These ground lamb patties from Nigel Slater's newest cookbook, Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food, are boldly seasoned with black mustard seeds, garam masala, and green onions, with a good handful of sesame seeds for a nutty crunch. Pressed very thin and fried until crisp, they have the savory addictiveness of a salty snack, but enough substance to make a meal. Slater tops them with ribbons of cucumber and minty yogurt, and the whole dish evokes both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines in a casually clever way.
Why I picked this recipe: Because I'm not much of a lamb person, this column has been lamb-deficient of late. I thought, correctly, that all those spices would be just the spoonful of sugar that I needed.
What worked: The patties were extremely tasty, and the super-simple accompaniments were a nice, low-effort touch.
What didn't: In order to get the spices thoroughly distributed throughout the ground lamb, I overworked the meat, resulting in tight patties that were a bit tough.
Suggested tweaks: I'd suggest taking the extra step of combining the spices, onions, and sesame seeds separately before adding them to the lamb, so that it's easier to quickly mix them into the meat. I think some heat would be nice, too, whether from a fresh chile or dried chile flakes added to the mixture. And throwing everything into a pita with some ripe tomatoes is a very good idea.
Reprinted with permission from Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food by Nigel Slater, copyright ©2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 35 minutes
- Total time:35 minutes
- 1 pound (500g) ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
- 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 4 tablespoons yogurt
Put 1 pound (500g) ground lamb in a bowl, add a tablespoon of black mustard seeds, 4 tablespoons of white sesame seeds, salt, pepper, 2 green onions, chopped, and 2 teaspoons of garam masala. Mix well, then divide into 8 and ﬂatten into large patties, each about 1/4 inch (6mm) thick.
Heat a little olive oil in a shallow nonstick pan, place the patties in it, cooking approximately 2 at a time, and fry for a minute or two on each side, till patchily golden.
Take long, thin shavings from a cucumber with a vegetable peeler and season with a little salt and pepper. Stir a tablespoon of chopped mint into 4 tablespoons of yogurt.
For each person, place 2 patties on a warm plate and top with a few curls of cucumber and a spoonful of yogurt.