Helmand Hamburgers



Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon dried mint flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

Sweet Pumpkin and Squash Pancakes:

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 cups coarsely grated butternut squash

1 large egg, whisked

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons canola oil

Afghani Spiced Patties:

1/2 cup grated yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon salt

2 pounds ground beef (I used organic 85/15)


6 hamburger buns, split and toasted


To make the yogurt sauce, mix yogurt, garlic, mint flakes, and salt together in a small bowl until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the sweet pumpkin and squash pancakes, place pumpkin puree and sugar in a small nonstick stockpot over medium heat cook for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring well. Place pumpkin in a large bowl and mix in grated butternut squash, egg, flour, baking powder, and salt. Divide into 6 equal portions. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and drop 3 of the divided mounds of the pumpkin/squash mixture into the pan. Press down slightly with a spatula until pancakes are about the same size as the hamburger buns. Fry 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 3 portions of the pumpkin/squash mixture.

Meanwhile, make the patties, place the onion, garlic, tomato paste, coriander, tumeric, and salt in a large bowl. Gently but thoroughly mix in the ground beef and shape the mixture into 6 patties. Place patties on a greased grill pan over medium high heat and cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired doneness.

To assemble the burgers, place a sweet pumpkin and squash pancake on the bottom piece of each bun. Place a patty on top of the pancake and evenly spread the yogurt spread on top of each burger and cut side of the burger tops. Add the burger tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.