RECIPES: Recipe Details

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LITTLE SAIGON CARAMEL BURGERS with AVOCADO PATE and NAPA CARROT SLAW

Ingredients 

Ingredients for Burger:
2 tablespoon pure caramel syrup (Torani’s)
3 tablespoon frozen minced lemon grass, thawed (Sa Bam, available in Asian stores)
2 Tablespoon TABASCO CHIPOTLE SAUCE
2 tablespoon SUTTER HOME WHITE ZINFANDEL
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1 oz pkg glass noodles (cellophane), soaked in boiling water 15 minutes, drained, cut into 2" pieces
Grated zest from 3 medium limes (use juice for spread)
1/2 cup finely chopped Thai purple basil leaves
2 lbs fresh ground beef

Caramel Napa Carrot Slaw:
3 cups finely sliced Napa cabbage
1 1/4 teaspoon salt for sprinkling
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon pure caramel syrup (Torani’s)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted

For Caramel Glaze:
1/2 cup pure caramel syrup (Torani’s)
2 teaspoon TABASCO CHIPOTLE SAUCE or to taste
2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder

For Avocado Pate Spread, mix following:
1 cup mashed HASS AVOCADO
6 tablespoon liver pate from a can (e.g. Flower‘s)
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon TABASCO CHIPOTLE or to taste

Other ingredients:
COLAVITA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL for brushing grill
12 good quality dinner rolls, split
4 cups baby spinach leaves

Instructions 

In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoon caramel. Simmer until reduced to 1 tablespoon. Place caramel in bowl. Add all other ingredients to caramel in the order given, adding beef last. Avoid compacting. Divide beef into 12 portions and make patties the size of the rolls. Chill.
In same saucepan place all ingredients for caramel glaze. Bring to a simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Adjust heat to taste.
Sprinkle Napa cabbage with salt in a colander. Let stand 20 minutes, and then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Mix with remaining ingredients for slaw. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill.
Mix all ingredients for Avocado Pate spread, chill.
Brush grill with oil. Heat grill until hot. Lower heat, place patties on grill and grill for 2-3 minutes. Flip and grill other side, covered, another 2 minutes or until desired doneness. Brush with caramel glaze on both sides while grilling.
Heat rolls on periphery of grill. Brush cut sides of rolls with pate avocado spread. Place a few spinach leaves on each bottom roll. Place burger on top and some slaw. Cover with top roll, secure with skewer, and serve right away.

Yields: 6 servings (12 mini burgers total)

Comments 

I like smaller size burgers for parties as they look cute. Since Vietnamese cuisine often uses caramel in meat stews, I used caramel for the burgers, the glaze as well as the slaw. It took me a while to find "pure" caramel syrup without the addition of milk, but making caramel myself is too time consuming. I mixed in cellophane noodles to make the burgers juicy.