Posted in How To, Recipe

Indian Spiced Hamburger with Mango Achar & Labneh

I adore a good hamburger, not the paper tasting stuff you buy at MacDonald’s, Steers and Wimpy outlets in South Africa, but a juicy, homemade burger. Most hamburger joints kill the poor burger with their own “special sauce” which is usually loaded with msg and way too much sugar! I have traveled three times in my life to India and during my travels I have investigated and studied their cuisine intensively as I absolutely adore the use of spices and herbs to add amazing flavour to dishes. When I was recently requested to cater a birthday party for a sixteen year old boy, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to introduce my take on the hamburger with a kick.

As it was for an Indian boy I used lamb mince in my recipe, but you can use a mixture of beef and pork as well. Some of the boys were vegetarian and I took this recipe and just made bigger patties for the vegetarian version of my burger. Follow the recipe as is, just leave out the smoked paprika and add the spices under the recipe for the lamb patty. Mix well, form a 10cm diameter patty and fry in a pan in olive oil until golden and brown. To make the patties I used this little niffty gadget, it works wonderful and you have the perfect patty! Underneath the patty we added a simple salad of shredded cabbage and carrots, it adds crunch and freshness to the burger.

For the mango achar, you can either buy in bottles from a good Indian groceries store or make your own. I love this recipe. I add a little more salt and as mangoes are in season in SA at the moment, try to make your own, it is worthwhile.

The labneh is so easy to make, it is basically a good Greek yogurt which was drained overnight to firm it up a little. I make it in large quantities as I also sell it at my stall on the Pretoria Boeremark (farmer’s market) Make sure you have a good bread bun as vessel for the burger, my client requested a healthier brown bun instead of the normal white bun with sesame seeds. And last but not least please butter the buns, there is nothing more off-putting than a piece of dry bun, just a light smear will do the trick!

Chef Willie busy adding finishing touches to the burgers
Chef Willie busy adding finishing touches to the burgers

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 10 min| Recipe: Very Easy | Serve: 4

For Burger Patty

  • 500g Lamb Mince
  • 1 Jumbo Egg
  • 50g Bread Crumbs
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 Small Onion, grated
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Garlic & Ginger Masala
  • ½ tsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt

For the Labneh:

  • 1-2 kg Greek Yogurt
  • Salt to taste

To make:

Burger Patty: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until they are well combined, but be careful not to over mix. Once mixed weigh off 150g of meat and form a patty with the above mentioned Burger Maker. Fry the patties over a medium flame in a bit of oil or barbeque them for a more smokey flavour.

Labneh: Put the yogurt in a cheese cloth inside a colander inside another bowl to catch the whey water. Drain overnight. For this to be successful your yogurt must be without gelatine or other “natural thickeners”, these additives tend to retain the fluid in the yogurt. Once drained you should have a fairly thick substance which we call Labneh, flavour with a little salt and store in a container in the fridge.

To assemble:

  1. Cut buns in half and butter both sides lightly.
  2. On the bottom half, heap some shredded cabbage and carrot salad.
  3. Place the warm burger patty on salad
  4. Top with some mango achar and a quinelle of labneh.
  5. Serve immediately with crispy oven baked potatoes.
Indian Hamburger 2
The end product, tasty and very juicy hamburgers to go!


Welcome to my two Blogs, each representing the two great passions in my life: Food & Yoga. I started life out as a graphic designer and when I hit my 40's decide to study the culinary arts at Steyn's Culinary School in Pretoria. So as a chef I am a later bloomer. I sell gourmet street food, Paninis, Gourmet Bunny Chow, Bombay Frankies, Bobotie Meat Kebabs and Chai on markets in and around Pretoria. I also offer my services as a private chef or as a caterer. I am a part time yoga teacher with 17 years of doing yoga and 8 years of teaching yoga behind me. I teach Intergal Hatha Yoga and has small classes in Queenswood, Pretoria.

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