It’s the second birthday of The Cook’s Digest! As our Vietnam adventures were the inspiration for becoming immersed in culinary pursuits, it seemed appropriate to cook a celebratory meal using classic Vietnamese ingredients. And thus the Vietnamese pork and lemongrass burger was created, a decidedly different take on the classic burger.
Vietnamese Pork and Lemongrass Burger
Why Vietnamese Food?
If you haven’t read it already, please check out my life changing experience blog post. It’s been 6 years, almost to the day, that my wife and I returned from Vietnam. Yet the memories of that adventure, with the people and cuisine, and the way the whole episode changed our lives, are still as fresh as if it were yesterday.
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Two mixing bowls
- Pickling jar
- Cast iron frying pan or surface
- Disposable food gloves (recommended)
- Burger/meat press (recommended)
- Kitchen foil
For the burgers
- 500g pork mince
- 45g lemongrass paste
- 4 water chestnut
- 2 green chilli
- 1 small shallot
- Zest from 1 lime
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 inch ginger
- Pinch salt
- Cooking oil
For the condiments
- Handful of beansprouts
- 1 tsp Sesame seed oil
- 1 tsp fish sauce (see below)
- Pickling vinegar
- 1 large carrot
- Chinese leaf lettuce
- Red chili
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
- Pinch salt
Fish sauce is very authentic for Vietnamese cuisine. It is also an acquired taste. If you’re not sure, or don’t like it, substitute it with light soy sauce.
- The morning (or evening) before cooking, slice the carrot into very thin strips and place in a pickling jar. Add pickling vinegar until the carrots are covered, seal and place in a fridge.
- Finely chop the shallot, ginger, garlic, waterchestnuts and chilli. Remove the zest from the lime and then take half of its juice.
- Place the pork mince into a mixing bowl. Add all of the prepared ingredients from the previous step, lemongrass paste and pinch of salt. Mix everything in the bowl together to distribute the aromatics, split into four evenly sized balls.
- For the salad, finely slice the Chinese leaf lettuce, de-seed the chili and finely chop it. Place in a separate mixing bowl, add the toasted sesame seed oil, lime juice and sat, carefully mix together by hand and set aside.
- Pre-heat cooking surface for 5-10 mins. For an Egg, get it to 300°C/570°F and let cooking surface warm up for 10 mins or until the surface temperature reads 300°C/570°F with an IR temperature gun.
- Heat up some oil in a frying pan, then add the fish (or soy) sauce. Add in the beansprouts and cook until the beansprouts are slightly soft. Remove the frying pan from the heat and cover with kitchen foil to keep warm.
- Place the balls of meat onto oiled cooking surface. Cook for 1 min. If cooking with an Egg, close the dome.
- Using a spatula, flip balls of meat over and flatten into patty shapes. Cook for 2 mins. If cooking with an Egg, carefully burp and open the Egg first and close the dome after the burgers are flipped and pressed.
- To keep burger crust intact, ensure the spatula goes completely underneath.
- Repeat the flip action three more times, cooking for 2 mins after each flip.
- Assemble the burger with a base of the Chinese leaf lettuce. Add beansprouts, sliced pickled carrot, coriander to the top of the burger.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- To add a bit more fusion, try a little kimchi with the burger. It’s quite spicy so only a little is needed, it adds an extra kick to the dish.