Namita Moolani Mehra, Author of Cooking with Indian Spicebox
“Desi is the colloquial term for Indian. Of course there is absolutely nothing Indian about a burger, but you can ‘desi-fy’ anything with the addition of spices, fresh coriander, and onion. I know many of you will think, ‘Why mess with a good thing?’ but trust me (and especially when it comes to ground lamb), spices make the meat sing and you will be rewarded with loud praises and happy groans”
Recipe serves 4
• 2 tablespoons oil, divided
• 1 cardamom pod
• ½ inch piece whole cinnamon
• 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 500g lamb, ground or minced (alternatively you can use beef or chicken)
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin powder
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
• ½ cup (50g) bread crumbs
• 4 burger buns
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• ½ cup coriander chutney (Cooking with Indian Spicebox has a great chutney recipe!)
Additional condiments and toppings: hot sauce, ketchup, onions, lettuce, tomato slices
1. In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil, and add the cardamom and cinnamon. Then add the chopped onions, and gently sauté until the onions are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool. Discard the cardamom and cinnamon pieces.
2. Put the ground lamb into a bowl, and add the browned onions, egg, salt, coriander power, chilli powder, cumin, fresh coriander and bread crumbs.
3. Mix well, then shape the meat mixture into flat patties. The size and thickness is your choice.
4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan (you can use the same pan you used to sauté the onion) on a medium-high flame, and cook the meat patties, flipping after a few minutes on each side. After the outsides are brown, lower the heat to cook the meat through. The doneness is up to you!
5. Set the patties on a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Let them sit for a few minutes.
6. Mix the mayo and chutney in a small bowl.
7. Slice, butter (if you wish) and very lightly toast the buns. Then spread the mayo-chutney sauce on both inner sides of the buns, and add the patty plus any additional preferred toppings.
If you don’t have breadcrumbs at home or don’t want to use store-bought crumbs, simply toast a slice or two of bread. Let the toast cool and, using the finest side of a grater, grate the toast into breadcrumbs – or you could just break the toast into smaller pieces and run them through your food processor.
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