Cambodian burger recipe

BH&T Cambodia Burger RecipeLoc Lac Sliders
So sorry for the delay in getting this recipe posted.  My niece and nephew came for a visit and we were having too much fun to spend time typing.  It was a wonderful visit (Samantha and I made baby back ribs on the Weber – first time for both of us, they were outstanding, yeah us!).   The kids are back in Arizona and I am back to work writing and cooking.

Courtesy of CIA World Factbook

Our first “C” country is Cambodia.  The Kingdom of Cambodia is in Southeast Asia bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.  Whenever I think of Cambodia, I am reminded of “Swimming to Cambodia”, an amazing film of one of Spaulding Grey’s most engaging monologs.  If you’ve never heard of Spaulding Grey, check out “Swimming to Cambodia” and you’ll learn a bit about making movies and the history of the Vietnam conflict while laughing and maybe being inspired. The funny thing about Cambodia is that I started researching the country and the food, spent about a day on background and then had an “ah hah” moment when I remembered that, oh yeah, I’ve eaten Cambodian food, and I love it!

Courtesy of CIA World Factbook

There was a wonderful restaurant in Waltham called Carambola that specialized in Cambodian food, unfortunately, the restaurant has since reconfigured and become Elephant Walk Waltham (same owners).  Fortunately, Elephant Walk still has Cambodian food (just combined with French food too) and Elephant Walk in Brookline delivers, so we ordered up a feast!  Yum, yum, yum.

Cambodian food draws a lot of inspiration from Thai and Vietnamese food with of course, overtones of French cuisine.  The overall effect is incredibly rich food with, to my palate, deeper more hearty flavors than Vietnamese food and subtler without the spiciness of Thai food.  The Cambodians are also especially fond of a fermented fish paste called prohoc that, luckily for us, I couldn’t find here.  J  You can get a burger in Cambodia at the local Lucky Burger, but as far as I can tell, it’s a pretty basic McDonald’s knock off so let’s just move on without further ado.

I could not resist trying to transform the traditional Loc Lac into a burger and it worked beautifully.  Loc Lac is traditionally made with beef cubes in a rich sweet and salty sauce.  I made sliders so that I could maximize the amount of sauce in every bite.  The result was one of the best looking and best tasting burgers to date, top it off with cooked onions, a little mint and red pepper and you have a treat everyone will enjoy.  Even my dad gave this recipe a thumbs up – I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

I have no idea why, but if you like this, I think you might enjoy the Jordanian burger.  The flavors are totally different, but both seem to fall in some similar category in my head – they are both rich, full flavored burgers that stick in your memory (and that’s saying something given how many burgers I’ve tried).

Cambodia Burgers
¼ cup mushroom soy sauce
3 teaspoons garlic minced
Pinch red pepper
¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
Juice of one lime
⅛ cup fish sauce
1 medium onion sliced lengthwise then chopped ½ inch pieces
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 French baguette
Lettuce
Red pepper sliced thin
Fresh mint chopped (optional)
Fresh basil chopped (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine first six ingredients.  Whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Add onions and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium sauté pan, heat peanut oil over medium high heat.  Strain onions (retain the sauce); add onions to the hot pan.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften.  Remove onions from pan and set aside.

In another bowl, combine ground beef with salt and pepper.  Form mixture into 8 patties 2 ounces each.  Make sure the pan from the onions is still warm (turn the heat back on).  Add the patties to the pan and cook until meat is about half done.  Pour a teaspoon or two of the reserved sauce on the uncooked side of the patties and turn the patties.  Finish cooking to desired temperature.

Remove burgers from pan and place on a platter with foil covering to keep warm.  Pour the remainder of the sauce into the pan and deglaze the pan.  Reduce the sauce by about a third, and then pour the sauce into a serving bowl.

Slice the baguette into 16 pieces and toast the slices.  Layer lettuce on eight of the toast slices. Place a slider patty on top of the lettuce. Top with onions then herbs and red pepper and serve with another slice of bread on top and extra sauce on the side.

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©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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