The Quest for the Best Beef Burger in Kuala Lumpur

And that happens right here in my kitchen, as requested by Frank. Last sinful post before embarking on a vegetarian diet for 2 weeks.

Who would have known that, some 120 years ago, that this ‘meat in a bun’ would take the world by storm? We have major fast food chains such as McDonald’s to thank. Nowadays, there are hundreds of variations in different parts of the world. Regardless of the toppings combination, a good burger must have the following: fluffy buttery bread, juicy patty, just right amount of lettuce for the crunch, and a bitey slice of cheese. Ticking those criteria, the rest becomes secondary.

Everyone has their favourite burger. Mine would be the Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s as fast food goes (don’t judge), or the famous Pork Burger from Sid’s Pubs. However, as far as toppings go, my favourite has to be the beetroot (says the little Aussie in me). The first time I’ve ever had beetroot in my burger was, believe it or not, the McOz Burger from McDonald’s. Why they’ve discontinued it, I have no idea, but fear not, I’m putting it back to mine this time!

I’ve enlisted google as a trusty partner when it comes to recipe research. I found this brioche burger bun recipe used by a few food bloggers and it seems to be foolproof, and even claimed as the best out there. I can second that claim! It’s important to use good quality mince beef which contains some fat, keeps the patty from drying out. You can see that I’ve used quite a bit of spices, only because I got slightly carried away. But the results was stunning! Like this:

Bite me!

Light Brioche Burger Bun (Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times)

Makes 4 burger buns

2 tablespoons warm milk
1 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoons sugar
1 large eggs
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 4 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Then ogle at the pretty buns. Burger buns, I mean. Look how perfect they are!!

Pretty little buns

Time to proceed with the rest of the burger….

Beef Patties:

500g beef mince
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon HP sauce (or you can use Worchestershire Sauce)
2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 egg, whisked
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste

Toppings: 

Butterhead lettuce, hand torn
Tomato slices
Cheddar
Crispy Bacon
Onions, lightly fried
Beetroot – roasted in oven for 1 hour and sliced. (Or you can use the canned stuff)
Ketchup

Prepare all your ingredients before you begin. Place the beef patties ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands or a spatula until evenly combined. Divide the mixture into 5 equal portions.  Shape each portion with your hands into a patty about: 10cm in diameter and 2cm thick.

Place the patties onto a tray lined with- greaseproof paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest. Chilling the patties will help them hold together when cooked. This also allows the flavours in the patties to blend and develop. Meanwhile, have the beetroot wrapped in foil and roast in oven for at least one hour. Let cool, then slice them into discs.

First cook the bacon without oil in a non-stick frying pan until crispy. Then, using the bacon grease, cook the patties for about 4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. In the last minute. Place the cheddar slices on top of the patties.

Meanwhile, butter the burger buns (I only butter the top part) then place them cut-side down on a hot pan for 1 minute or until golden.

To serve, top the bottom halves of the buns with tomato and lettuce, place the patties, squeeze some ketchup on top then finish with bacon, onions, and beetroot. Close with the top buns.

Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly large beast in front of you. The buns were light enough they could be easily compressed down, and the whole burger still fit in my small mouth (if you know me, you KNOW I have a small mouth). I should have pressed down the patties flatter and wider as they tend to shrink a little during the cooking process. But that’s a small flaw. It’s nearly the perfect burger though, verified by Frank. Eat your heart out, McDonald’s!

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