South Indy-Burger with Masala Oven Fries

 

Ahhh Kerala, the spice coast of India.

 

In Kerala, black pepper or “black gold” along with many other spices, has been grown and exported in enormous quantities since the Greco-Roman era. Some Historians believe that this lush tropical paradise was partially responsible for the colonization of the Americas.

Cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, red rice, coconut, banana and fresh fish are abundant and make up the predominant flavors of Kerala.  Local favorites include dishes like Fish Steamed in Banana leaves with Red Rice, Idli, and Beef Curry.

Wait… what? Beef Curry?
Mmmhmm.

“It is important to note that Kerala has a significantly larger beef consuming population compared to other states of India (Sankaranarayanan et al., 1994). In Kerala beef usually not barbecued, but consumed prepared as curry.”(1)

A vast majority of Indians, 74%, are Hindu. To the Hindu people, the cow is holy; she is the mother, the giver of life-sustaining milk. Most states outlaw the slaughter and consumption of beef. So who’s consuming beef in India?

Although beef consumption is often associated with the Hindu Dalit community, or the untouchables as they are sometimes called; Non-vegetarian Christians also consume beef.  In his essay, Beef and Beyond: Exploring the Meat Consumption Practices of Christians in India, James Staples points out that, “Meat-eating in India cannot be analyzed simply as a marker of ritual impurity: the culinary experiences of South Indian Christians also indicate the importance of meat in forging positive identities.”

The most substantial population of Christians in India are in 3 regions, Manipur 34%, Goa 26%, and Kerala 19%.  Kerala is one of the few Indian states that has not outlawed the slaughter and consumption of beef. The Syrian Cristian’s of Kerala, are meat eaters and love beef. Syrian Christians, aka Saint Thomas Christians, are not ethnically Syrian.

“The term Syrian relates not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious, and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity.” (2)

In this recipe, flavors from a traditional Kerala Style Beef Curry infuse into burger patties with the help of, a not entirely dry, dry-rub marinade.  I make a masala paste utilizing Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric and Kerala Garam Masala Powder. This GM Power uses sweet spices like fennel, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom.

 Beef + Kerala Garam Masala = Everything

Shana from Recipes are Simple, has a great Kerala Garam Masala recipe here if you would like to try making your own, this one is my favorite.

Served with a side of Masala Oven Fries and a Fresh Red Onion Chutney, this South-Indy Burger is an excellent Indian-American fusion.  The whole recipe costs about $7.65 or $1.91 per serving.

A fair price for a beautiful plate that would easily sell for $15  or more at a boutique burger joint.

This burger will be one of your favorites for many years to come.

References

1. Food, Memory, Community: Kerala as both ‘Indian Ocean’ Zone and as Agricultural Homeland by Caroline Osella & Filippo Osella South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies Vol. 31, Iss. 1, 2008

2.The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5 by Erwin Fahlbusch. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing – 2008. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8028-2417-2.

South Indy-Burger with Masala Oven Fries

This Kerala inspired burger is packed with South Indian flavor. 

It's BOLD, JUICY, and FLAVORFUL. 

Spicy masala fries and tangy fresh onion chutney are a perfect accompaniment to this full flavor burger. 

To save time make and marinade your burger patties the night before. 

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients

Burgers

  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil sub any oil
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Kerala or Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Powder
  • 4 each Hamburger Buns I like Potato Rolls
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Fries

  • 6 each Potatoes, White or Idaho whatever is cheaper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil sub any oil
  • 1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder sub 1/4t Cayenne
  • 1 tsp Salt

Chutney

  • 1 each Red Onion, Sliced small
  • 1 each Jalapeno, Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Burgers

  1. First, make the masala paste. In a small skillet heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 30 seconds while stirring continuously, until aromatic. Add the ground spices and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Let cool completely. 

  2. Season the meat with masala paste and shape into four burger patties. 

    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

  3. Season the burgers with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, preferably in a cast iron skillet or a grill pan. Cook three minutes per side for medium. Serve topped with onion chutney, oven fries, ketchup and a little mayo.

Fries

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a small bowl mix the spices.

  2. Cut the potatoes into wedges. Peel and cut them in half then cut each half into thirds. 

  3. In a large bowl toss the potatoes with spice mix and oil. Arrange potato wedges in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes rotating halfway through.

Chutney

  1. Thinly slice a red onion and jalapeno. Season with salt and lemon juice and set aside. 

    Right before serving stir in cilantro. 

  2. Top cooked burgers with generous portions.

Recipe Notes

Please feel free to substitute beef with ground turkey, it will still be delicious.