Comorian burger recipe

Chicken Burgers on Vanilla Rolls with Spicy Curry, Bacon and Avocado

So before we get started on this next entry, I have a story to share.  This week I answered the front door and received a package from our lovely neighborhood postal worker.  It was clearly a book, but I hadn’t ordered a book, so I was surprised.  I opened the letter attached and it said something to the effect of “in appreciation, here’s a copy of the cookbook with your recipe on page 49”!  Huh?  I turned to page 49 and there was my portabello-stuffed pork roast recipe (with some edits that were clearly not mine – I would never recommend substituting grape juice for ruby port, that’s just gross).  I flipped through and realized that my recipe was picture as the feature dish at the beginning of the main dish section!  And I made the back cover, totally cool!  So, if you’re interested in holiday dishes, check out the Taste of Home Holiday Celebrations 2011,default,pd.html&cgid=CBK_HOL.  I don’t get any money if you buy it, but it still makes me happy to know my recipe is in print somewhere – and I can now claim some revenue (the book they sent me is a $25 dollar value) against my mounting expenses, which should make my accountant happy.

Enough of the self “atta boy”, onward to the food.  Continuing the trend of culinary whiplash, our next stop is Comoros.  If your next question is Como who?  Como where?  As I’ve mentioned before, geography is not my strongest suit, that’s part of the fun of this project, I’m learning a ton.  But geography is one of my husband’s strengths, he’s kind of a map geek, he likes to sit down with the world atlas every now and then a check it out (he also reads non-fiction for fun, go figure).  Comoros was one of the few countries on the list of 192 (now 193), of which Paul had never heard.  He had no idea where it was.   So Comoros was particularly fun for our family – good dinner conversation on this one.

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

The Union of Comoros is a group of 3 volcanic islands located between continental Africa and Madagascar.   Despite the fact that it is a small country with a relatively small population (almost 800,000), it has seen more than it’s fair share of suffering.  Over 20 coup attempts since independence from France in 1975, human trafficking, and again we have an average age of 19 for this population.

The cuisine of Comoros seems to be more akin to Northern Africa.  Comorans use a lot of perfume like spices in their cooking – vanilla, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon.  They like spicy food and especially spicy curries.  This provides great inspiration for an exotically tasty burger.  I think that curries make a great condiment, so that was my starting point.  But I really wanted to incorporate vanilla as it is a key crop for Comoros.  Vanilla is tough for me to see as a savory ingredient, it adds such a sweet overtone, I was worried it would overpower the dish.  So, I decided to start baking – yikes, baking – I made a homemade roll with a hint of vanilla as the perfect accompaniment to the burger.  If you really don’t want to bake, just make sure you find a sweet dinner roll that will provide the right counterpoint for the spice of the curry.  Once I had the vanilla in the roll and the heat of the curry, we just needed some veg, some fat and some salt – easy, tomato (I know, it’s a fruit, who cares?), avocado and bacon.  Now I realize that Comoros is a primarily Muslim country, yet I found several references to cured ham in Comoran recipes, so I ran with bacon – it gave a great crunch and just the right salty zing to bring the whole dish together.  I hope the references weren’t wrong, because this just wouldn’t be as good without the bacon – if you have inside info let me know, I might just have to break one of my many taboos and try turkey bacon.

Comoros Burger
1 pound ground chicken
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
4 Vanilla Rolls (recipe below)
Spicy Curry (recipe below)
1 tomato sliced
6 slices of bacon cut in half and cooked crispy
1 avocado mashed

Mix together first four ingredients, then divide into four patties.  Heat coconut oil in a large skillet.  Cook the patties until chicken is cooked through.  Slice the rolls and grill lightly (if desired).  Pour a nice helping of the curry in on the bottom bun then place the patty, tomato, bacon and avocado on top.

Vanilla Rolls
1½ cup all purpose flour
1½ teaspoon yeast
½ cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 lightly beaten egg
coconut oil

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup flour and yeast.  In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk, sugar, butter, vanilla seeds and coriander until just 120°F.  Create a well in the flour and add the milk mixture and the egg.  In a mixer, mix on high for two minutes until completely combined.  Add ½ cup flour and switch to kneading hook.  Knead on the #2 setting for 8 minutes.  Lightly oil a large glass bowl.  Place dough in oil bowl and cover with a clean towel.

Place in a slightly warm, draft free place for one hour until dough has doubled.  Press dough down then divide into 4 portions.  Cover again and let it rest for another ten minutes.  Shape the dough into balls then place on greased cookie sheet.  Press the buns down a bit (I made mine a little too round so the burger was a little bigger than the bun, not a big deal, but try to learn from my mistakes).  Cover with the towel again and place them back in their warm spot and let them rise for another 30 minutes.  Bake in a 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.

the other two were too lumpy to photograph!

Spicy Curry
1 large onion chopped
2 serrano chilies chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
¼ teaspoon dry ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemongrass
½ cup coconut milk

In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil then add the onion and chilies.  Cook over med high heat for about 4 minutes until onions are just starting to soften.  Add all of the spices and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until spices are fragrant.  Add the coconut milk and turn heat to low.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Cool slightly then put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get an even texture.  Use while curry is still warm.


©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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4 Responses to Comorian burger recipe

  1. Great to see vanilla from Comoros highlighted in your recipe! It all looks delicious … we might have to give it a try. We recently included vanilla from Comoros in a Valentine’s day tour of the continent:,54_ways_to_say_i_love_you_in_africa,539.html

    • linda says:

      Thanks. I’ve always been skeptical about the use of vanilla in savory dishes, but it can be a lovely accent – you just have to be careful and not over use it or the flavor over powers the dish. The countries where lots of spices are used are generally the most fun for me. I hope you keep following, there’s lots more of Africa to cover!

  2. Kathleen Wilson says:

    Discovered your blog when I was researching recipes from Comoros, I’m currently cooking my was around the world. OMGosh! This is hands down the best burger I’ve ever had. And the vanilla rolls were well worth the effort. Thanks for the recipe, looking forward to trying more.

    • linda says:

      Sorry to take so long to get back to you, glad you enjoyed the burger – who would have thought that bit of vanilla would make such a perfect touch on a burger!

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