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Masala Burger

I love the rich, exotic spices of Indian cooking, but my friends and family are sometimes suspicious of unfamiliar tastes and flavors. The Masala Burger incorporates all of the ingredients I love about Indian food and pairs it with a medium my guests recognize as familiar.


2 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
5 tablespoon garlic paste
4 tablespoon ginger paste
3 teaspoon dried red chili pepper
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon cardamom
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
ghee (oil) 1 cup -Reserve 3-4 T for grill
3 medium white onions
6 Sesame buns
1 C plain yoghurt
6 teaspoons cilantro


Pre-heat grill- Medium heat Mix ground beef with 4 T garlic paste, 3 T ginger paste, dried red chili pepper, paprika, coriander, tumeric, cumin, cardamom, 2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Round beef mixture into six patties. Coarsely chop onions and place in fry pan over medium heat with ghee and remaining garlic paste, ginger paste, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are transluscent, about 20 minutes. While onions are cooking, lightly brush grill with oil and place patties over direct heat. Cover grill and let patties cook each side 5-7 minutes at medium heat. Remove patties from grill and cover. Place buns on the hot grill and toast, about three minutes. At that time, whisk yoghurt. Remove buns from heat and arrange burgers on buns. Top patties with onion mixture, 2 tablespoons of yoghurt and 1 teaspoon of cilantro for each burger. Makes 6 burgers.


While yoghurt is not generally thought of as a condiment for hamburgers, this recipe has some heat that requires a cool respite. The cilantro rounds out the exotic spices and is a nice change from plain lettuce or basil. This is a delicious recipe that can be made even more exotic by using ground lamb, adding cinnamon and nutmeg and using traditional Indian nan instead of buns. I hope you enjoy it!