Asian Peanut Pork Burgers + Ramen Buns

Okay... this recipe is so fun!!

So I've been on a Chopped/Cutthroat Kitchen kick lately, like more than usual. I guess I've just been in a competition mood.
Maybe it's because I'm so ready for Food Network Star to come back on...

Anyways, over Spring Break, I was watching Chopped, and when the competitors opened baskets full of ramen noodles & ground turkey (amongst other things), I thought someone would surely make ramen buns.
Well, no one did. I was honestly really mad (and surprised) that no one did, considering how booming they are today.

After thinking about it, I realized I had no idea how to make ramen buns, and A LOT of other stuff. So, I immediately wrote down every skill and recipe I could think of that I've never made or have any idea of how to make, including ramen buns.
Turns out, there are A LOT of things I want to learn how to do, and well...
Let's just say this list is going to take some time to conquer.

Whenever we watch Chopped, my parents and I always plan out what we would make with the basket ingredients, and seeing the turkey and noodles, a ramen burger was obviously a no-brainer.

As soon as I got back home, I planned out the burger I wanted. With the ramen noodles already taking on an Asian style, I really wanted to make a burger packed with TONS of umami. So a Peanut Pork Burger it was.
Because 1.) Peanut & Asian food goes together like peanut butter & jelly.
and 2.) I thought peanut butter in the pork burger would make it super juicy and moist-- which it did.

Like I said earlier, this burger is super fun- not necessarily a meal you'd want to prepare for your family dinner. It's more of one of those things you'd spontaneously order from a food truck on the streets of some foreign town. To me, it's just way too fun to not talk about, though. The bun itself is a different texture (obviously), and does taste a little eggy, but I personally really like it. The key is to make sure it's super crunchy on the outside!

Since this recipe was more experimental, I had to go all out with the toppings-- I mean how could I not?? I went with a "ramen bowl" inspired burger.
 I started with the buns and the burger, and then added teriyaki mushrooms, a roasted carrot aioli, cilantro, and topped it all off with a fried egg because a ramen bowl just wouldn't be complete without a yolk-y egg. Am I right!?
I know it's a little crazy... Okay A LOT crazy.

The star of the show is definitely the ramen buns, so feel free to add any toppings or kind of burger you'd like!

 Ramen Buns
Makes 4-6 buns- I prefer an open face burger because of how overpowering the buns are

2 packages of ramen noodles- throw out spice packets
1 tsp. salt
2 tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 eggs
2 tbs. chopped roasted peanuts 

Cook noodles until soft in boiling water. Drain & pat dry. Mix with beaten eggs, salt, peanuts, and sesame seeds until combined, and each noodle is coated.
Scoop noodles into shallow ramekins or molds (I used mini tart molds) about 1 1/2 inch tall (1 inch. if using two buns). Let refrigerate and set for at least 30 minutes. 
Heat pan with canola oil over medium heat, and place ramen buns on pan, keeping the mold on at first. Let sit for about 30-45 seconds. Use tongs to shake off molds or ramekins. And fry on the other side Until golden-brown and crispy. Let sit on paper towel to absorb oil. Both sides need to be crispy.

Peanut Pork Burger
Makes 4 (maybe 5-6) burgers

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • shallow 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. Sriracha chili sauce
  • 1/2 sweet onion- roughly chopped & pureed until no big chunks are left
  • 1 tbs. peanut oil (or any)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar 
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley 
Preheat oven to 375º.
Sauté the onion mixture in the oil and until bubbly and a light golden color. Let cool.
Melt the peanut butter, and mix with soy sauce, chili sauce, pepper, and sugar until smooth. Combine the ground pork, onion mixture, parsley, and peanut mixture together with hands until combined. Try to mix as little as needed. Form into 1 inch. tall burger patties. You may get more than 4 depending on sizes of ramen bun ramekins- I was able to get 4 out of my pork mixture. If you have smaller ramekins you'll need to shape them to the size that will fit your buns. You can grill them, or pan-fry them and finish off in oven (what I did). Heat some peanut oil in a skillet, fry the burgers for about 4 minutes on one side, flip, and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on medium-high heat. Save oil for eggs.
Finish in oven until interior temperature of burgers reach 165º-170º. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Roasted Carrot Coconut Aioli

  • 4 medium carrots- peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs. olive or peanut oil 
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 room temperature egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream*
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil- melted 
  • 1 lime- juice
  • 2 tbs. chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbs. room temperature water
Roast carrots and garlic cloves with salt, pepper, chili powder, and 2 tbs. oil at 425º until soft all the way through. Let cool.
Puree carrots and garlic cloves with oil until completely smooth. If unable to get smooth, strain. Set aside.
Place the coconut cream, egg yolk, ginger, chives, water, and lime juice in food processor. Blend until smooth. Slowly pour in the coconut oil/carrot mixture while blending until completely combined and creamy. Taste and season with salt to taste.
Chill before use.

*Let a can of full fat coconut milk sit in fridge overnight (or at least 1 hour), and use the congealed coconut cream at the top of can.

Teriyaki Mushrooms

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. water
1/2 lemon- juice
2 tsp. hoisin sauce
2 garlic cloves- smashed
1 tsp. black pepper & chili powder 
1 cup mushrooms- sliced  

Bring soy, water, garlic, and sugar to a low boil. Add lemon, hoisin, and pepper/chili powder. Mix until thickened and taste. If too sweet add more soy, 1 tsp. at a time. If too salty add more sugar, 1 tsp. at a time. If too salty & sweet, add more water 1 tbs. at a time until balanced.
Sauté mushrooms with enough sauce to coat until softened. You might have sauce leftover.

To prepare burger:
fresh cilantro
fresh lime (optional)
4-6 eggs (however many burgers)

Fry eggs in leftover burger oil, or regular oil until liking. I suggest a gooey/runny yolk. 
Spread aioli on ramen buns, top with burger, mushrooms, fried egg, and cilantro. Add a squeeze of lime if wanted.

                                                                             -Cecilia A. 


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