Asian seasonings make Linda Lum's hamburgers aromatic and tangy. You can now find Chinese five spice blends in the spice section of most supermarkets, where you'll also find prepared plum sauce and Asian sesame oil. If you can't find five spice, substitute this mixture: 1/8 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, and anise seeds.
About 1 teaspoon olive or salad oil
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (3 1/2 oz.)
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (including tops)
6 tablespoons prepared Chinese plum sauce
1 pound ground lean beef
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 sesame seed-topped hamburger buns (about 3 oz. each), cut in half horizontally
Lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped
How to Make It
Pour oil into an 8- to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat; when hot, add mushrooms and stir until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions and plum sauce and remove from heat.
In a bowl, gently mix ground beef with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, Chinese five spice, and ginger. Shape beef mixture into four equal patties, each about 1/2 inch thick.
Lay patties on a lightly oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook patties until no longer pink in the center (cut to test) or a thermometer inserted in center reaches 160°, 6 to 8 minutes total, turning once to brown evenly. After 5 minutes, lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill and toast lightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Lay a lettuce leaf on each toasted bun base, top with a beef patty, and spoon mushroom mixture equally over burgers. Add salt to taste and cover with bun tops.