Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The perfect no-condiment-necessary Burger

When I used to live in Boston, directions revolved around the different T (metro) lines. You had to take the Red line to Davis Square which had a theater that played Indian movies, a trip there was never complete without ice cream from JP Licks. You would take the Blue line to and from the airport, a trip I'd make every other month or so to visit my parents in Maryland. A house hunting trip once took me on the orange line to Malden, a trip that wasnt worth making again.

I lived for a good portion of time on the Green B line, the Kenmore station stop to be exact, I've actually lived in different areas but for whatever reason this is where I have most memories from. Anyways, every few months (more frequently in the summer) I'd make my way down to Coolidge corner, which in case you're wondering is on the Green C line, to the Indian store to replenish my stock of masala, frozen parathas and such. They always had on display samosas (deep fried short crust pastry with a potato filling), chilli bhajjis (battered and fried chilies), dhoklas, curry puffs and kebabs. Samosas and Maaza (mango) juice were usually the choice of snacks for the weary trip back. On one such trip though, either out of want or necessity dont remember exactly, sad almost stale looking kebabs took the place of samosas as my ride home snack. The guy at the store heated the kebab up, threw that and some chutney into a white styrofoam container before bagging it up with the rest of the groceries. I think I managed only a few steps before stopping at a black metal bench to get a sampling of the kebab. Wow! Talk about surprises. The chicken kebab had a sprinkling of green from cilantro and mint, whole corriander seeds for a spicy crunch, tiny chunks of ginger and garlic and of course the hot POW of green chilies every now and again. That kebab was so good that it has become the base for all my kebab and burger recipes. Its just the kind of recipe to get us invited to BBQ's all over the place now, especially if we're bringing the meat! And since you're putting so much green into the meat already you really dont need anything else except maybe a sprinkling of blue cheese (you can never have too much cheese!).

You will need
1 1/2 lbs of 90% ground turkey/chicken (anything leaner is also fine)
1 slice of bread
1 tbsp of milk
1 inch chunk of ginger, chopped fine (or crush, if you prefer)
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine (or crush)
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies (reduce quantity if too hot)
1 nice big bunch of cilantro (chopped)
1 little sprig of mint (chopped)
1/2 small red onion chopped fine
2 tsp salt


On medium-high, heat cumin and corriander seeds on a pan (without oil) tossing constantly till the smell of the spices is intense. Take off heat, cool for about a minute and then grind to a powder. Soak bread in milk and mush to form a paste. Transfer meat to a bowl. Add spice mixture, bread paste and all other ingredients to the meat. If the meat mixture seems too runny, add some breadcrumbs but you usually dont have to. Let rest in the fridge for half an hour (overnight if you can). Form patties with greased hands and throw on grill. We cook ours on medium heat for about 3 minutes on one side and 2 on the other.

No comments: