The Global Burger: India

I love a good burger. While I always enjoy the regular patty on a bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ketchup (as long as it's cooked at least medium rare), sometimes I like to put a twist or two on tradition. In this series of posts, I'm globalizing the burger by revamping it according to other countries' cuisines.

When I was researching my post on foreign McDonald's menu items, I was especially captivated by the innovations offered by Indian branches of the fast food chain. So I decided to make my own take on an Indian hamburger.

First, some disclaimers.

The irony of this venture has not escaped my notice. Many (and depending on which statistics you trust, most) Indians do not eat beef. McDonald's and other transplanted Western chains have accommodated this practice by, for example, not cooking their fries in beef tallow. I also recognize that Indian cuisine is extremely varied, not surprising in a country with so much ethnic, religious, and geographical diversity. My Indian burger draws on some of the more well-known features of Indian foods and is admittedly a very generalized representation. Perhaps in future Global Burger posts, I will cover the subcontinent region by region. For now, please entertain this version:


1 (or 2) all-beef patties 1 large piece of garlic naan, cut in half 1 half cup masala sauce 2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon turmeric Lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion to garnish

Directions Season patties lightly with salt and pepper; cook to your liking on grill or stove top.

Combine mayonnaise with turmeric. Mix well. Heat masala sauce until just below boiling.

Spread turmeric mayo on each piece of naan. On one half, layer lettuce, tomato, and onions. On the other, stack patties as appropriate. Ladle masala sauce over patties and top with other piece of naan.

If constructed correctly, the burger will be messy and require many napkins. More importantly, however, it will sing with the piquant flavors of pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and cream.

Notes: I like my bread squishy, but if you prefer crispier carbohydrates, toast the naan for a few minutes beforehand in the oven. Also, if you follow a no-cow diet, try substituting lamb patties.

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Joanna O'Leary