RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Dave’s Burger of Japanese Inspiration


1 block (14 ounce) package firm tofu
½ cup Teriyaki sauce
1 cup miso (I use genmai but any type of miso works)
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 pounds ground chuck
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup wasabi (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
half of a medium cucumber
¼ cup Black Sesame seeds
¼ cup sesame oil to cook the tofu
Vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
2 tablespoons extra rice vinegar to baste to patties
6 high quality hamburger buns, split


Heat the (gas) grill to medium-high or prepare a charcoal grill with cover.

To prepare the tofu, thinly slice the tofu lengthwise so that you have 6 slices each about ¼ inch thick and as wide and long as a normal block of tofu. Place them in a shallow baking dish and drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the tofu to marinate.

Prepare the patties by first whisking the miso with 1 ½ tablespoons of rice vinegar in a small bowl. Place the ground chuck in a large bowl and add the miso-vinegar mixture. Carefully blend everything with your hands while trying to handle the meat as little as possible. Gently form into six thin patties and refrigerate.

To make the mayonnaise-wasabi spread, whisk the mayonnaise, wasabi, and ginger together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.

Peel and slice the cucumber.

Place the skillet onto the heated grill and add the black sesame seeds. Shake the skillet occasionally to keep the seeds moving as they toast. As soon as the seeds are toasted (you’ll know when they start to pop) immediately pour them into a small bowl and set aside to cool.

To fry the tofu, return the skillet to the grill and add the sesame oil. When the sesame oil is heated, add the marinated tofu slices. Lightly fry the tofu for about 2-3 minutes per side or until slightly firm. Place fried tofu on a plate and set aside.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil to prevent the patties from sticking (which the miso mixture can cause them to do). Place the patties on the grill and cook them for 4 to minutes per side. Lightly brush them with the additional rice vinegar while cooking as necessary to prevent the patties from drying out. During the last few minutes of cooking place the buns inner side down at the edges of the grill to toast.

To assemble the burgers, place a cooked patty on a bun bottom, place a slice of fried tofu on top of the patty and put 2 or 3 slices of cucumber on top of the tofu. On the bun top, spread the mayonnaise-wasabi mixture and sprinkle it liberally with the toasted sesame seeds. Put the bun top and bottom, with the burger and all the fixins, together and enjoy.


This recipe is a Japanese inspired burger fusion that is packed full of complementary flavors reminiscent of various forms of Japanese cuisine. The patties have a unique salty and flavorful taste due to the miso mixture. Stylistically and aesthetically, the tofu plays the same role that a slice of cheese would in a classic cheeseburger. However, since it is marinated in teriyaki sauce and fried in sesame oil, the slightly sweet and earthy flavors complement the patty well. Thinly sliced cucumber provides a cool refreshing balance to the saltiness of the miso and tofu, while the mayonnaise-wasabi spread coated with toasted sesame seeds gives the whole creation a bit of a spicy kick balanced again with the earthy, crunchiness of black sesame seeds.