Every once in a while, my husband walks into the kitchen with a little smile on his face.
“I’m in the mood for Ima Burgers,” he says.
“Ima Burgers” is his nickname for the little mini spiced burgers his mom used to make when he was a kid in Israel. We don’t eat beef very often, reserving it for special occasions, but once in a while he craves an Ima Burger. I’m more than happy to oblige. They are so easy to make and super tasty!
I thought it would be fun to share the Ima Burger method here on my blog. It’s a fun, quick dinner that can be thrown together at a moment’s notice.
“Ima” means mom in Hebrew, so it’s no surprise that these Ima Burgers are the creation of my husband’s mom. He used to watch her in her Israeli kitchen while she worked, studying the way she would chop the herbs and spice the meat. Her method of soaking a slice of bread in oil, then shredding it and stirring it into to the meat, adds moisture. It allows you to use a leaner cut of meat without sacrificing on juiciness. You can cook the burgers by frying them if you want to (Ima’s method). During the warmer months, I prefer to grill them for that smoky char-grilled flavor.
These cute little burgers can be served with or without a bun. We usually serve them with a side salad and no bread to cut down on calories. If you want to use a bun, get slider-sized mini buns– they’ll fit the burgers better. Or you can make bigger burgers, of course… we just happen to prefer them more bite-sized. Garnish with fresh parsley and red ripe tomato slices. I like them topped with spicy sriracha mayo sauce. Delish!
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Recipe for Ima Burgers - Israeli-style mini burgers with Sephardic herbs and spices, topped with spicy sriracha mayonnaise. Kosher, meat.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 slice white bread, crust removed
- 1 1/2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, finely minced
- 2 tbsp onion, very finely minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying (optional)
Sriracha Mayo Sauce ingredients
- 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
Place ground beef in a medium mixing bowl.
Cut the crust off of your piece of bread. Pour olive oil onto a small plate. Soak the crustless bread in the olive oil, turning the slice once, till all the oil is soaked up by the bread.
Shred and crumble the oil-soaked bread into tiny pieces and add it to the meat along with the parsley or cilantro, onion, egg, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about 1/2 tsp each of salt and black pepper).
Stir ingredients with a fork and/or clean hands until the spices and herbs are well blended with the meat.
Gather the meat mixture in 1/4 cupfuls and make small thick patties (they will shrink up during cooking).
Cook the patties. If grilling, grease the preheated grill before you start cooking.
We like to brush the burgers with olive oil periodically as they grill to keep them nice and moist.
Grill for 15-20 minutes till cooked through to desired doneness. Cooking times may vary by grill type.
If you prefer not to grill the burgers, you can cook them in a skillet using 1/4 cup of oil. I like using an oil with a high smoke point, like grapeseed. Heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Fry the burgers for 10-15 minutes, flipping occasionally, till cooked through to desired doneness.
Mix mayonnaise together with sriracha sauce in a small bowl till well blended, adding more sriracha for spice if desired. Serve as a sauce for the Ima Burgers.