Bangladeshi burger recipe

BH&T Bangledeshi burger recipeSpicy Korma Burger with Yogurt Lentil Sauce
Bangladesh is surrounded on three sides by India with a small area bordering Burma and the southern coast along the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.  The people of Bangladesh are ethnically Bengali and almost 90% are Muslim.

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

So, while Bangladeshi food will seem very similar to Indian food, there are some important differences.  Because of the Bengali influence, Bangladeshi food is traditionally very spicy.  Don’t let this scare you away from this part of the world, you can still enjoy the rich flavors without killing yourself with heat.  In the recipe below I used a Thai Chili, but if you want it more mild, substitute a jalapeno and/or don’t use as much of the chili.  You can also generally reduce the heat if you discard the seeds as most peppers have a lot of heat in their seeds.  The hotter you make this, the more authentic to the country, but if your family won’t eat it, authenticity counts for nothing.

The other big difference between Indian cooking and Bangladeshi cuisine is that beef is eaten regularly in Bangladesh (especially when guests are invited over).  Because India is primarily Hindu, beef consumption is practically non-existent (especially when you look at the stats on a per person basis).  So, even though fish is the most common protein in Bangladesh, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pair beef with the richness of the flavors of this region – bringing two of my favorite things together on one plate, what could be better?

Bangladeshi meals regularly feature dal.  Dal is a method of preparing certain lentils peas and beans.  It is rich, fragrant and yummy.  The challenge with creating a burger is that layering too many flavors can get overpowering – so, rather than blow out your palate, I’m letting the Korma sauce carry the rich complexity of flavors and instead use the lentils with yogurt to give you a cooling sauce to balance the dish.

I don’t want to play favorites, but this burger will likely stay in the top 5 even when I’m done with all 192.  The sauce is as good as we’ve gotten at our favorite Indian restaurants (most of which serve plenty of Bengali dishes), and works amazingly well with the ground beef.  It is delicious with veggie burgers and surprisingly easy to make.  The only caveat on ease of cooking is that you need to give the Korma sauce time to cook and, if you can give it overnight to steep, it is even better.

Bangledeshi Burgers
1 pound 80% lean ground beef
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
4 pieces of naan or other flat bread
Yogurt Lentil Sauce
Korma Sauce

Combine the beef with salt and pepper and form into four patties.  Cook burgers to desired temperature.  Trim naan into 8 burger sized squares.  You can warm these for about 5 minutes in a 200 degree oven if you want warm bread.  Spread 2-3 Tablespoons of the Yogurt Lentil sauce on 4 of the pieces of bread.  Set the burgers on top then add 1-2 Tablespoons of the Korma sauce to each burger and serve.

Garam Masala
¼ cup whole cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 whole cinnamon sticks
8 whole green cardamom pods bruised (lightly crushed)
5 whole cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground mace (you can substitute nutmeg)
2 teaspoons whole black pepper corns
2 whole star anise
2 bay leaves

Place all ingredients in a small nonstick pan over low heat and toast for 3 minutes or until fragrant.  Remove from heat and cool the spices for approximately 5 minutes.  Place all spices in a spice grinder and grind until you have a consistent powder.  This will make a lot of the spice mixture, but you can store it in an airtight container in the freezer almost indefinitely (4 ounce baby food jars work great).  You can also purchase Garam Masala already prepared, but be aware that there are many different recipes and each will give a different taste to your dish.

Korma Sauce
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup onion diced
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1 Thai Hot chili pepper diced
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon minced ginger
6 ounce can tomato paste
½ cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
kosher salt
½ cup 2% milkfat Greek yogurt

In a medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium low heat until melted (or until thinned if using substitute options).  Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes).  Be careful to keep your heat low enough that the onions don’t brown.  Turn the heat to low and add the next four ingredients one at a time, letting the mixture cook for 3 minutes after each ingredient is added.  When you’re finished, it should look something like this….

BH&T Bangledesh korma in process

Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, then add the coconut milk and brown sugar and cook for another 3 minutes.  Salt to taste.  If you have the time, let the sauce cool to room temperature then refrigerate it overnight in a covered container.  You can use the sauce same day, but more time=more flavor.  The next day, remove the sauce from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature (this isn’t strictly necessary, just makes it easier to warm up evenly – you can go straight from fridge to stove).  Place the sauce into a medium sauce pan and warm over low heat until warm through.  Add the yogurt and adjust seasoning to taste (more yogurt will cut the heat, more peppers or some cayenne will make it hotter).  You’ll want the sauce warm for serving with the burgers

BH&T Bangledesh korma sauce

Yogurt Lentil Sauce
½ cup red lentils
½ cup 2% milkfat Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon Kosher salt

Boil lentils for 5 minutes in salted boiling water.  Strain the lentils and let them cool to room temperature.  Combine cooked lentils with yogurt and salt, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

BH&T Bangledesh lentil yogurt sauce2

Copyright © 2010 Linda Monach

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10 Responses to Bangladeshi burger recipe

  1. Snozberries says:

    Looks delish…I’m going to have to try this one. Well, Sam and I will due to the boys being wussy’s and not tolerating any form of heat to their food.

    • linda says:

      Between the tomato and the spice, the boys will definitely not like this one. Thank goodness you and Sam have adventure in your hearts!

  2. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for rookie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • linda says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, sorry your first comment didn’t go through. I am, myself, a rookie blog writer, so I have no real expertise to share. I’m just writing what I love and hoping people will be interested. Good luck with your blog

  3. Rick T says:

    Some of these burgers are notable for way the flavors all come together (Algeria, I think, and Bahrain) while others stand out more for particular components . In this recipe, I think the Korma sauce steals the show. Very yummy. I’m definitely going to use that again, but I think I’m going to tinker just a bit with the yogurt-lentil sauce. I admit though, with my audience I have to temper the heat some and in my heart I think that’s what left me less than knocked out by the combination. The yogurt-lentil is there to cool things down a bit, and if I’ve already had to do so I’m not going to get the same effect. I also didn’t reach too much with the pairing, just serving it with Dundee Honey Brown beer, which is just a comfortable familiar (and local) choice.

    • linda says:

      You hit this one dead on too – the Korma sauce steals the show. I could basically just eat the Korma sauce with bread and be a happy gal. Send the family out of town and kick up the spice, you’ll like it even more! 🙂

  4. Bad Ass site thumbs up 😉

  5. Pingback: Guyana burger recipe | burgers here and there

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