A Kenyan Burger

I was tagged on this tweet, and that’s how it started about a year ago:

It was bad timing, I was too busy with other things so I just couldn’t participate back then. Plus they required a video submission which made me a little nervous. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it — in fact I’m still thinking. I’ve gone through several ideas about what this burger would look like.

It looks good doesn’t it? Yum!

So many ingredient possibilities! They are all tasty, but they’re all in my head! Last month I decided they need to start coming out of my head. So here is the first, hopefully you will not have to wait a year for the next one (^_^)   

Here is the tweet with a link to the requirements if you’d like to know:

So here is a quick rundown of ingredients and I’ll walk you through them below:
8 extra large chapatis
1/2 kg mince lamb
1/2 kg mince goat
1 cup chopped dhania (do not compact)
1 chopped onion
1/2 bulb of garlic grated
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Salt to taste
1 zucchini grated
2 white onions
8 sukuma wiki leaves
1 or 2 tomatoes
2 tamarind paste

first thing you will need is some extra large chapati so that you can cut the strips to wrap around the burger

Make the chapati the same way you always do, just bigger. I have a post on how to get the perfect layers here if you’d like to see how I made mine. These were 11 inches in diameter, but how big you make them will also depend on how big you plan to make your burger patties (keeping in mind that they shrink a little while cooking)

Things to note while you make the chapati:
1. Make sure you have a big enough pan/pot to cook them in. I had my girl help me to make them and she had to pull some chapati acrobatics to cook them because I didn’t have a large enough pan. (I’ve been wanting a wok for a while and through the whole process I kept thinking it would have probably helped, so if you have one you can try)

2. Bigger does not mean thicker. You will have trouble cooking them all the way through. They should still be the same thickness you usually make.

there go the minced meats, below is the lamb and above is the goat

No butchery minces goat meat! If you find a butchery that minces goat meat as a regular part of their offerings let me know! I had to get a butchery to do this for me without charging me extra! So ask your butcher nicely!

I mixed the two because I thought the goat meat alone would make a really tough burger. If I was to go this again I’d reduce the lamb, maybe do 800g goat and just 200g lamb so that the goat meat flavour could come through more.

the other ingredients are pretty straight forward, dhania, garlic, black pepper, salt and onion. Mix it all up with your hand (wash your hands first, always!)
then add the grated zucchini, a medium sized one, and mix it in.

Why a zucchini? Sounds totally random but there’s a good reason. I’ve started to experiment with a recipe for chicken meatballs, and I wanted to do it without eggs. It’s my understanding that eggs are what keep it together, much like glue, so I did a bit of research online on how to do it without eggs. Pretty much everything I read suggested to add a vegetable. Grated zucchini was the most mentioned.

Once all the meat is mixed together nicely you can form your patties and cook them. I cooked mine in the oven, so I lined a baking sheet with parchment and arranged my patties. I made mine really big, knowing that they would shrink. so for the kilo of meat I did 8 patties.

Good time to set the oven to preheat at 180°C

putting one down…

To shape them I rolled the meat portion into a ball, then flattened the ball to get a nice round patty

all done, oven time!
I cooked them for about 40 to 50 minutes. Half way through I turned them, this photo taken after I had just turned them
the white onions, peel and slice…

I have been loving caramelised onions. They are awesome with steak and roasted veggies! I thought they would be great for this burger and they were.

While the burgers are cooking you can start on the onions. Place the sliced onions in a pan with a tablespoon of butter and start cooking them slowly on medium/low heat.

stir often, don’t allow them to sear or burn
when I feel they are getting too dry I add a bit of water. I usually cook them for a long while, till they turn brown, but for this I wanted them to still look like white onions. So 20 to 30 min then let the excess water dry out if any
the patties are ready, nice and juicy!

Next, prep the sukuma leaves. I didn’t want to use then raw (though I have heard that they can be eaten raw), and I din’t want to steam/boil then — no one likes soggy veggies in their burger! So, I grilled them in the oven and they were perfect. They softened lightly and cooked but still had crunch!

washed sukuma leaves
arranged on baking sheet for the oven over parchment paper

Oven was still on from cooking the burgers, so I switched from the regular oven mode to the grill mode and used one of the top racks. It was just a few minutes, don’t walk away, once the edges start to get a bit of brown they’re done. Watch closely


Alright! All done. We can now assemble the burger. At this point I felt like I had been running a marathon. He he he!

nbv n
first, cut the chapati like this to get two strips that are as long as possible to wrap around the burger
start by placing a thick slice of tomato in the middle of one
then some onions
then a burger patty. Wrap the chapati around and place it upside down on the side so that it doesn’t unwrap.
on the other chapati strip, spread some tamarind paste…

This is the last of the tamarind paste that I made, check out that post here. Feel free to use something esle here, I would recomend a chutney, mango or carrot.

fold one of the sukuma leaves and lay it across, then place the wrapped burger on top (upside down as it is) and wrap the other slice of chapati with sukuma around

Phew!! If you are still with me, take a bite and enjoy!

delicious! And I think the colours are great too

The meat was not dry which I was very happy about. Between the juicy tomato, tamarind and onions , I didn’t miss the regular condiments at all.


My bother was over for lunch when I made these, he enjoyed the first and had seconds! (^_^) Gave it a thumbs up.

What say you? Make it and let me know what you think.

You can also comment below and let me know what your version of a Kenyan burger looks like…

About aika

Making, eating and sharing good food are a splendid way to start, brake and end a day! I post good eats on www.pendolamama.co.ke. Life is a feast, eat up!

12 thoughts on “A Kenyan Burger

  1. Interesting…. I’d be a very willing volunteer for your taste-tests :). I especially like the incorporation of zucchini. More often my mest patties turn out dry, so ill be trying your way this week. Now, I don’t have the patience to make Chapos…so…I’m wondering if ug…yes, a thin pocket of slightly crisped ug would be worthwhile? 😉 Gina.

      1. Hey aika, I imagine that when the ug is still pliable (warm), no need to form it into a mound… form it around a meat pattie (sp?), brush with butter, then broil…..but I’ll leave the ‘how’ to you and your kitchen 🙂

  2. Grace!! You deserve a foodiehug for this burst of creativity. Its beautiful and Kenyan to the core.. I identify with your thinking process. You got my vote! Unfortunatley we dont eat beef ya huku so i can only try this tukirudi home. Meanwhile I will sambaza your recipe to my chapo loving world.

  3. I havent eaten chapo for sometime. I should try that combo next time I make burgers. Thanks for visiting my blog and sorry I took so long to respond. I had taken some time off from blogging!


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