A wonderful burger, this is simple to put together, and shows what can result from thinking just a little bit differently. So, to bring out the best of your beef, choose the best-quality lean meat you can, be brave and have fun experimenting with combinations of ingredients – a little turmeric, for example, can really liven things up. For a truly exciting experience, serve it alongside some potato wedges with our spicy salt sprinkling.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (96 votes)


  • ¾ tbsp sunflower oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cm (¾ in) piece fresh root ginger, very finely chopped or ground to a paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped or ground to a paste
  • 1 green Thai chilli, seeds removed, very finely chopped
  • 800 g (1 lb 14 oz) lean minced beef
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ tbsp tomato paste or purée
  • 1½ tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1–2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

Spicy potato wedges

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) potatoes, unpeeled, cut into wedges
  • ¾ tbsp rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (heaped) mango powder (optional)

Cook's notes

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.


Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions on a medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and slightly coloured. The small amount of oil used in this recipe means the onions might stick to the pan at some point; if necessary, deglaze with a splash of water.

Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and continue to fry until cooked and any liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mixture to a plate, spread out and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the potato wedges. Boil for 5–6 minutes, then drain. Place the parboiled potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, then toss to coat. Put the tray in the oven and roast for 20–25 minutes until golden and crisp. Mix the ingredients for the spice blend together in a small bowl and set aside until you serve.

Put the minced beef in a mixing bowl, add the onion mixture and all of the remaining ingredients, and mix well. (Mixing makes the meat more malleable and smoother; the more you work it, it the smoother it gets.) Shape into four to six burgers.

Heat a griddle pan, hot plate, frying pan or barbecue to hot. Brush the burgers with a little oil and cook: 4 minutes each side for a medium finish for six burgers, a little longer if you have made four larger burgers. Rest the burgers for a few minutes while you sprinkle the cooked potato wedges with the spice blend. Serve the burgers in buns, with the wedges alongside and some ketchup for dipping.  


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.