Sunday, May 23, 2010
It's Sunday afternoon and I finally have a little time for some update. Workdays generally leave me exhausted by sundown and Wednesday had been hellish.
However, why focus on the bad bits right? I have at least one reason to rejoice.
Yesterday, the new oven (finally!!!) and cabinet have been set up (albeit some minor issues with missing drawer dampers and the top door knocking against the ceiling light when opened). I have patiently ran through four cycles of burn off to get rid of its funky smelling fumes. After this I hope to find a good roasting pan and try this next weekend. Also, I got this trolley to create a mobile counter (note to self - keep the top empty always.)
Onto this whole burger business now.
How did this come about? I'm not a fan of burgers but on one of our weekends out we landed at this place out of curiosity, extreme hunger and not wanting to walk further to Orchard Central to decide on lunch (objective of going to Orchard Central being The AFC Studio, which then brought me to dinner with Laura Calder next week!!!).
I had the first decent beef burger in my life (have not tried the ones at Las Vacas, which I suspect might be better) - the buns were soft and juices oozed from the perfect medium rare patty. Vijay, however, went on and on about how they don't make chicken burger out of patties anymore and instead just slap on a whole piece of chicken thigh. We then went into a detailed discussion involving me explaining the difficulty of creating a juicy chicken patty compared to other meats and him saying McDonald's (!!!) used to have a great Chicken Big Mac so why is it so difficult.
That conversation was left off where it ended but one night at about three in the morning I woke up with it in my head and later toyed with the idea to attempt a chicken burger patty. The day before I've shopped for a couple of deboned chicken thighs with the intention of pan-searing them, to be served with potatoes and mushroom sauce (done so many times but Vijay loves it). So while in the dark in bed, Google on iPhone led me to this site for some chicken patty chemistry guidance. With chicken it would be unrealistic to leave out binding agents so to compensate for flavor, using chicken stock is a brilliant idea. Panko breadcrumbs being drier than fresh breadcrumbs can be balanced by grinding a portion of it.
I also (couldn't help but) checked my favorite cooking blog for some possible adaptation. While shaping the patties, I decided to make oversized ones like those at Billy Bombers for some drama but in all my excitement to do so they turned out (just) a tad too big (as you can see from the photos, I couldn't finish mine and it takes forever to cook!).
This burger is all about the patty so I kept the condiments minimum and flavors light. Another tip for a juicier patty - chop the chicken by hand instead of food-processing it. Adjust the size of the patties to more level-headed portions and I promise you this recipe will be a bliss.
The patties turn out to be a success, juicy and full of flavor. Vijay's conclusion? The best chicken burger he ever had, comparable only to Burger King's (!!!!!!) Chicken Sandwich. Hmmppphhhh....
Generously adapted from Hamburger-Recipes.com's Basic Chicken Burger. Makes 2 very large or 4 normal size patties.
- 1 pound/500 grams chicken thigh meat ground or finely chopped
- 1 half onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons hot paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg (I microplaned fresh from the nut)
- 2 teaspoons all spice powder
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 panko bread crumbs (I blitzed half of it and kept the other half course)
- 3 large eggs, one of it lightly whisked for the patty
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (if not homemade, use 1 quarter chicken stock block dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
- 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms
- 2 focaccia bread slices, halved horizontally
- butter for the bread
- some frisée and arugula leaves or any greens or your choice
- some cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of plum sauce dressing
Mix all the patty ingredients (including one of the whisked egg and sesame oil) thoroughly, leaving the salt for after the patties are cooked if you prefer. For tastier result, leave the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate. Make sure the mixture is very cold. Heat up a grill pan for 5 minutes on high flame. Meanwhile divide the mixture into 4 equal (or 2 large) balls and press into patties.
Turn down the heat to medium and place the patties on the pan. Let it sizzle and after a minute or two cautiously lift the edge of a patty near the center of the pan and take a peek. At this point lower the heat slightly to maintain the same degree of sizzle. If the pan is still too hot and the patties are in danger of burning flip them over and readjust the temperature.
For oversized patties ensure the sides of the patties are browned by pushing them against the sides of the grill pan. Cook until the patties are firm to touch and the juices run clear from its center or the internal temp reaches 175°F.
Remove the patties to rest on a wire rack or plate. Toss the mushrooms in the fat left from cooking the patties, seasoning accordingly. If necessary add a small knob of butter. Saute till brown and set aside.
Cook the eggs sunny side up according to preferred level of runny yolks, season with salt and pepper. I used egg rings here to maintain a good shape for the burger but if you have a smaller egg frying pan skip the rings to make it more rustic. Butter the focaccia slices and place on the grill pan, cut sides down. Rotate halfway for grill marks if preferred.
To assemble the burger, place the greens on the base focaccia slice, add the cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the plum sauce dressing. Add on the patty. Place the egg and add the sauteed mushrooms. Add on the top bun.
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