The Creative Process – Malaysian Spiced Lamb Burger

Hello friends – and now family since my parents have now become my PR team and shared my blog with every since person who shares a single strand of DNA with me. Admittedly, I have been neglecting you all, and this blog over my winter vacation. I’ve been relaxing during my break and trying to stay as far away from the computer as I can. I’ve had a great break and now I’m going to write this post in hopes that it will re-train my brain out of relaxation mode so that I can continue to work hard in school. Today I haven’t made anything new for you. In fact, I have an old recipe that I made for a class project with my friends TS and Peter. I’m pretty proud of this one, it’s one of the first that I designed (with my team) from the ground up and really carefully considered each element of it. I hope you don’t mind the long winded post today, but I’ll be going over our thought processes and how we came up with this recipe. Hopefully you can follow my train of thought and build this recipe together with me.

Our task for this project was simple; pair one entree dish, with one beverage. No problem. People do wine pairings all the time!

“WE’RE DOING A COCKTAIL.” insisted Peter.

Alright…Peter wanted to be different, and I wasn’t opposed to the challenge and TS just isn’t opposed to anything. So we sat down and shouted out cocktails at each other for an hour.

“Too sweet…”
“Too alcoholic.”


Hmm. Still pretty alcoholic, but not too sweet. It’s not like we couldn’t just water it down. We had decided on a cucumber mojito. Slightly milder than a straight mojito, and not a full blown sugar-pop.

We now knew that our pairing would have to be tropical. I opened up a new word document and started listing out different countries hoping that something would stand out to us. In the end we decided on Indonesia because I had a better knowledge of Asian flavors over West Indian ones. We later broadened this to encompass Malaysia and Singapore.

The dominant flavor of the mojito was mint. This screamed lamb to us so we decided (if I can recall correctly) some sort of lamb chop with a Malaysian-Indonesian-Singaporean-spice rub. It just didn’t sound right. Lamb chops and mojitos?

I’m not saying mojitos are impossible to pair with food, I’m just saying it’s REALLY HARD.

So it was back to the drawing board, and when I say drawing board, I mean back to shouting names of cocktails at each other; often repeating the same ones over an over again.

“PINA COLADA!” shouted TS for what seemed like the 90th time.

Well, it took 90 tries, but it was then and there when we realized that TS was the genius we needed. Pina Colada. A blended drink. A milkshake! BURGERS AND SHAKES. We all high fived and offered our first born children to our new culinary overlord; TS.

We had been sucked into the snobby world of gastronomy for far too long to realize the most quintessential drunk food pairing. The burger and the shake!  How naive! So we took the fancy-shmancy lamb chop and ground it into a burger and took that mojito, mixed it with some ice cream and we finally present to you…


Try saying that five times fast.

Our burger starts out with an 12 ingredient spice rub.

  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Coriander
  • Granulated Onion


Into the mortar and SMASH!


Next with made a homemade sambal, which is basically just a chili paste. Red bird chilies, dried red chilies, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, shallot, lemongrass, lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce, salt, and coconut palm sugar all go into a mortar to get smashed together.

My arm is exhausted at this point.

  • This was reserved to later be mixed with yogurt to form our spread for the burger.

    Our final component was our coconut kerabu salad. It is to my understanding that kerabu is the Indonesian word for salad, so here we have the coconut salad-salad.

    We mix together:

  • Red Onion
  • Young Coconut
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Onion Sprouts
  • Red Bird Chili
  • Mint Leaves
  • Lime Juice
  • Fish Sauce
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Sugar


Finally we prep our taro fries. Peter made this wonderful lime-infused sea salt. Its just salt with lime juice on it, then baked in the oven. It’s actually really easy to make but sounds really fancy. We dusted them with a little bit of Ancho chili pepper powder and some of Peter’s salt after baking them in the oven.


Finally, it was time to put my 5 years of grill cook experience to good use.


And I don’t want to toot my own horn but…


Did somebody ask for PERFECT MEDIUM RARE?


Our beautiful creation all plated!

I could write another 500 words about our cocktail but it’s 12AM and I’m getting tired so I’ll have to save it for another time so please stay tuned. I hope you enjoyed reading today! My friends also have blogs that they have worked very hard on! Please take a quick moment to check out TS and Peter’s blogs here:

Until next time,




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