Kids’ Soggy Burger

Islak

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Anatolia

By David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu

Published 2015

  • About

This is my adaptation of a relatively new street snack, usually found in takeaway joints around Taksim Square in Istanbul, and designed for consumption when you are drunk. It’s a kind of slider, except the sauce is not inside the bun but all around it.

When I first tried islak, I asked the shopkeeper what was in the sauce. He said it was a trade secret. I hung around for a while, and soon saw him pouring the fat that had collected under his döner kebap rotisserie into a mixture of tomato and peppers. I decided not to replicate this, and instead boosted the sauce with ground herbs and spices, and a plum.

My kids love soggy burgers because they are messy and full of flavour. This version won’t give them heart conditions.

Ingredients

Spice Mix*

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pimento
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Köfte

  • 100 g ( oz) breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 200 g (7 oz) minced (ground) lamb mince (preferably from breast)
  • 400 g (14 oz) minced (ground) veal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 brioches or burger buns

Burger Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (to make your own)
  • 1 plum
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz/2 cups) beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint

Method

Using a spice grinder or a food processor, grind the oregano into a powder. Mix all the spices together with the bay leaf. You can keep this powder in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

Put the breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and moisten with 1 tablespoon of water and the vinegar. Finely grate the onion into the bowl. Stir in the parsley. Add the lamb and veal, break the egg in, then add the salt and ½ tablespoon of the spice mix. Knead with wet hands for 10 minutes until the mixture turns into a paste.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Divide the meat mixture into eight balls about the size of billiard balls. With wet hands, flatten each ball into a patty about 2 cm (¾ in) thick.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Finely chop the plum and add. Add the beef stock, salt, pepper and mint, bring to the boil, then reduce over low heat for 10 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry four patties at a time for 4 minutes on each side, until brown, then place on paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining köfte.

Slice the buns in half. Put a patty in each bun. Dunk each bun into the hot sauce and squash down with a wooden spoon. Remove from the pan and serve two buns per person, with plenty of paper towels for wiping hands.