When I went gluten-free, my burger consumption plummeted. No longer being able to eat the gluten-filled versions at Nico’s Pier 38 or W&M meant that burgers became something of a complicated meal to make at home rather than a quick, on-the-run option. Gluten-free buns had to be procured from the vegetarian health food store, the ground beef and all the other fixings from another market, etc., etc.
But it occurs to me that maybe I’ve been going about gluten-free burgers all wrong. Instead of making a bland patty that needs to be dressed up with all sorts of condiments, why not pack all the flavor and goodness into a compact, little package and skip the bread altogether, like with these Burmese beef lemongrass sliders?
Infused with a shallot, garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste, these sliders are simple to make, but just as good as those teri burgers and cheeseburgers that I used to enjoy so much. A bit of rice is mixed in with the ground beef to help bind the mixture and provide some starchy goodness.
Beef Lemongrass Sliders
Yield: 4 servings, about 16 sliders
* 1 pound ground beef
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
* 2 Tablespoons minced lemongrass (woody ends and tough outer leaves trimmed- use the white and pale green sections only)
* 4 cloves garlic
* 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
* 1/4 cup leftover, cooked rice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* oil for frying
Place the ground beef in a large bowl and sprinkle with the turmeric and cayenne.
In a food processor, combine the shallots, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger and process until it becomes a paste. Add the rice and salt and pulse several times. Add the mixture to the ground beef and thoroughly mix to thoroughly incorporate the spices and shallot-lemongrass paste into the beef.
Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls and then flatten each slightly to form a thick patty.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef patties and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes before flipping the patties over. Cook until the sliders have developed a golden crust of until they've reached your desired level of doneness.
Adapted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid