Bruneian burger recipe

BH&T Brunei burger recipeSweet Chicken Curry Burger on Homemade Prata (flatbread)
Brunei is one of those countries that I’ve heard of, but really had no idea where it was or anything about it except that it’s a wealthy country.  If pressed, I probably would have guessed (incorrectly) that it was in the middle east somewhere.  It turns out that the lovely State of Brunei Darussalam (abode of peace) is located in southeast Asia bordering the South China Sea and otherwise surrounded by Malaysia.

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

The land of Brunei is not contiguous, in other words, there’s a strip of Malaysia that separates the two territories that make up Brunei.  According to the CIA World Factbook (and I’m thinking they should know this stuff), Brunei is 8th in the world in GDP per capita at purchasing power parity.  Its total land is slightly smaller than Delaware and it is home to about four hundred thousand people.  67% of Bruneians are Muslim another 13% Buddhist.  Brunei is fundamentally a Muslim country – they’ve even created a brand for food Brunei Halal that ensures that the food meets the religious standards – the brand is used world wide much like kosher is used for food that adheres to Jewish religious standards (we even have a local Halal market here in Boston).  Unfortunately, because Brunei is pretty seriously Muslim, they have completely outlawed alcohol, so, out of respect for the customs of the country, you won’t get any tasting pairings from me on this recipe.

Fortunately the lack of booze is made up for by the incredible richness of flavors in Brunei cooking.  Although seafood is pretty common, I wasn’t in the mood for fish, so I went with chicken as something different from our standard beef burger.  Chicken is also pretty common in Brunei and in particular Bruneians enjoy chicken curries.  These curries are often served with a local bread called prata or prantha (depending on who you ask).  The bread is time consuming (because it depends on resting the dough for a long time) but not that hard to make.  I’m sure mine wasn’t perfect, but it was tasty and definitely better than the store bought naan that we tried as a backup.

The bread is very buttery and has a lovely fried flavor to it – because you fry it in butter :).  The curry is rich and sweet and would make an amazing dish all on its own.  I make my own curry seasoning, but if that really intimidates you, you can buy a sweet curry spice from and use that instead.  If you want to buy your curry at your local market, just try to find a sweet version, this isn’t meant to be a spicy dish.  Nothing in the dish requires great culinary skill, just good time management.  It’s a perfect burger for any weather or occasion and great for your friends who don’t eat red meat.

If you like this burger, and I’m sure you will, give the Indonesian burger a try.  The seasonings are different, but both give me that comfort food feeling, and they are two of my favorites.

Brunei burger
1 pound ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Sweet Curry Spice (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
4 Prata (recipe below)
Sweet Chicken Curry (recipe below)
Chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Combine chicken, salt and Sweet Curry Spice and form mixture into four patties.  Melt ghee in a large non-stick pan.  Add chicken patties and cook until done (I use a digital thermometer to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked).  Place cooked patties on Prata and spoon a generous helping of Sweet Chicken Curry on top.  Garnished with chopped parsley (optional – this is really just for color, you don’t need it for flavor)

Sweet Curry Spice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon ground galangal
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ Tablespoon green cardamom pods
¾ teaspoon anise seed
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
¼ teaspoon peppercorns
1 small clove garlic minced

Combine all ingredients and roast in a dry non-stick pan until fragrant – about 5 minutes.  Grind the mixture and set aside until ready to use.

BH&T Brunei Sweet curry spice

2 ½ cups all purpose flour (10.6% protein)
1 cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 heaping teaspoon ghee, plus more for cooking

Mix all of the ingredients then let the dough rest in a ghee coated bowl for 20 minutes.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes in electric mixer with dough hook.  Let rest for 10 minutes, knead again for 10 minutes.  Divide into 4-5 portions.  Use some ghee to grease a cupcake pan.  Roll each portion of dough into a ball and place each in the cupcake pan.  Let the dough rest for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.  Roll the dough on a ghee coated countertop one portion at a time.  When dough is thin enough to see light through, fold it over on itself until you get a square about the right size to hold a burger.  Repeat for each dough ball.  Melt 2 Tablespoons of ghee in a large non-stick pan over med high heat until shimmering.  Add the dough squares and fry until golden then flip and fry the other side (2-3 minutes per side).

Place cooked prata on a sheet of paper towel to soak up any residual oil then serve warm.

BH&T Brunei prata

Sweet Chicken Curry
1 Tablespoon ghee
2 chicken thighs (bone-in with skin)
4 shallots diced
2 Tablespoons Sweet Curry Spice
Juice of 1 coconut (or one can of coconut milk)
4 Tablespoons of coconut cream
1 red jalapeno chopped
1 green jalapeno chopped
4 large cremini mushrooms chopped
½ cup chopped snow peas
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup roasted cashews (unsalted) ground fine

In a medium skillet melt ghee over med-high heat.  Add the chicken thighs skin down and cook for about 3 minutes until browned.  Add shallots and Sweet Curry Spice and cook for about three minutes until shallots are beginning to soften.  Add the coconut juice/milk, coconut cream and jalapenos.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the creminis and snow peas and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.  Shred the chicken meat off the bone and discard bones and skin.  Add the salt and cashews, taste and correct as needed and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve hot.  This can be made ahead of time and reheated.

BH&T Brunei sweet curry

©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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5 Responses to Bruneian burger recipe

  1. Carl H says:

    According to some Bruneian on the net. Prata is called Murtabak in Brunei, while it’s known as prata or roti prata in Malaysia and Singapore (where murtabak is simmilar a bread filled with mince meat).

    Your recipe quite catches the Indian and Arab influence on the Bruneian ‘Malay’ cuisine. Interesting.

    • linda says:

      Thanks Carl. A lot of the recipes I found filled the bread with an egg and/or cheese. While there are a lot of different recipes, they all seemed pretty similar in core ingredients. The really critical ingredient is the ghee – I do love my clarified butter!

  2. srisuryamw says:

    brunei malays have arab and chinese ancestry, rather than indian. so the bruneian dish is more akin to chinese and at times, arab food. indian food was introduced to brunei by indian/pakistani businessmen who make a living in brunei though are not essentially bruneian. good show though!

  3. Rick T says:

    I have to admit, I also would have guessed that Brunei was somewhere in the Middle East. I was a little embarrassed to find it was in the South China sea. I was also surprised to find that the flavor profile was actually a pretty familiar one: these are some of the same flavors to be found in my usual go-to chicken curry recipe. So, I can hardly complain about it. Work lately has left me with little time to cook anything much except the fastest throw-togethers, so I can also rejoice at being able to find the time to start trying new burgers!

    • linda says:

      So glad you’re back Rick! It is hard to find time to do serious cooking, so I appreciate you sticking with it. Chicken curry is one of those great comfort foods of the world, I’m glad Brunei gave me a good excuse to develop my own recipe. I hope work relaxes and you’re able to keep on the journey, there are lots of great burgers coming up (she says modestly) 🙂

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