In Japanese, patties used in burgers are called HAMBURG, vs the hamburgER which has the patty in between the bun. I am specifically calling this recipe the Root Vegetable Hamburg because I got the idea for it while flipping through a Japanese Macrobiotic cookbook from Rice Terrace Cafe, a Macrobiotic restaurant outside of Tokyo on its own farm.
The original recipe was for a Lotus Root Hamburg, and it only used lotus roots with various other odds-and-ends dry goods that we didn't have at home. Being new to this Macrobiotic thing, I am still in the process of updating my pantry with more Macrobiotic friendly staples. That didn't stop me from getting the idea to go ahead and make something similar, because the picture in the cookbook looked too good to not try.
I had read that root vegetables are favored in Macrobiotic cooking, so instead of limiting the main ingredient to lotus roots, I added Japanese taro (Sato-imo) and some carrots, which made the dish into a Root Vegetable Hamburg. Because both lotus root and Japanese taro are sticky, I didn't need to add any eggs or other binders, which gave me extra Macrobiotic points. (I have nothing against eggs, especially since they are one of the few animal products my body still accepts, but Macrobiotically, they are frequently kept off the list of ingredients whenever possible.)
I lose the same amount of points won by not using eggs because I continue to use fish-based broth (dashi) in my cooking, though. Again, because I am not allergic to broth of any kind, I still use bonito broth to cook almost everything, including pre-boiling the vegetables that will go into my "Macrobiotic" hmaburg. :P
I briefly considered experimenting by adding the oatmeal or the pressed barley that I got yesterday, during my Macrobioti-fication of my pantry, but since I was bringing these to a dinner party, I played it safe and used regular panko bread crumbs instead to give the patties a little bit more firmness. Next time, though, I will be more adventurous!
So here it goes:
1. Boil 1 bag (454g) of frozen lotus roots and sato-imo in dashi, seasoned with soy sauce and a touch of mirin.
2. When soft, puree, leaving some chunks.
3. Microwave and puree 6 oz carrots (optional; we made some with and some without)
4. Add a handful of panko bread crumbs to pureed root vegetables.
5. Finely chop shiso leaves (or basil) and add to the patty mixture.
6. Form patties.
7. Heat grapeseed oil in a pan.
8. Cook both sides until brown.
9. Serve with 1:1 mixture of tomato sauce and Japanese Worstershire sauce.
Seriously, these were super easy and super tasty. It can be made 100% vegetarian if the vegetables are boiled in vegetable or konbu broth.