Grill or Stovetop: Masala Burgers Topped with Tamarind Chutney

July 24, 2023

Grill or Stovetop: Masala Burgers Topped with Tamarind Chutney

Would it surprise you to learn that I'm willing to eat at McDonald's in India but have not stepped foot in one in the United States in years? As so many of my cookbook users and readers of this blog have come to know, I am largely a plant-based eater. I don't talk about it a ton only because I'm not perfect nor do I strive to be. But, I rarely if ever eat meat or fast food - I just feel better eating home cooked, vegetarian meals. But, when I go to India I will indulge in a 'burger' from the golden arches. Mainly because the franchise in India caters to an Indian palette. When it first opened in Delhi back in 1996, it was the first beefless McDonald's outlet. Because Hindus technically do not eat beef, all the burgers were made from lamb. I remember visiting as a college student and being able to also get aloo tikki and paneer burgers. In Chicago, a few years back, the headquarters offered up some of their international menu on rotation. Sadly, it did not stick. I think it would do well in a U.S. market if marketed correctly. This recipe below is what I pull together for my family when they want an Indian version of a burger. I tend to stick with my vegetarian options, but my family is like many Punjabi families - mixed eaters. My husband eats meat while my kids lean vegetarian, but will eat it occasionally. This recipe below works really well because of the addition of chaat masala, which adds a tanginess that is subtle and addictive. Other recipe that I've seen add items like green chiles, cilantro, and ginger. You can do that as well. I honestly think simpler is much more delicious. When you start adding more of the other ingredients, it just feels like a kabob on a burger bun. Try it both ways and let me know what you think in the comment section below. And if you prefer the vegetarian version click here for my chickpea burgers - what I make for myself on 'burger' night. There really is room at the table for all of us. 

Grill or Stovetop: Masala Burger
Makes about 8 burgers

1 pound ground meat (chicken, lamb, beef, or turkey)
½ cup red or yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons chaat masala
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne 

Place all the ingredients in a deep bowl and hand mix until blended. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture and hand-mold the burgers. Put on some disposable kitchen gloves if you don’t want to handle raw meat. It’s important not to overwork the patties so that they don’t cook up tough. Lightly toss them from hand to hand until you form a round patty. You can also take a thumb and make a divot into each patty so that it keeps its shape when cooking. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook.  Cook on the stovetop, about 3-4 minutes on each side or grill until cooked through.  Enjoy on a bun as you would any burger, but try topping this one with our Tamarind Chutney. It's heavenly! 




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