A chicken burger served with fried egg, caremalised onions, tomatoes and an apple and mustard salad!

Burgers have to be sloppy. There’s no other way to devour this gigantic piece of absolute delight. But that’s not where the expectations end! Every teeny-weeny morsel has to burst with a unique marriage of flavours that comes from its spicy, sour, tangy, meaty, creamy and fresh ingredients.

When I started creating these burgers, I knew little about flavours and textures and it was all about slamming a seasoned meat patty between 2 slices of a toasted bun. With French fries, tomato ketchup and mustard for an accompaniment, the meal was basic but filling and left me satiated.

However over time, I started to experiment with flavours and textures. Minced pork was added to minced beef, minced beef was mixed with minced chicken, pork and chicken were minced together with garlic and believe me each one of these different combinations, ticked different taste boxes.

Once I found the meat mix I preferred, it came down to the texture of the onion and potato used in it—should it be grated, chopped fine or chopped and sauteed! Should bread be added? How about the eggs, only white, both the white and the yolk? And what if I added boiled eggs? How about the spice rub, is one herb enough, or does it need a dash of oregano, thyme and rosemary? The permutations and combinations were endless.

Then came the most important battle—texture. How do you get a cheesy centre and ensure the cheese flows into the plate when you cut the burger into half. This took the longest time to crack. And surprisingly the answer wasn’t about looking for a cheese that melts at a low or a high temperature but in simplifying the entire process and looking for something locally available.

Over the years, I’ve kind of found the taste that pleases my palette. I like my burgers cooked the old-fashioned way, plain beef, but feel free to experiment.

Hamburgers

Ingredients (for two 350 grams burger patty)

  • 600 grams beef (you can use chicken, lamb or pork too)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic-chillie paste
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ potato
  • 1 onion
  • 50 grams sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2 leaves romaine or crinkled lettuce
  • 6 slices tomato, caremalised
  • 1 onion, sliced, caremalised
  • 3-4 jalapenos
  • Butter
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons 10-ingredient burger rub
  • Burger bun
  • Bread crumb
  • Cheese slice

Method:

1. Mince the beef (you can also use chicken, lamb or a combination of pork (250 grams, lean and chicken 350 grams), potato and onion together. Add the 10-ingredient burger mix and Adjust salt and pepper to taste. At this stage the mix can be refrigerated for almost 24 hours.

2. When the mixture is at room temperature, divide it into 4 equal parts and flatten them.

3. Stuff the centre of two with 25 grams of grated cheddar cheese. Place the other flattened disc over it and form a tight patty.

Cheese stuffed burgers ready for the fry pan
Cheese stuffed burgers ready for the fry pan

4. At this stage you could fry or grill the patty directly on a well-oiled pan or you could coat the patty with seasoned (salt, pepper and paprika added) breadcrumb. Fry the patty on both sides till it is golden and crisp.

Crisp on the outside, cheesy on the inside
Crisp on the outside, cheesy on the inside

Grill the bread and butter it when still hot. Add a layer of lettuce, chopped jalapeno, caremalised tomato and onion. Place the patty on it. Top with finely sliced roundels of tomato and onion.To make the monster burger I love to serve, I add another slice of cheddar cheese and an egg served sunny side up on top of the patty.

Serve with French fries, barbecue sauce, whole grain mustard and tomato ketchup.

Pressure Points:

  • The burger may burst open if the patty is held together loosely.
  • If the cheese starts oozing out of the patty, you will not get a gooey centre.
  • If you are worried that the burger has not cooked through, you could cover the pan or just the patty and cook it for a minute on both sides.
  • Do not flip the burger more than once. 4 minutes on each side should be good
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    Add ons: Pan fried tomatoes with a sweet chilii sauce
    IMG_20140928_140651
    Crispy bacon

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    Caremalised onions

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