JUMP TO RECIPE -
Burgers make me happy. I’m a cautious burger eater because they usually turn up in my life in the calorific company of a bun and fries. Naked burgers happen too but that’s at a regular dinner at home and - with full respect to the burger – it does not quite constitute the full experience. And if I wanted to cook the works, which I’ve done but very rarely, the danger of a spare burger to share looms; not to mention less limited supply of chips than the dainty oxidised bucket, and spare buns.
So sensibly, only every couple of months or so, I’ll treat myself to a burger event at one of the reliable local joints. It’s always a beef burger: I sneer at chicken patties, life’s too short for lamb burgers and veggie ones make me shudder. There must be ketchup; chili or guacamole dip is welcome and gherkin slices are essential.
I eat it properly. Not for me the knife and fork: using cutlery with burgers is bad form, unless to tuck a smear of ketchup into the sandwich. I stick the napkin in as bib, place another on my lap, take a deep breath and grab the beast with both hands. The skill then is in squashing it gently so a bite fits in my (not the largest though one of the loudest) mouth but no gherkin squirts out of the other side.
When you get halfway through, the bottom bun gets soggy and threatens to fall to bits. The trick is to flip: the bottom becomes the top of the bun and the patty can keep on happily leaking the juices into its new base.
Unless the bun is not very fresh/toasted/tasty, I eat it up. I’m not one of those people who discard the top bun up front and leave half of the bottom one on the plate, then slide back in the chair mewling that they’re stuffed. They’re not, they’re liars and can’t handle the Burger Experience properly (now we’ve graduated to upper case). I eat my bun to the last sesame seed and the only concession is donating some chips to The Weather Man, who will always eat any amount.
I usually could use a wash after the whole hands-on experience but have to make do with a napkin or several. Lying back in my chair, I have an empty plate/board/bucket in front of me and not a care in the world. Burgers make me happy.
This number is not beef but I didn’t mention seafood on my list of disdainful burger materials, did I? This number is actually – shall I whisper it? – healthy. Fried but briefly, loaded with crunchy slaw scant on mayo, made of the best source of protein in the discovered universe – who says you can’t have the best of all worlds? You can. Prawn burgers are it.
- Makes 2 patties
- For the burgers:
- 250g (9oz) raw shelled prawns (fresh or frozen and thawed; or a combination)
- 1 bird’s eye chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. cornflour
- ½ egg white
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup groundnut oil, for frying
- For the slaw:
- ½ small head of spring cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 carrot, chopped into fine matchsticks or julienned with a mandolin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tsp mayonnaise
- To serve:
- 2 burger buns
- sweet chili sauce
Half of the prawns are whizzed in a blender or food processor and the other half are chopped very roughly so the burgers have varied texture. If you’re using a mix of fresh and frozen prawns, I’d suggest blending the frozen and chopping the fresh ones by hand.
Place the thawed/half of the prawns in a blender or food processor with most of the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chili. Whiz to coarse paste. Scrape out of the blender into a large bowl, add the chopped prawns, parsley, egg white and the corn flour and mix together well.
Prepare the panic breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. With wet hands scoop half the mixture and form a patty. Drop it into breadcrumbs and turn over to coat. Repeat with the rest of the mix and place both patties on a tray lined with a paper towel. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the slaw, place the shredded cabbage and carrot in a bowl filled with iced water. Leave until the ice melts or for about 30 minutes. Drain and shake off the moisture.
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; you might want to add more mayo or cream, to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing, stir in the remaining spring onions.
Heat the oil in a frying pan until 180C/350F – shimmering hot. Drop the patties into the hot oil carefully and fry for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp. Lower the heat a little if the oil splatters too much. Remove the burgers from the pan and drain on paper towels while you toast the buns.
Place a generous amount of slaw on the lower half of the bun, top with a burger; drizzle with sweet chili sauce (optional) and cover with the top of the bun. Serve the extra slaw in a bowl.