Burgers Around the World II

I hope you enjoyed the Burgers Around the World I post last week, and maybe even got to try one of the recipes (after all, Hatch chili season is fleeting).  This week Jake is bringing us "burgers" from the other two cultures I'll be covering in Cooking Around the World.  These are a little more unusual than the ones from New Mexico and the Philipenes -- there's not a speck of ground beef in sight.  Here's what he has to say:

While they do serve westernized hamburgers in Greece (and there are a number of "Greek" burgers out there, made with olive-studded buns or topped with tatziki or feta), the more traditional equivilant of the burger is the sandwich-style souvlaki. Once the meat hits the pita, the terms souvlaki and gyros are often used interchangably, but if you want to get technical about it, gyros are made from large cones of meat that spin (the word "gyro" after all means "to spin") as meat is shaved off of it, while souvlaki is made from chunks of meat that have been grilled kebab style (great for street vendors, and also more "doable" for the home cook).  In Greece, these are most often made from pork, though you can substitute lamb, beef or chicken as desired.

Sandwich Style Souvlaki

2 cups of Greek yogurt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 English cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
1 1/2 lbs. pork roast or stew meat

3/4 c. olive oil
1 onion, minced (first reserving 2 or 3 thin slices for serving)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. fresh Greek oregano, minced

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
6 round pitas
1 medium tomato, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, oilve oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  Grate the cucumber into the bowl, stir well and referigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.
Cut pork into 1" cubes and place in gallon size zipper bag.  Add olive oil, onion, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Seal the bag, then squish the ingredients around inside the bag to combine the marinade and work it into the meat a little.  Place the bag in the referigerator and marinate for at least an hour (or overnight), squishing the bag again in the middle of the marinating time.

Meanwhile, soak 6 wooden skewers in warm water (for at least half an hour).  When the pork is done marinating, drain off the marinade and thread the pork cubes onto the skewers.  Grill the pork until it is cooked completely through, turning occasionally.  Remove the skewers and set aside.  Grill the pitas until browned.  Top each pita wit a couple of slices of tomato and a few rings of onion.  Unthread  a skewer worth of meat directly on top of each pita. Top with the cucumber yogurt mixture (tatziki sauce) to taste. 

In China, burgers are commonly conisdered street food.  Often, they resemble open-sided steamed buns (with the "bun" portion of the burger coming from the same type of dough, and , yes, having been steamed).  The bun is split (or else steamed folded over), and then some type of meat is placed in the center.  It can really be whatever you like, from a gingery ground chicken patty to chipped teryaki style beef.  For mine, I'm going to stick with the pork theme and do slices of teryaki pork.

Chinese Bun Burgers

1 1/2 lb. pork butt, sliced 1/2" thick (try to make 6  pieces) 
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 tbsp. scallions, minced

Place pork slices in a gallon sized zipper bag.  Add soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger.  Seal bag (removing as much air as you can) and squish and shake the mixture until the sugar disolves completely.  Place the bag in the referigerator and let marinate for at least two hours, flipping and squishing the bag during the marinating process.  Once it has completed the marinating process, grill it until completely cooked.

Meanwhile, cut six 3" squares from parchament paper, and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and yeast with 1 cup warm water.  Set aside for at least five minutes to allow the mixture to become foamy.  In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Add yeast mixture and combine thouroughly.  Add the vegetable oil, and knead until a smooth dough forms.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Divide into six equal portions.  Roll them into balls and let rest for five minutes.  On a floured surface, roll each ball out into a slightly elongated oval.  Useing a pastry brush, brush the top with oil.  Fold into a moon shape (oiled side in) and place each piece on one of the parchament squares.  Place each one (square side down) in a bamboo steamer placed over room-temperature water.  Allow the dough to rest in the steamer for ten minutes, then turn the burner on to medium high heat.  Start timing when the water boils, and steam for five minutes.  Allow it to rest for a minute or two before you open the steamer.


Flop each bun open, place in a piece of pork, and garnish with a few minced scallions.


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