Allergy Friendly High-Protein Vegan Burger

The history buff in me has always loved Thanjavur, a town in the Southern part of India, steeped in astounding architecture and art (music, paintings, metal work and more!) for over 1000 years.

Brihadeshwara Temple - 1010 AD!
Brihadeshwara Temple – 1010 AD! Photo courtesy:

It is also home to lip-smacking vegetarian cuisine – one such dish is the high protein Thavaladai. Traditionally, this vegan patty/ burger uses chickpeas which I have substituted because chickpeas is a relatively allergenic bean. It also usually uses Matpe beans which is not easily available except in South Asian stores so, I have substituted it with split lentils. The substitutions help make this vegan burger less calorific too – that works for me any day 🙂

Before I go any further, I must mention that I first heard of this dish via Pratibha Jain. Pratibha along with her friend, Jigyasa are the brains behind which in their words, ‘is a space for tradition, for tribute, for culinary inheritances’. One of the posts that inspired me from this traditional cuisine haven, Pedatha, was the ‘Thavaladai Tamilian Snack‘ recipe posted by Chithra Viswanathan, another delightful food connoisseur who inspires and delights me everyday. Thanks ladies…

Now, without further ado, the thavaladai…


The dry flour can be prepared in advance and stored in an air-tight container for up to a month.


The dry flour mix:

  • Raw rice – ½ cup
  • Split pigeon peas – ½ cup
  • Mung bean – ½ cup
  • Split Lentils – ¼ cup
  • Whole peppercorns – 1/2 tablespoon

Other ingredients:

  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Asafoetida powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Curry leaves – 8-10 leaves (availabe in South Asian stores but is optional)
  • Paprika or Chili powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Fresh Coconut (Frozen) – 2 tablespoons, grated (Optional)

Oil – for shallow frying


  1. Wash the ingredients for the flour and drain completely. Spread it out on a dry paper towel and allow to dry for half hour and grind to a grainy consistency. Set aside.
  2. Mix the paprika or chili powder and salt in 2 cups of water and set aside.IMG_3912
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the asafoetida and curry leaves. IMG_3913Ensure that the brand of asafoetida used does not use wheat.
  4. Add the prepared water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the flame, add the flour and whisk thoroughly to avoid tiny lumps. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the grated coconut.
  6. Switch off the flame and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Divide the mixture and roll into 10 balls. Pat them into 3″ discs of uniform thickness.IMG_3917
  8. Shallow fry on a non-stick or cast-iron pan with a 1 tbsp of  oil. When the discs turn golden on the underside, flip over and allow the other side to roast well.
  9. Serve warm on an Allergy Friendly Bun with crisp lettuce and tomato 🙂 Of course – you can eat it without the bun with just a slice of any Allergy Friendly cheese. I went the ‘Daiya’ cheese way!IMG_3920


  1. Use any herb of your choice instead of Curry leaf – flat leaf parsley, cilantro, basil leaves, rosemary etc.
  2. Mix in a 1/2 a cup of grated carrots, finely chopped spinach, thinly sliced cabbage or any other vegetable of your choice. 

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