Bagels and burgers are hot! They’re quick to prepare, can be highly nutritious with the right combo of protein and veg, and there’s hardly any cleaning up.
An authentic bagel — the chewy bun with a hole in the middle — is made with a flour, yeast and water dough which is shaped into a circle then boiled in water for two to three minutes. After draining, the bagel is baked until golden. Sometimes it is brushed with egg wash before baking, sometimes the egg is added to the dough.
Bagels are thought to have originated in southern Germany. ('Bagel' means 'bracelet' in German). Polish Jews adopted the bagel as their own and licenced street hawkers sold them threaded on sticks.
Many believe the burger was created in a small Texan town by a restaurant cook who served a beef patty between two slices of bread. However, the German city of Hamburg also lays claim to the burger as the ground beef patty has been served there with bread and pickles on the side for generations. Whatever its origins, Americans now gorge over 20 billion burgers a year!
Most burgers are still prepared from minced beef. However, chicken, lamb, fish and vegetarian variations are fast gaining in popularity.
THAI-STYLE FISH BURGERS
Burger Patties: 600-700g skinned and boned white fish fillets
2 teaspoons each: sugar, lemon grass paste, fish sauce, finely grated root ginger
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
Buns: 1 medium carrot
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 medium burger buns or small round bread rolls
8 tablespoons mayo
4 crisp lettuce leaves
sweet chilli sauce to taste
Cut the fish into chunks.
Place the sugar, lemon grass paste, fish sauce and root ginger in a food processor. Mix until combined. Add the shallots, lime leaves, garlic and coriander. Mix well. Add the fish in batches, processing until well mixed. Form into 4 patties about the diameter of the burger buns. Brush with oil.
Grill or pan-fry for about 4-minutes each side depending on the thickness.
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler make thin strips of the carrot and cucumber. Place in a bowl of icy water together with the sliced shallot.
Halve and toast the burger buns. Spread the cut sides with mayo. Place a lettuce leaf on each base and top with carrot ribbons. Top with the cooked fish patty, cucumber, shallot, chilli sauce and remaining bun halves. Serves 4.
BLACK BEAN BURGERS
For a low-carb delight, swap the buns for 8 crisp lettuce leaves about the same size.
390g can black beans, drained, rinsed, patted dry
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 each: red capsicum, large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon each: ground chilli, smoked paprika
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon each: mayo, tomato sauce
Buns: 4 small buns, halved, lightly toasted
1 large tomato, sliced
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon mild mustard.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the beans evenly on top. Bake for 10 minutes until slightly dried out.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté the red capsicum, onion and garlic over medium heat until softened.
Place in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients — except the black beans. Pulse until well combined. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the beans. Add the remainder to the food processor and mix until combined. Stir in the reserved beans, Form into four patties adding some extra breadcrumbs if needed.
Increase the oven temperature to 190°C. Place the patties on the baking tray and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
Serve between the buns with the lettuce, tomato and avo and drizzle with combined mayo, tomato sauce and mustard. Serves 4.
SMOKED CHICKEN BAGELS
I used a tomato-based chilli sauce.
1/2 cup plain or flavoured hummus
1/2 cup baby salad greens
150g smoked chicken, finely sliced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each: mayonnaise, chilli sauce
Halve and lightly toast the bagels. Spread the cut sides with hummus. Place the salad greens on the bagel bases. Top with the smoked chicken, tomatoes and black pepper.
Combine the mayonnaise and chilli sauce and drizzle over the tomatoes. Top with the remaining bagel halves.
The filled bagels can be wrapped in a paper towel and heated in the microwave for 30 seconds each or served at room temperature. Serves 2.