Coming back home to our kitchen was wonderful, of course, but coming back to my 6 shelves of cookbooks was almost as good!   Whenever I got tired of unpacking and organizing stuff, I would take a “cookbook-break” – not really opening any of them to avoid getting too distracted, but just looking at the titles and trying to remember my favorite recipes inside.  That led me to the shocking realization that quite a few books remain “uncooked from.”   One of my goals – which I intend to take without pressure – is to bring them to life in our kitchen. The first one was The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, a colorful, fun book written by  Jaden Hair.  I’ve had it for a couple of years, inside I found a small card with quite a few page numbers market “to try soon.”  No one can say I lack good intentions.  😉

(adapted from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook)

1 + 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 Tsp finely minced garlic
2 Tbs minced ginger
2 + 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
2 + 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs finely minced green onions
3 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

for the pickled veggies
1 cup matchstick cut carrots
1 cup matchstick cut cucumber
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix the ground beef with the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, green onion, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.   Try to mix it gently, but incorporating the ingredients well.   Divide the mixture in 4 equal portions and shape them as patties, making a small indentation in the center, as you see in this photo.   Let the meat rest while you prepare the quick veggie pickle by mixing  all the ingredients in a bowl. Wait 5-10 minutes and the pickle will be ready.

Cook the hamburger on a hot grill or on a frying pan with a little oil, for 5 to 6 minutes per side.  Serve with the carrot-cucumber pickle and other toppings of your choice.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  My main modification in the recipe was to reduce a little the amount of garlic – in case you didn’t notice, we tend to use garlic with a lot more restraint than most cooks – and also the amount of ginger.  In her recipe, she used 3 tablespoons of ginger and we both thought even 2 Tbs was a little much, the ginger taste is quite pronounced.   If you are more of a purist when it comes to tasting the meat first, consider reducing it further.  The hamburger turns out moist, succulent, the brown sugar/soy imparts a beautiful color.

I had to refrain from eating the pickled carrot/cucumber by the spoonful.  Loved it!  It goes perfectly with the burger.  If you find good quality kimchi, consider that as a topping too.

Summer is hamburger season by definition, and the 4th of July is right at the corner, so this could be a nice change of pace for the usual burger, celebrating the melting pot of cultures this country is all about!

ONE YEAR AGO: A twist on pesto

TWO YEARS AGO:  When life gives you chard…

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  1. “she used 3 Tsp of ginger and we both thought even 2 Tbs was a little ”

    Do you mean she used 3 TABLESPOONS and you reduced it to 2?

    I bbq’d some hamburgers yesterday and though they’re always tasty, adding new flavours is a great idea for the next time I make some.


      • Yes, I meant to point out the typo/confusion with tbsp vs tsp in the writing though the actual recipe was clear.

        What else could you add to your fresh pickle mixture if you were not a cucumber fan? Raw cabbage? I eat cucumber in sushi rolls but would have no use for a whole pickle in the house. And speaking of sushi, I’m a pickled ginger (gari) fan and eat whatever my table gets served and usually ask for more so I’d consider dicing some from the jar I have and adding it to the hamburger. 🙂


  2. We love fresh ginger and I’d use the whole amount but I agree with you about the garlic. Koreans do use a lot of garlic, however, but you and I are not Korean. 🙂

    I adore pickled vegetables and would consider serving the burgers with kimchi which is heaven to me. It might be a little hot for some, but we love a high heat quotient.

    Beautiful pictures as always, Sally. You make the food look as well as sound delicious. 🙂


    • I’ve always been traditional too, but after getting hooked on hamburgers in L.A. from their fantastic spot called “Umami Burger”, I started to open my horizons. This was my first time cooking “adventurous burgers” at home


  3. cookbook breaks are the best….! Love the pickled veggies with sesame seeds and the choice of mild vinegar with just a hint of sweetness… I could eat this kind of salad/veggie mix all day! (your burgers look pretty great too!)


    • Leftovers were great next day, the pickling quality increases with some rest in the fridge – I could also enjoy just that as a simple salad, with a little butter lettuce underneath. Heaven!


  4. This might be a good one for the kids. They aren’t fans of the traditional hamburger which I find so odd. I loved them when I was a kid. They do eat far more adventurously than I did as a kid though, so I’m not going to complain. 😉 But I do think they would enjoy this one – they love Asian foods. I’m not sure how they would feel about the ginger. My little one eats pickled ginger by the bowl full…so maybe I’ll leave it at 2 Tbsp.


    • You could try it with 3Tbs even, maybe our tolerance for spices is lower than average. I hope your kids will give their approval to this one, it’s quite tasty!


    • Hi, Cheryl – for some reason your comment stayed in the wrong folder for a while… sorry about that

      I don’t think skipping the sesame seeds will hurt it, so go for it!


    • It’s nice to change, shake things a little –

      I once made what is supposed to be the very best hamburger, made only with a little fish sauce added to the meat. Both me and my husband thought it was ok, but no path to Nirvana opened ahead of us… different folks… different strokes


  5. The pickled vegetables on top sound so good! I had a plan to make burgers topped with kimchi at one time, and Kurt was not interested in having kimchi on a burger (at all–sadly). So, the pickled vegetables sounds like a great alternative.


    • 😉

      I don’t think Phil would go for the kimchi either – I did not even look for it at the store, in part because I’m not sure which brand is good. Plus, I would have to eat the whole thing by myself later!


  6. I thought hubby didn’t like his burgers “adulterated:”

    I agree with you about the umami burgers.

    I think I’m going to try to make larb this weekend.


    • Nothing that a little stay in L.A. couldn’t take care of… 🙂
      He is ready for adulterations…
      Larb is wonderful, that’s something I haven’t done in a while, let me know which recipe you tried, ok?


  7. I too have cookbooks that I had to buy but have not cooked from yet. New England is limited in good ethic restaurants so I try cooking Indian, Thai, etc. at home. These burgers and pickled vegetables sound great for summer dining.


  8. Made these burgers yesterday for dinner, and I agree with you, the ginger is just right with 2 tablespoons, I think that more than that would be too much

    they are delicious, very moist, and with great flavor

    thanks, Sally!


  9. I like a lot experiments with burgers. I am sure I would love this Korean – style version. I have an idea to make Polish style burgers, but there is one problem – I would have to bake Polish style bread rolls or sth like that and I am afraid ….


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