchup mixed with Sriracha hot sauce
Red onion
Fresh cilantro

Add the rice a food processor fit with a metal blade and pulse 5 or 6 times. Add the curry and pulse until no big chunks remain, although it shouldn’t not be completely smooth. Pea-sized chunks are okay.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the chickpea flour, a teaspoon or two of curry powder and a big pinch of salt. Mix well, using your hands as the mixture starts to come together.

The mixture should be mushy, not stiff. But if it seems soupy or very loose, add a little extra chickpea flour (by the tablespoon) until it holds together. Taste for salt and curry powder. Transfer mixture to the fridge and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Form the mixture into 6 patties (about 1/3 cup each) and place each on the baking sheet. Spray the tops with a bit of cooking spray. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Burgers should be golden and firm to the touch.

  • November 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm: Ashlym528

    This sounds like a wonderful and creative idea! I usually don’t cook enough curry to have leftovers (and I consume what I do make with reckless abandon), but it sounds like I might have to start. I like that I would be able to get a few different meals out of it. Yum :)

  • November 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm: jane

    Thank you for this (and everything else you share with us). Curry is def going to be in heavy rotation for me now.

  • November 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm: kzcakes

    I have a pot of leftover chili sin carne in my fridge. Ima do this.

  • November 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm: Maya

    How well do these freeze? They sound fantastic and I’d love to have them in my freezer so I can eat them whenever I want!

    • November 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm: IsaChandra

      They freeze like a dream! I microwave them for a minute or so to reheat and they’re still crispy.

  • November 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm: Emma

    Love turning leftovers into burgers although I’ve never done it to this extent- just using leftover hummus combined with leftover brown rice etc. This sounds fab though :)

  • November 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm: kb

    Thank you I have been wondering how to make decent vegie burgers with what I have, this is so helpful!

  • November 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm: Esen

    I actually already had leftover lentil curry in the fridge! Making wild rice right now and I don’t have chickpea flour but I have a garbanzo-fava mixture, hope it works!


  • November 17, 2011 at 12:13 am: Camila

    I had leftover stroganoff, read this and said YES! I’m turning this stroganoff into nuggets! I used your (perfect) measurements for rice and chickpea flour, and pressed each nugget onto bread crumbs. I must say, they are heaven! It was my mother’s veganized curry stroganoff and I’ll probably be making it again just to turn it into nuggets!
    Thank you! :)

    • November 17, 2011 at 3:42 am: IsaChandra

      Stroganoff burgers…what a fun combo!

  • November 17, 2011 at 3:38 am: Luv What You Do

    My mouth is watering. We don’t typically have left over curry as it goes pretty fast, but I could make some more. Any good curry recipes to share???

    • November 17, 2011 at 3:40 am: IsaChandra

      The two I linked to in the recipe are pretty good!

  • November 17, 2011 at 11:35 am: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This idea is fabulous. Love it!

  • November 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm: Andrea

    Yum – these look good and very easy – they are now on my ever-growing list of vegan recipes to try! (Oh, I made the pumpkin cheesecake last weekend and that turned out LUSH!).

  • November 18, 2011 at 5:28 am: Mr. Shiny

    Oh that looks good. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  • November 18, 2011 at 6:46 am: Jonathan

    Making burgers out of Chana Masala? Wow. Having leftovers after making Chana Masala? Double-Wow. ;)

    This is a wonderful recipe that I look forward to making. Thank you for sharing!

  • November 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm: Mona

    This is probably the best food tip I’ve ever seen. As someone who is incapable of cooking for fewer that 15 people at a time I always find myself with a psychotic amount of leftover stew and curry. Now I can turn them into burgers and freeze them, thank you!!!!!!

  • November 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm: Alison

    What a great idea! But you have to tell us your secret: how do you make your veggie burgers so perfect looking and well-formed? Mine usually look lumpy and misshapen…

  • November 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm: Rebecca W.

    I love this idea! I have leftover chili in the fridge that I’m going to make into chili burgers (or maybe a chili “loaf”) for dinner!

  • November 21, 2011 at 1:01 am: KZCakes

    @ Alison: I spoon a heap of the mixture onto a hot cast iron pan, and mush it down into a nice patty with the back of my spoon and then push it in around the sides to make it a smooth disk. they come out perfect that way!

  • November 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm: Grainy_Maggots

    burgers currently in the oven…can’t wait to see how they turn out :)

  • December 3, 2011 at 8:48 am: Elisabetta Pendola

    I love vegan burgers! and curry flavoured….yum!

  • December 3, 2011 at 9:32 am: Elisabetta Pendola

    …and look at those onions and red cabbage for color and flavour, totally in love with it, congrats for your delicious recipes, isachandra!

  • January 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm: april

    made these last night with some thai food leftovers: panang curry w/ tofu + broccoli , drunken noodles (sans noodle, just the veggies), and garlic snow peas w/ mushrooms. I added a tbsp of red curry paste and they were AAAMAZING!

  • January 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm: Mickey

    ISAAA!!! Can I use any other kinda flour as I literally cannot find any chickpea flour around this bloody town!!!

    • January 19, 2012 at 3:04 am: IsaChandra

      Yeah, you can use all purp!

  • February 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm: maya

    This is so clever! I’m all for turning leftovers into other awesomeness

  • February 10, 2012 at 9:50 am: Milo

    Just made these (didn’t have chickpea flour so I had to use AP flour) and it is like an explosion of deliciousness in my mouth! Thank you so much for bringing this into my life <3

  • February 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm: Connie Fletcher

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU from the bottom, or at least sorta near the bottom of my very full tummy for this wonderful recipe!!! This turned my veg stew into possibly the all time bestest veggie patties ever!!

    • February 15, 2012 at 3:51 am: IsaChandra


  • March 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm: Mary

    I made these with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free AP flour and they turned out wonderfully! Yum!

  • April 25, 2012 at 12:00 am: Run4pancakes

    Made these tonight for dinner and they were fantastic! Put the extras in the freezer. I may never buy veggie burgers again. :-)

  • May 14, 2012 at 2:00 am: JT

    Genius! A couple additional condiment possibilities:

    1. tamarind paste/agave nectar mix. A basic echo of the tamarind chutney popular in many Indian restaurants.
    2. non-dairy plain (unsweetened) yogurt with chopped cilantro and cucumber. Quick substitute for raita. (You could also do a more elaborate preparation of same.)

  • June 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm: Christopher

    I made these last night with some left over curry. I’m wondering if I’d be able to use quinoa instead of rice next time…..

  • August 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm: Caresse

    This sounds so good I have a bit of left over curry so I may try and make a half batch! Thank u so much!

  • August 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm: Jen

    Brilliant! I often have leftovers from a huge one-pot dish that could use new life by the end of the week. Absolutely making this with leftover eggplant-lentil mole chili (delish, by the way). And this might be just the thing some mystery stew/chili leftovers in the freezer need!

  • April 30, 2013 at 2:26 am: Nicole B

    I made this mixture tonight with some leftover white bean and kale stew, so excited to try it tomorrow. Question though – if I want to freeze the extra burgers, should I cook them first or just shape them and freeze individually??

  • June 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm: Mich

    Recently became vegan. Thank you for this site and these recipes. I came across this recipe just when I felt overwhelmed by my curry leftovers! Perfect. Used parchment, no oil, and only had quinoa flour and it turned out great! I am them in the freezer for lunches. Thank you.

  • July 13, 2013 at 2:20 am: bossmonster

    omg this recipe was amazing!! i baked mine another 5 minutes every flip because i like mine alittle firmer

  • July 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm: Maya

    Can’t believe I’m the third Maya to comment here, but wow. I made this yesterday with Aloo Gobi and it turned out absolutely amazing. I had my burgers with the suggested curried mayo and added lemon juice and ketchup. Yum !

    I found them even more filling than my favorite store-bought veggie burgers, probably thanks to the chickpea flour ? I’m so glad I one-and-a-halved the recipe.

    Thanks so much Isa, you’re the best (I mean, really).

  • August 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm: Kristin

    Genius. Pure genius! Thanks for the idea!

  • September 19, 2013 at 4:17 am: Rebecca W.

    I always get sick of the soups I make before they’re gone. I use this recipe to make them into burgers. I love getting a second different meal out of one batch of soup. Thanks!

  • November 29, 2013 at 2:15 am: willy d

    Delicious I used bread crumbs instead of chick pea flour

  • July 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm: Hollie

    Currently turning the Dal with Root Veggies into these now.