Sizzling Cumin Lamb Burgers

Sizzling Cumin Lamb Burgers

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For burgers:
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 tbsp fennel seed, toasted
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp vegetable oil
For toppings:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
1 small red onion
1 red jalapeno
1 generous cup cilantro, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1 tbsp black vinegar
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
kosher salt


Coarsely grind spices in a mortar and pestle.  Combine 1 tbsp of spice mixture, salt, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl.  Add ground lamb and stir to mix well.  Reserve remaining spice mixture. Let lamb marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Char onion and jalapeno over a grill/grill pan or over a gas stove top until softened and charred in spots, about 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, thinly slice the onion and the jalapenos.  If you want to eliminate some of the spice, remove the seeds from the jalapenos.

Combine cilantro, scallions, vinegar, sesame seeds, and charred red jalapeno in a non-reactive mixing bowl. Season to taste with some of remaining spice mixture and kosher salt.  Toss to combine. 
Form four equal sized burger patties with your hands.  Form a divot/indentation in the center of each burger to ensure that they stay flat once cooked and don't puff up into giant burger balls with peaks in the center.  Drizzle your hands and the exterior of the burger patties with vegetable oil.  Set aside.

Preheat a grill pan over moderately high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place burgers gently in the pan.  Cook, flipping once, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium.  Remove burgers from pan and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes.  Assemble burgers on buns with cilantro salad and grilled onions.