As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzaziki, Aurugula & Feta

As someone who loves to cook, and being married to someone who is more that willing to be adventurous with food, I have found myself not doing justice to our willingness to try out foods from different parts of the world. So this week, we made a decision. Starting yesterday, we have solemnly promised ourselves to try making atleast ONE meal a week, something we'd never cooked before, and from a part of the world that we have'nt necessarily been to but hope to see someday.

I have been fascinated with Greece for a long time now. It features in the top 3 on my list of places I want to travel to before I die. Having never cooked 'Greek' food before, the world was my ocean. I found that Greek cuisine shares a lot in common with food from other parts of the Mediterranean, including extensive use of Olive oil, meat, olives, cheeses and yoghurt. The food is extremely flavorful, with the natural flavors of the ingredients coming through, and a refreshing change from our regular Indian cooking.

So here comes post no.1 on my list of Weekly-food-explorations, a flavorful Minced lamb burger with Greek Tzatziki, Arugula and feta cheese, a combination resulting from mixing three recipes that I shortlisted from Makes 4 generous sized burgers.

'Tzatziki' is a Greek yoghurt sauce that is usually served as an accompaniment and eaten with pita bread. Here it is used as a dressing for the burger. Make this ahead, so you can allow it some time to chill in the refrigerator, while you get on with the burgers.
Ingredients for Tzatziki:
1 cup Yoghurt (hung, strained)
1 medium Cucumber, peeled
6-8 Fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Honey
Salt, Pepper to taste
Method for Tzatziki:
1.) Hang the yoghurt in a clean muslin cloth to drain it of most of its water content.
2.) Peel a cucumber and grate finely. Grate only the outer fleshy part. Discard the seeds or just nibble at them while you cook. Using a strainer, squeeze out as much water as possible from the cucumber.Transfer in to a bowl.
3.) Add the rest of the ingredients and the hung yoghurt and mix well. Chill till its time to assemble the burgers.

Ingredients for Burger patty:
400 g Lamb, minced (kheema)
3 tbsp Bread crumbs
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
12-15 mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp Oregano flakes
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 tbsp Milk
Salt & Pepper, to taste.

Method for making the Patties:
1.) Put the chopped onions, breadcrumbs,mint, garlic into a mixer or food processor. Puree in short bursts (on 'pulse' mode) till combined. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.
2.) Add the minced lamb to the bowl. Add the ground Cinnamon, Red chilli powder and splash the milk into the lamb.Rub both hands well with olive oil and knead the pureed mixture into the lamb till well integrated. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
3.) Divide the lamb mixture into four parts for generous sized patties or six for regular sized patties. Roll them between both palms into balls and flatten into a patty about 3/4" thick. Make all the patties.

 4.) Heat a stove-top grill pan. Brush it with a little olive oil. Once hot, grill the patties till they're nice and browned and cooked through- about 5-6 mins each side. Transfer onto a paper towel to drain.

Ingredients for assembling the Burger:
4 Burger buns / or / Pita breads
1 large Onion, thickly sliced
1 large Tomato, sliced
1 cup fresh Arugula leaves /or/baby Spinach
5-6 tbsp crumbled Feta cheese
1 Bowl Tzatziki sauce, as per recipe below
4 Burger patties, as per recipe below

Method for Assembling the Burger:
Slice the burger buns in half. Spread a little Tzatziki on the lower half. Lay out the baby arugula / or baby spinach leaves. Lay the patty on top, followed by the sliced onions and tomato. Top it off with another dollop of Tzatziki and Arugula leaves. Sprinkle the crumbled Feta and finish with the top half of the bun and insert a toothpick all the way through to hold it all together. Eat up!

These burgers turned out absolutely brilliant. I would've preferred to be more authentic and actually stuff these patties and other goodies into a toasted pita bread, but sadly din't find any :( The mint and oregano were delicious together and the splash of milk in the patty made the burgers really juicy, while the bread crumbs helps bind the patty together. Nice. Real nice! :)

1 comment:

  1. Yummm! This is one 'bugga' i am not forgetting :)