Double Cheese Burger with Curried Sauce & Masala Fries
My lovely husband commented that the last couple of blog posts haven’t shared much about the countries themselves, they’ve been primarily food focused. Since he’s a pointy-headed geography and history buff, I took this as a criticism and will do my best to make up for my past failings with a discussion of Kenya.
Kenya is an Eastern African country located along the Indian Ocean and bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. It is home to 44 million people making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. It has been Eastern Africa’s largest economy for a long time, but that standing has been less certain in the last 30 years as the country has been rocked by government corruption and damaged by low investment in infrastructure.
Kenya was part of the British Empire starting in the late 1800’s. Jomo Kenyatta led the movement toward independence. In 1963 Kenya became independent and Jomo Kenyatta became her first president. When he died in 1978, Daniel Moi took over through a constitutional succession and real elections weren’t held until 1992. Elections that were fraught with violence and fraud in 1992 and 1997 kept Moi in power. Kenya finally had peaceful elections in 2002 and a new party came in to power on an ant-corruption platform (I’ll skip all the party details, feel free to read up on CIA World Fact book if you’re interested). This didn’t last long, 3 years later the party splintered, allegations of vote rigging in the 2007 election led to violence that left 1,500 people dead. Finally the UN stepped in and helped build a new governing system with a new constitution overwhelmingly approved in 2010 by Kenyans.
The first Presidential elections under the new constitution were held in 2013 and Uhuru Kenyatta won. If you’re paying attention, the name should be familiar, he’s the son of Jomo Kenyatta, the first President. Kenyatta is now tasked with bringing Kenya around, eradicating corruption and building up the infrastructure to support Kenya’s large population. With current unemployment around 40%, this is no small task. The good news is that oil was recently discovered in Kenya, so if that can be developed, that should make a positive impact on the overall situation.
You can’t really talk about Kenya without talking about safaris. Kenya is a top tourist destination for viewing incredible wildlife. It’s on my personal bucket list and also made National Geographic’s list of top 30 Suggested Family Trips. There are tons of websites if you want to learn more about the natural wonders of Kenya, here’s a link to Kenya Wildlife Service http://www.kws.org/
The food of Kenya is influenced by the diverse population. No one ethnic group makes up more than 22% of the total population and CIA World Fact book lists 5 different groups with more than 10% of the population. And, of course, there’s the British influence. Not only did the Brits bring their own food traditions, they also furthered the spread of other influences from within the Empire, most importantly food and flavors from the Indian subcontinent. Indian flavors are everywhere in Kenya and curries and samosas are particularly popular.
As I was researching the flavors of Kenya I found lots of vegetable stews and diverse starches along with many Indian sounding curries and spices. I was looking forward to creating a burger with some stewed greens and garam masala, it was sounding pretty good, then I happen to come across several references to Burger Hut in Nairobi. According to the reports Burger Hut makes the best burger in Kenya, and the pictures look delicious. It is yet another riff on the Big Mac, the big difference here is a little bit of curry flavor to spice up the basic pink sauce. The other important element here is Masala Fries – they’re awesome! Who would have thought that tossing some fries in butter, tomato paste, lemon juice and spices would make for such a yummy dish. The fries are messy, but worth it.
So at the end of the day we got a double cheeseburger with a curried sauce and a fried egg on top – stupendous! You’ll need about twelve napkins, but that’s half the fun. The key here is curry, that makes it distinct, but it you like this, you’ll probably love the Australian burger (fried egg and pickled beets) and the Columbian burger (pink sauce and pineapple sauce with potato chips on top). Enjoy!
1¼ ground beef
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 soft hamburger buns, unsliced
Curried Pink Sauce (recipe below)
4 fried eggs
Masala Fries (recipe below)
Combine the meat, onion powder salt and pepper. Form eight thin patties. Heat olive oil in s non-stick skillet. Fry patties – add cheese after you turn them over and cover to melt the cheese. In the meantime, slice the buns into three pieces. If you can’t find unsliced buns (I couldn’t), just cut a thin slice off the thickest half. Lightly oil a non-stick skillet and grill the buns (grill both sides of the middle slice) until just lightly browned.
To serve, start with the bottom bun, add lettuce, tomato, one grilled patty, the middle slice of bun, a scoop of Curried Pink Sauce then the next patty, the fried egg and another scoop of the sauce. Top with the final bun and enjoy with a side of Masala Fries.
Curried Pink Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cooked French fries (I used a 24 oz bag of frozen fries and just baked them to save on calories)
In a small sauce pan and melt butter, add the other ingredients (except the fries) and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Toss the fries in the sauce and serve immediately.
©Copyright 2014 Linda Monach