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Best ever burgers with spiced onion

Indians cook a lot of kebabs, often highly spiced and flavoured from the inside so you need little with it. A burger, though is quite different. The elements that go with the burger are almost as important as the meat itself to a perfect, sense-satisfying end. This burger has those qualities, the burger itself is lightly flavoured, the onions add sweetness, bite and a little flavoured crunch from the seeds, while the roasted chilli yogurt adds cream and spice which makes them hard to put down. A really great, grown up burger, these will soon become a favourite.  




  • 450 grams minced (ground) beef or lamb, with some fat on it
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) finely chopped root ginger (peeled weight)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5-6 burger buns or baps
  • 1 large tomato, sliced crossways

Roasted green chili yogurt:

  • 3 large green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with the tip of a knife
  • 2 rounded tablespoons thick Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche or mayonnaise
  • A good handful of chopped cilantro

Spiced caramelized onions:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon panch phoran
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced


  1. Mix together the ingredients for the burgers (except the buns and sliced tomato), season with 1-1/4 - 1-1/2 teaspoon salt and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. You can either cook the chillies on the BBQ later, or do them in frying pan or griddle pan in advance. Wherever you cook them, place them directly on the hot surface and cook, turning once the underside has charred and blistered.  Once they are done, wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil for the onions in a frying pan and, once hot, add the panch phoran. Cook for 20-30 seconds, or until the seeds are popping and colouring.  Add the onions and a good pinch of salt and cook over a high heat until they have coloured and are well-browned on the edges, about five to seven minutes. Adjust the seasoning and set aside. You can reheat these on the BBQ later in a flameproof pan, or keep them warm in a low oven.
  4. Mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise and cilantro for the topping, adding a good grinding of black pepper and salt lightly. Once the chillies are cooled, peel off their skins, slit lengthways and deseed; discard the seeds. Then chop the flesh up and add to the yogurt. Set aside. 
  5. When you are ready to BBQ, make five to six large patties out of the minced meat mixture, remembering to make a little flat indent in the centre lightly with your fingers; this will help them cook evenly and not puff up in the middle. Preheat the BBQ.
  6. Place on the hottest part of the grill and cook for four to five minutes, or until a little crisp and charred, then turn over and cook for another one to two minutes. Place one slice of the tomato on the base of each bun, top with a burger, a generous dollop of yogurt, which should start oozing with the heat, and some onions. Place on the lid and eat immediately.

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