When in school, lunch break or ‘break time’ was the only part of the day us 15-year-olds looked forward to, especially the chicken burger served in the canteen. The second the clock struck 10:15am, we would all scramble out of our chairs and rush two floors down – skipping every alternate step to go faster – and push our way through the crowd to get the first order.
Those were the days of true battle. We would scream, shove and even step on others’ foots just because all of us wanted to eat the burger before it ran out. It was a little barbaric, but it was worth it. You see, there was nothing special about this so-called burger – it’s not as if it was a gourmet burger, or even the ones you get at a fast food franchise. It was also no different from the burgers served in cafeterias. However, the chase made it fun. Moreover, there were no vegetables and all of it cost just Dh6.
The bun was sliced and lightly toasted with butter. Mayonnaise came next, evenly spread on both slices, after which lettuce, ketchup and two deep fried, thin burger patties were placed in between. If you wanted it a little special, it would cost you an extra 50fils or a dirham. The specialty you wonder? A slice of cheese.
After graduating from school, I learnt that the burger they served was something that could be made at home. The ingredients were all store-bought products. Therefore, I started making it myself.
All you need is a handful of ingredients and friends to share it.
Here is how to make a school canteen burger:
Buns: It would cost you about Dh3 for a pack of six. I used Brioche buns.
Chicken burger patties: Usually around Dh22 for a family pack, which comes with 28 pieces. However, you can buy a smaller pack for Dh15, which has 12 pieces.
Ketchup: Should cost you about Dh8.40 for a small bottle. Alternatively, if you are like me, you can use the little ketchup packets that I save every time I buy fast food. Why waste, when you can use again?
Mayonnaise: This cost me around Dh8.45 for known brand that I like the taste of. You can always make it at home, too.
Cheese slices: Will cost you about Dh8 and has 10 slices in each pack.
Lettuce: For this, I bought the Romaine lettuce, which will cost you about Dh7 per kilogram.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
1 burger bun or brioche bun, sliced
2 store-bought burger patties, deep-fried
1 lettuce leaf (you can either shred it or leave it be, as per your preference)
1. Slice the burger bun in the middle.
2. On a pan, add 1 tsp of butter. Once it starts to foam, place the sliced buns on the butter and lightly toast it until golden brown and crispy.
3. Once done, fry your patties. You can also grill them or pan-fry them, based on your preference.
4. Next, spread mayonnaise evenly on both the bun slices followed by ketchup onto the burger patties.
5. To plate, stack the patty on top of the sliced bun. You can begin with any slice (lid or base), but ensure the ketchup-covered patty and the mayonnaise-covered slice are sandwiched together. Do the same for the other slice.
6. Next add a slice of cheese, and top it with lettuce.
7. Bring together the sides and you have yourself a very delicious burger.
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