When people think of burger nights at home, it’s fast food—either the kind that doesn’t involve much preparation and goes from freezer to plate within minutes or better still, is preferably collected in a bag through a hole in the wall. Not to sound like a burger Nazi, but in the house of Lim, we’re pretty serious about our burger nights. It’s always been my job to be curious about food and his to always be hungry—the formula for our continual kitchen experiments that have sometimes produced astonishing creations that evolve on their own and finally do make our family’s list of favourite recipes. Our rules of a fantastic burger? None. You can go elegant, subtle and spare or uninhibitedly chunky and pile it up so high that only the mouth of a dinosaur would be huge enough to bite into it. (Actually that’s a great name for a huge burger—The Dino). My point is, once you find the freshest ingredients that work like magic together, (not forgetting a sauce with aplomb) sandwiched between a perfectly textured, not bland burger bun that’s able to handle the lot well, that would be about all that you’ll need.
We’ve always been partial to what chefs like Adam Liaw (in his best-selling cookbook Two Asian Kitchens) and Kylie Kwong advocate in their culinary philosophies and recipes—a bit of the ‘old’ married with the ‘new’ kitchen which makes our food ultimately Australian in its truest form, hinting at the influences from our various migrant roots.
This grilled juicy Japanese Mushroom Swiss Angus Burger is made with panko crumbs and Japanese mayonnaise which gives it that bit of Asian twist and I assure you it’s a delightful combo. Paired with the earthly nutty flavours of caramelised Portobello mushrooms, it kind of brings just the right touch of intrigue to an exotic ‘modern Australian’ style burger.
Is this burger recipe post our vindication for recently having tasted burgers that don’t do the term ‘Gourmet Burgers’ any justice? Maybe just that little bit, ha.
A. Beef Patty Seasoning:
Organic Angus Beef Mince (or mince of your choice), about 400g
handful of basil and thyme (chopped finely)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground all-spice
olive oil (generous drizzle for seasoning mince)/ reserve more for frying patty and onions
panko crumbs (or breadcrumbs)
1 large onion (diced finely)
1 large egg, beaten
3 TB all-purpose flour
B. Mushroom & Onion Relish:
1 large onions, thinly sliced
6-8 Portobello Mushrooms (sliced finely)
4 Slices of Swiss Cheese
sprinkle of worcestershire sauce
1 TB brown sugar
C: To Assemble Burger:
hot English mustard
2 sesame seed soft hamburger buns (readymade)
200g Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise
salted butter (for buns)
4 pieces of lettuce
1 tomato, sliced into 4 rounds
thin curls of cucumber for crunch, or alfalfa sprouts
Directions for Beef Patty:
A. Season the mince well with the finely chopped herbs, diced onions, salt, ground black pepper, all spice and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Mix well with your hands. Add the flour and coat the mince. Add one beaten egg into the mince mixture and mix well again. Shape into 4 burger patties and coat with the panic crumbs. Lay aside.
B. Add some olive oil into a hot pan and stir fry the thinly sliced onions till soft. Add the mushrooms and stir a little, then add some worcestershire sauce. It will sizzle! Add the brown sugar and stir-fry some more till mushrooms are cooked and aromatic. Dish out to a plate for assembling with burger.
Line and grease a baking tray with parchment. This is for grilling the burger patties. Clean the pan and reheat with olive oil again. Pan fry the panko-crumbed burger patties till surface is browned but not burnt. Lay each patty on the baking tray and grill in an oven at 160 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked.
C. To assemble burger, first butter the insides of the hamburger bun with a dollop of butter on each side and only heat the buttered sides till lightly toasted. The bottoms and tops of the burger buns should not be toasted. Lay a piece of cheese on the bottom (inside part of the) bun, then place the still hot burger patty above the cheese to let the heat melt it naturally. Start smearing some mustard, mayo and tomato sauce followed by the mushroom relish and tomato slices on top of the sauces. Place a lettuce on the top just before sandwiching burger with the sesame seed bun.
Wrap burger in waxed paper with a toothpick to hold it together.
Serve with hot chips of your choice.