Traditionally, the Malkasians fill one or two patties with a gold coin or a carrot slice as 'treasure', hence the name trakht meaning 'treasure’ in Armenian. They also mince their own beef topside; we have used store-bought for convenience.
- 540 g (3 cups) fine burghul (cracked wheat)
- 1 kg minced lean beef
- 1 tbsp pepper paste or biber salçasi (see Note)
- 1 tbsp berbere (see Note)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- lime wedges,
- cos lettuce leaves and
- flat-leaf parsley, to serve
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 kg minced beef
- 150 g butter, chopped
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make filling, heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add onions and beef, and cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up meat for 7 minutes or until beef changes colour and mixture is dry. Add butter, spices, pine nuts, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper, and cook for a further 10 minutes or until mixture is dry and meat is tender. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
Soak burghul in cold water for 45 minutes or until softened. Drain well to remove excess water. Working in 2 batches, process mince, 1 tbs salt, pepper paste, berbere, onion and burghul in a food processor and process until combined; the mixture will be sticky. Add up to 125 ml extra water to bind if necessary.
To shape the patties, using the back of a small plate lined with plastic wrap, flatten 2 tbs burghul mixture to form 54 x 12cm rounds. Spread 2 tbs filling over 27 rounds, then top with remaining rounds. Carefully mould to enclose the filling and form a patty.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches, gently drop the patties into the oil and fry, turning halfway, for 2½ minutes each side or until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Serve patties hot with lime wedges, lettuce leaves and flat-leaf parsley.
Biber salçasi, from Middle Eastern food shops and selected delis, is a Turkish red capsicum paste.
Berbere, from selected spice shops, is an Ethiopian spice mix including allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, that’s used in many of the country’s dishes, particularly stews (wots).
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg49.
Photography by Sean Fennessy