Dish Hack: Badmaash’s Spiced Lamb Burger

Spice up your burger game with this Indian-fusion favorite

Want to stay in, but eat like you’re out? Here, chef and writer Heather Platt shares recipes inspired by L.A.’s hottest restaurant dishes. We say “inspired by,” as these creations are Platt’s own and have been adapted for the home cook, using easy-to-access ingredients and techniques you can pull off in just about any kitchen—yes, even yours.

The Real Thing:
Chef Pawan and Nakul Mahendro serve up one of L.A.’s most exciting burgers at their downtown Indian Gastropub Badmaash. The father-son team achieves lamb burger greatness by grinding a whole tender leg of lamb in house. The meat is seasoned with herbs and spices, slathered with paprika mayonnaise, and served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, and sliced red onion. It’s no surprise this extraordinary burger has become one of Badmaash’s signature dishes.

The Hack:
As summer begins to wane, what better way to keep your barbecues hot and your burgers exciting than spicing them up a la Badmaash? If you don’t have a meat grinder, don’t worry about grinding the leg of lamb yourself. Grocery stores sell ground lamb and it’s not expensive. If for some reason you’re not a lamb eater, substituting beef for this recipe could also work. But I recommend lamb to keep consistent with the Indian theme. In this version, I upgraded the paprika mayonnaise to aioli by adding crushed garlic. The combination of crisp lettuce and onion with sweet tomato, creamy aioli and spicy lamb is enough to keep you grilling like it’s summer all year.

Dish Hack: Badmaashs Spiced Lamb Burger
Inspired by the chef Pawan and Nakul Mahendro’s spicy treat at LA’s favorite Indian gastropub

Total Time:

(Serves 4)


1 egg

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1/2 lemon, for juice

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 1 whole

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoons chili powder

2 red onion, one diced and one thinly sliced into rings

1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 lb ground lamb

kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

4 brioche buns

4 pieces of crisp lettuce (gem lettuce or iceberg)

1 large ripe tomato, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Begin by making the aioli. In a mortar and pestle, smash the clove of garlic with a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt so it forms a paste. Crack the egg over a bowl and gently pass the yolk back and forth from one side of the shell to the other to separate it from the white. (Reserve the egg white to shake into a whiskey sour or discard.) Place the egg yolk in a large cold metal bowl. Slowly add the olive oil one drop at a time, whisking constantly. When the oil and egg begin to emulsify, begin pouring the oil in a slow steady stream. Continue to whisk in the olive oil followed by the grape seed oil until it is all combined. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. If the mayonnaise is too thick, add a teaspoon of cold water to loosen it. Stir in the garlic salt mixture and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the ginger, minced garlic, jalapeño, cumin, chili powder, onion, mint and cilantro. Using your hands, mix in the ground lamb until just combined. Don’t over work the meat or pack the burgers too tightly. This can make them too dense and rubbery. Once you have delicately combined the seasonings, gently form the meat into four quarter-pound patties and press a divot into the center of each burger. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Preheat your grill or cast-iron skillet. For medium-rare, cook the burgers on each side for about four minutes.

Cut the brioche buns in half and lightly toast them before placing a large piece of lettuce on each bun. Place the cooked burgers on top of the lettuce followed by the sliced red onions and tomato. Spoon the paprika aioli onto the top half of the bun and press it on the burger.