A few months ago I saw a recipe from Chef Jeremy Pang that really caught my eye. It was a recipe for fish cakes from his upcoming book; Chinese Unchopped (out this June). In it he added an unusual ingredient; green beans. Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of fishcakes, especially the ones you often find here in the UK that can be overly starchy and under seasoned, and at least 50% potato (ummm those are poorly done latkes people!). The few times I have made the mistake of ordering them I’m always disappointed, as I’m forced to eat the same exact bite over and over again. No texture or flavour variance, nothing new or exciting to keep me eating more- so boring!
This burger was an attempt to do just that, along with something interesting using the baggie of green beans sitting in the fridge. As a parent I’m always trying to add vegetables into whatever I’m cooking. I won’t lie to my kids if they ask what they are eating (“Yes, that’s carrot-shaped chocolate, Sweetheart”) or try to ‘hide’ the veg per say, but there’s also no harm in getting a few extra bites of green in along the way.
The heavy-handed teaspoon of cumin, clove’s worth of minced garlic and finely diced shallot add delicious flavour, and green beans provide some intriguing texture. I could see adding some grated carrot, courgette or even some feta if you have it on hand. This was a nice change from the standard samey patty, and something I’ll continue to make variations of in the future. Thanks Jeremy for the green bean inspiration!
500g free range pork mince
1 large handful green beans, topped and tailed, blanched and sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 generous tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
After topping and tailing your green beans, blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so until cooked but still crunchy and bright green. Then run under cold water, dry thoroughly and slice into 1cm size rounds. Dice your shallot, mince your garlic and combine all ingredients above with your minced pork.
In a large pan add enough oil to just coat the bottom, and heat over a medium high flame until hot. Form your desired size patties, and fry on each side until golden brown. Take a bit more care than you normally would to keep the patty intact, as the beans will make it slightly more delicate.
Drain patties on a paper towel briefly before building your burger. I served mine with wholewheat buns, baby beetroot salad and slathered with Greek yoghurt. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ve got all the components for an honestly satisfying meal (no carrot-shaped chocolate required).