Hari Nayak is a celebrated Chef, restaurateur, and author whose goal is to make Indian food accessible and fun. Chef Nayak was born in India and learned very early on that he had a love of the culinary arts. Having mastered Indian cuisine, he decided to broaden his knowledge at the CIA, where he graduated with honors. Nayak worked under some of today’s biggest names in cooking, including Albert Adria, and Marcus Samuelson. He has numerous restaurants, and has written various cookbooks all aimed at making Indian cuisine less intimidating to the public. I asked Chef Nayak for a recipe that imbued the feeling of summer. He offered his Spiced Lamb Burgers and explained: “These lamb burgers are inspired by the traditional lamb kebabs flavored with spices that I have eaten in Delhi, a capital city in northern India. I love the aromatic smell and complex flavor Indian kebabs and the classic American grilled burger. This is my way of incorporating the two. This is a perfect summer burger and pairs well with a chilled glass of beer.”
Chef Hari Nayak’s Spiced Lamb Burger Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour to rest the patties
Cook time: 15 minutes – Makes four 1/3-lb (150-g) burgers or sixteen 1½-oz (40-g) sliders
1½ lbs (750 g) ground lamb
3 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and pounded
3 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and pounded
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
4 tablespoons minced fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 fresh green chili peppers, minced
2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
Oil, for brushing the burgers
For sliders: 16 small buns
For burgers: 4 hamburger buns
1. Place all of the ingredients, except for the oil and bread, in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well. With wet hands, mold the mixture into 4 equal-size patties or, to create sliders, 16 equal-size patties. Refrigerate the patties at least for 1 hour.
2. To cook the lamb patties on the stovetop: Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Lightly brush the pan with oil or a nonstick pan spray. Cook the lamb patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium doneness, brushing with oil to prevent sticking.
3. To grill the lamb patties: Preheat the grill to high. Lightly oil the grate with vegetable oil pour oil onto a paper towel, then hold the towel with tongs to wipe the oil onto the grate. Place the lamb patties on the grill directly over the heat. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium doneness, brushing with oil to prevent sticking, turning once.
4. While the meat is cooking, prepare the bread. For sliders, cut each of the naan breads into 6 wedges. Toast the naan wedges on the grill. Serve the sliders on top of the naan or between small buns; serve ¼-lb (125-g) burgers stuffed into the pita pockets or sandwiched between hamburger buns.
Do not press down on the patties with a spatula during cookingthis only squeezes out the
juices and dries out the lamb.
To taste Chef Nayak’s culinary creations, head to his newest restaurant, Matt & Neera located at 618 Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ (201) 683-9431