Mini Keema Burgers in Pate a Choux Buns

Mini Keema Burgers in Pate a Choux Buns Recipe

What happens when you combine a classic American dish with recipes from France and India? The correct answer is mini pâte à choux keema burgers. These are definitely out of the ordinary, but they are fun and taste great.

Using choux paste, I made standard cream puff shells which I used as the hamburger buns. I filled them with Indian-style, spicy ground beef mixed with diced potatoes, called "keema". To reinforce the idea that this dish is supposed to be a burger, I added a slice of Gruyère and lettuce.

I was very pleased with the presentation; it really looked like an upscale hamburger. The flavors were fabulously sharp and spicy. These special treats will take you around the world with every single bite.

Ingredients

Yields: 40 mini-burgers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth, warm
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon store-bought no-salt seasoning (blend of 21 spices and herbs)
1-¼ cups Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground beef, rinsed
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 teaspoon red chili powder
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
1 jalapeño pepper, cut into thirds
1 teaspoon garam masala (click on the link for the recipe)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1-½ cups Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled in salted water and diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
a few iceberg lettuce leaves
1 pickle, sliced and quartered
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard


Directions

Prepping the Gruyère cheese:

Slice the cheese and create 40 small rounds of cheese using a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Shred the rest of the Gruyère cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the savory choux pastry dough:

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low; you don't want it to burn. Add the herb blend. Bring the heat up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and add the flour. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon for approximately 3 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter instantly and form a paste. Stir well until incorporated and add the warm vegetable broth in 3 stages. Decrease the heat while constantly stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Add the shredded Gruyère cheese and reduce the heat to low. Season with nutmeg, 2 pinches of salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cool; you could spread it on a flat surface to hasten the cooling time.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with sugar until you get a pale yellow foam; the texture of the eggs will be thicker. Add the eggs and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese to the flour mixture in 4 stages and whisk until fully incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.

Line two baking trays with silicone mats or sheets of parchment paper.

Pipe 40 dough balls. Make sure to space them about 2 inches apart so that they don't touch each other as they will expand when they bake. Using your finger, flatten the tip by moistening it with water.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 25 minutes until puffed and golden.

Remove from the oven and cut the puffed balls in half horizontally. Allow to cool completely.

Making keema:

Heat the oil in a large, deep non-stick pan. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Increase the heat and add ginger garlic paste. Cook until fragrant. Add the green chili pepper, red chili powder, turmeric and garam masala. Once the paste is fragrant, decrease the heat and add the tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Simmer until a little of the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes thicker.

Bring the heat back to high and add the ground meat. Separate the beef in the pan until the meat changes color; add the yogurt. Stir the meat occasionally. Add about ½ cup of water. Wait for the mixture to reach a full boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check the liquid and periodically add ¼ to ½ cup of water if all the previous liquid is absorbed. Add the potatoes. Gently stir the mixture and drizzle with lemon juice. Check seasoning.

Assembly time:

Into the bottom slice of the puffed balls, pipe a little mustard. Fill with  a few pieces of lettuce, a round of Gruyère cheese, a mound of ground beef and a few more pieces of lettuce. Close with the top piece of the puffed balls.

Repeat until all the ingredients are used.

I also garnished the top of the mini-burgers with a little pesto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


Tips

To make a roux (thickening agent made with flour, fat and a little liquid), I always use all the ingredients at the same temperature, so make sure to warm the vegetable broth in the microwave for about 2 minutes (or in a saucepan). If you get lumpy pieces in the sauce, don't hesitate to use a hand blender.

It's important to whisk the choux pastry dough well until the eggs are fully incorporated in between stages before adding more eggs. That way the texture of the dough will be smoother and more homogeneous.

I buy the organic no-salt seasoning at Costco.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 21, 2010.


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