Here’s one for the tail end of barbecue season. In fact, here’s one I was not quite brave enough to take to a barbecue yesterday (cancelled of course, because Grim Rainy Island).
It’s a bit of an experiment, and it drifted into my head after putting some leftover peanuts into a rather gentler pork burger mix for a different barbecue a few weeks back. It worked, but it made me think: aren’t we tottering close to a Pad Thai vibe here?
Why the heck not. In for a penny.
In, also, for an eye-watering quantity of fish sauce. Damn, that stuff’s pungent. Like, borderline is-this-recipe-worth-it pungent. Oh, it cooks out – it’s great. But there’s ten minutes coming up where you will not enjoy being in your kitchen.
The burger toppings here are a bit of an issue. Clearly lettuce and tomato weren’t going to fly. Cheese? Maybe halloumi, but noting anglo-american melty. Bacon? Only if it’s so sweet-cured as to basically be confectionary. So what what I’ve done is pack in the remaining Pad Thai ingredients around the burger. It works, but you do end up with something rich.
- Pork mince, 800g
- Peanuts, 100g
- White bread, 50g (on the stale side is fine)
- Spring onions, 4-5
- Garlic, 2-3 cloves
- Chili, to taste (but hot is good)
- Muscovado sugar, 3tbsp
- Fish sauce, 4tbsp
- Tamarind sauce/concentrate, 5-6tbsp depending how strong
- Beansprouts & soy sauce
- 2:1 mix of mayo & Sriracha sauce
- Eggs and/or prawns
Serves 4 – 6, depending how chunky you like your burgers.
Toast the peanuts in a hot ish pan, and then chop them roughly but not leaving any too chunky.
Chop the spring onions, using plenty of the green. Finely chop the garlic, and any chili you’re using – a single hot, fresh green one works nicely.
Mix the fish sauce, tamarind, and sugar, ensuring the sugar is as dissolved as possible. Then tear the bread into chunks, and soak it in this liquid mixture for a few minutes until mushy. This is kinda gross, and I’m sorry.
Mix everything together thoroughly, and shape into flat-ish 10-12cm patties. Dust each with flour just before frying.
Get a frying pan reasonably hot, add plenty of oil, and put the patties in. Reduce the heat to low-medium, and fry them for 6-7 minutes on each side, then put them in a hot oven to finish for ten minutes or so, while you prepare some extras to serve with.
Quickly stir fry a handful of beansprouts per burger, in the run off fat and juices. Finish them with soy sauce and maybe some sesame oil. Optionally, flash fry some prawns and garlic in the mix, too. Then fry an egg for each burger, hot and fast so they fluff and sizzle. Over easy is your friend here.
Serve the burgers in lightly toasted buns with a dollop of sriracha mayo, a handful of beansprouts, and topped with the fried egg.
Please eat something green with this.
The overall effect is savoury with some deep sticky-sweet. It’s got a bit of that pad thai feel, and the fish sauce doesn’t dominate. I’ll probably up the tamarind next time, though.
They go wonderfully sticky, with this fait red-ish caramelised colour, and I suspect they would be a nightmare on an actual barbecue grill.
Note: this owes a massive debt to the super-accessible Pad Thai recipe in Felicity Cloake’s second book: Perfect Too