Carrot, Cumin & Kidney Bean Burger, 17p – WAS 9P [VG/V/DF]

This burger is where the media storm began for me and, dubbed ‘the 9p burger’ because of the low cost of the ingredients used to make it in 2012, it’s one of my most popular recipes. A can of value range red kidney beans is a cheap but excellent source of protein and I built a lot of my early cooking around it. When my then-toddler asked me for burgers for tea, I made him these, and they became a firm staple in my household. 

These burgers cost 9p each to make in 2012, due in part to a large 1.25kg Basics ‘stew pack’ of carrots, potatoes, onions and sometimes a small swede if I remember right, although seeing I have no swede recipes, my memory may be failing me slightly. This stew pack was discontinued a few years ago, which is a shame. I used to pick them up and count the individual items in there, looking for the ones with smaller vegetables as psychologically, it felt as though I were getting more for my meagre money. I still do it now – and I don’t know if it is with pride or sadness that I see my 7 year old son counting the bananas in the bag at the supermarket, hunting out the one with the most fruits for a fixed price. Some things, I guess, never quite leave you.

Makes 4 burgers, at 17p each now. 

1 x 400g tin of kidney beans, 35p (Was 17p in 2013. Price increase: 206%)

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped, 10p (Was 5p in 2013. Price increase: 200%)

1 carrot, grated, 7p (Was 5p in 2013)

1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand. Reassuringly still the same price, and far cheaper than the supermarket own brand at £1 for a measly 38g)

a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped, 10p – (80p/28g – I grew it then and I still do, so I don’t have the same price increase data on it unfortunately.)

a splash of oil, plus 2 tablespoons to fry the burgers, 3p (£3/3l sunflower or vegetable oil – price has not changed significantly in the last few years, but it is important to note that this is from the mid-range at the supermarket, not the Basics)

1 heaped teaspoon flour, plus extra to shape the burgers, 1p (was 45p, now 65p. Price increase: 144%)

Drain the kidney beans and rinse in cold water to wash away the ‘tinned’ taste. Put into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to soften. 

Put the onion, carrot, cumin and coriander into a medium sauté pan. Add the splash of oil and cook on a low heat to soften. 

When the kidney beans have softened, drain and add to the carrots and onions. Take off the heat and mash together until you have a smoothish purée (like mashed potato consistency). Stir in the flour. 

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. With floured hands, take a quarter of the burger mixture and roll it into a ball, about the size of a golf ball.

Make three more balls with the remaining mixture. Place one in the oil and flatten gently with a fork to make the burger shape. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook all the burgers at once or need to do them in batches – unless you’re freezing some of the uncooked patties. 

Cook for a few minutes on one side, before turning. The burgers need to be handled with care as they can be quite fragile! 

When cooked on both sides, remove from the pan and serve – eating them hot.

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