Pork burger, Indian style

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Nothing says summer like barbecue. Here’s to a smoking hot grilling season!

The barbecue culture is one of the first things that all Indian expats adapt to their Aussie lifestyle. It is deep-rooted in our community to gather with friends and family, celebrating with delectable food. And that’s what a barbecue party is all about – good food, good friends, good times!

It is also an extension of our love for tandoori (grilled). Though the Aussie barbecues are far from the tandoori style of preparation, there are several similarities too. Like in most Indian households where the tandoor (clay oven) is usually manned by the men, the barbecue pit is also a male bastion.

The second, and the more important reason, is our love for grilled food. The tandooris and tikkas feature among the best loved Indian foods and there are ample recipes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Now, let’s twist things up a bit. Instead of grilling Oz style burgers this summer, let’s try our hand at this hearty, indulgent pork burger with an Indian twist.

Pork and pineapple is a classic combination, a match made in heaven! And just to spice things up, let’s incorporate some familiar Indian flavours to the dish.

The secret to a delicious, succulent, juicy burger lies mainly in the quality of meat. Instead of going for a store-bought mince, it is best to get good cuts of meat from your local butcher and ask him to mince it up for you. This way you get to choose how much fat goes into the mince. For this recipe, choose the pork shoulder and the ratio of fat to meat in the mince is 1:4.

Minced onion, aromatics and a freshly roasted and ground spice mix is added to the pork mince to infuse the classic Indian flavours. The caramelised pineapple adds a hint of sweetness and brings the spices to life.

The best thing about homemade burgers is that these are healthy, as you are in control of all the ingredients that go in and is a great way to get your family to eat veggies too.

This is an extremely versatile burger recipe; if you do not eat pork, use any meat that you want or even try out a vegetarian version making the mince using mixed vegetables and potatoes.

Ingredients

Makes about 8-10 patties (these freeze well so you can make batches and stock away for later use; another idea is to make meatballs and use it the next time you make spaghetti).

For the burger:

1 kg pork mince (use any meat that you want)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
1 large green chilli, finely chopped

Indian spice blend:

2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp dry chili flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt, to season
1 egg

For the final sandwich:

Burger buns
1 pineapple, cut into thick slices
Cos lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, sliced
½ red onion, sliced finely
A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
Barbecue sauce

Method

To prepare the spice blend, dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds. Cool, add the chilli flakes and grind to a fine powder. I used the entire blend as I was wanted a good kick of the spices but you can add just enough to suit your taste preferences.

If you are using a food processor, throw in all the ingredients for the burger including the spice blend; or finely chop the onion and aromatics and then mix all ingredients together for the burger patties.

Form the mince into circular patties and keep aside. Again, the thickness of the patty is entirely upto your preferences; I make thick ones and for a kilo of mince, I got 10 patties.

Heat a grill pan, brush with oil and grill the patties till done; flip around after giving a couple of minutes to each side to get those char grilled marks. Leave them to rest for at least two minutes before preparing the burger.

Grill the pineapple slices (make sure the grill is smoking hot to instantly caramelize the sugars which keeps the crunch intact and seals the juices inside; on low heat, the pineapple slices go limp and soggy).

Cut the burger buns into half and grill for that extra crunch.

To assemble the sandwich, place shredded lettuce on the bottom half of the bun and layer up in the order of patty, barbecue sauce, pineapple slice, tomato, onions and coriander leaves.

Gorge and get transported to burger heaven!