Recipe: mushu pork burger
It’s been months since Kaweah has been able to walk up the stairs on her own. She walks down the steps just fine, albeit slowly (with an escort to catch her if she stumbles). But one of us will carry her up to the main floor several times a day. Of course, we can’t ask our dear neighbor to carry Kaweah up a flight of stairs when she lets the pup out while we’re gone all day. So we’ll typically keep Kaweah on the first floor – where there are only three steps. Except now, Kaweah can’t get up those three steps either. I figured a ramp would be a good solution to let Kaweah wander up to the front door when she pleases (she likes this as she can look to see who is coming and going). I dropped a wad of cash on a dog ramp at the store and it turns out that it’s too narrow for our aging dog. Kaweah’s hind leg kept slipping off the edge and it scared the hell out of her little doggy self. We returned the ramp, went to the hardware store, and bought some materials.
Some plywood, hinges, support beams, wood screws, and foam cushion bathmats ($13 each at Costco) made for a nice, solid ramp. At first Kaweah was reluctant, but after some coaxing (i.e. treats) she got the hang of going up and down the ramp like a pro. Yay, success! Why the foam cushion bathmats? She seems to get better footing on these than on standard carpet on an incline. Also, we know she likes them because she always stands on them in our bathroom.
she is all about the treat
It was a simple DIY project, but I love making things to my specifications. The same goes for food. Actually, I think food is easier because I work with food all the time. A few days ago, Jeremy and I were reminiscing about the California roll burger. We’ve only ever made it twice, but it is so unbelievably GOOD. And it got me thinking about burgerfying other dishes… like mushu pork.
ground pork, green onions, fish sauce
mix it together with some salt and pepper
form the patties
It’s all there except instead of a mushu wrapper, you have a hamburger bun. You could conceivably sauté the shiitake mushrooms with the cabbage and other vegetables, but I like the idea of leaving them whole and as a separate, meaty bite. I sautéed them in a little bit of sesame oil. There is no right or wrong way to do this, kids.
buns, hoisin sauce, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, bamboo shoots, sprouts, green onions
julienne the green onions and shred the cabbage
sauté the vegetables
I considered making a raw cabbage slaw, but I may leave that for a summertime version. The sautéed cabbage holds its texture well and gives the burger a nice crunchy component. So my recommendation is to prepare the vegetables first. Then while the burgers are grilling, you can simultaneously fry up the eggs. If it is a potential fire hazard for you to multitask, then grill (or pan fry) the burgers first, then fry the eggs.
a layer of cabbage
patties hot off the grill
set the patty atop the cabbage
Treat the hoisin sauce like ketchup. Use as much or as little as you like, but… I like my hoisin sauce! Spreading it on the patty creates a nice anchor for the shiitakes, otherwise I think the mushrooms do a lot of sliding around. The finishing touch is a fried egg on top of the shiitakes. It’s always a sunny-side up egg for me, but Jeremy prefers his eggs over hard. Customize it and make it your own, I say.
spoon some hoisin sauce on the patty
the crown jewel – a fried egg
This burger is just like mushu pork! Except it’s not. It tastes like mushu pork, but it has the texture of a hamburger with all of the lovely fixins. It ranks up there with the California roll burger, perhaps just under (come on, that burger has KING CRAB!). So if you’re a fan of traditional mushu pork, I think the mushu pork burger is worth trying. We are hooked.
the burgerfication of mushu pork
Mushu Pork Burger
1 tbsp vegetable oil (a little more if using stainless steel pan)
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, julienned
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
sautéed shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, whole or sliced (totally up to you)
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, minced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
4 eggs, fried
4 hamburger buns, toasted or not (up to you again)
Make the cabbage stir-fry: Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a sauté pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the green onions and stir them around for 20 seconds while they sizzle. Add the cabbage and sauté until wilted. Add the sprouts and sauté for a minute. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables. Add the bamboo shoots and sauté another minute. Remove the cabbage stir-fry to a bowl.
Sauté the shiitake mushrooms: Using the same pan (wipe it clean), heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the shiitake mushrooms and let them cook. When they have soaked up the oil, reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the salt over the mushrooms. Flip them over or stir them around every 30 seconds. When the mushrooms wilt, increase the heat to medium-high and let the liquid cook off. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the burgers: Mix everything together in a bowl with your hand. Divide the pork into four equal portions and form patties from each quarter. Make the center of each patty slightly thinner to avoid a domed patty when you grill it. Grill on high heat about 3 minutes each side (depending on the strength of your grill) until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
Assembly: Layer 1/3 cup of the cabbage stir-fry on the bottom half of the bun. Set a pork patty on the cabbage. Spread a heaping spoonful of hoisin sauce over the patty. Arrange some shiitake mushrooms on the hoisin sauce. Top the mushrooms with a fried egg. Finish the burger with the top half of the bun. Serve hot. Makes 4 burgers.