Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Mighty Burger and Baked Veggie Fries

Summer is around the corner, and everyone is trying to shed those extra winter pounds, but there are things we just can’t resist. Burgers, we love them, we need them! I love a good burger, but if it’s not homemade then probably it’s a hazard to your hips! I was never a fan of fast food restaurants; the burgers taste like plastic to me, but I do enjoy burgers at certain cafes. Either way, the calories are just a nightmare.

Well, I’m not prepared to give up so easily on burgers so I will share with you my homemade burger recipe and my baked fries. These burgers are extra big, they are filling and they are perfect for a game night.

 This recipe is made for large burgers, roughly the same size as the Mc D’s Quarter Pounder (a.k.a Mc Royale in Egypt). As per the Mc Donald’s website, the Quarter Pounder sandwich is 500 calories, and a large fries roughly 500 calories as well. That means the Combo without the drink is 1000 calories! My recipe uses very lean ground beef, whole grain bun, and baked fries and veggies. The sandwich is roughly 380 calories and the fries (same size as Mc D’s large) are only 160 calories giving us a total of 540 calories. Now did I get your attention?   

I am not turning this into a diet blog, but I just wanted to emphasize the calories we consume without noticing, and how much we can save by turning to easy, delicious, homemade alternatives.

Do yourself a favor, and the next time you are craving a burger try this. Thank me later.


The ingredients are all available locally in Egypt. First of all, stay away from ‘mystery meat’. Frozen ground beef, ready packed ground beef and pre-made raw burger patties all contain very high fat percentages, not to mention other ‘trash’ components like bone, cartilage and scraps. This applies even to high end supermarkets. To ensure your meat is lean, I suggest picking out meat cubes, also called stew meat, which are usually lean, and telling the butcher to ground that for you. You can even ask him to trim off extra fat if you see visible chunks. This can be done in any supermarket. Also, Carrefour sell ground beef with different fat percentages. I have seen 20% and 10% fat, which are both labeled low fat. The lower the better, so 10% would be the best choice. Another alternative is to visit the Australian shop Gourmet, which sell lean Australian ground beef and is actually cheaper than grinding stew meat by about 10 L.E.

For the buns, luckily now in Egypt we have many options. Carrefour has a very wide selection of buns to choose from. They have whole wheat (brown) buns, and they also sell Multigrain buns (labeled farmers bread sometimes). I would go with the multigrain, as it has whole grains and oats in it, so more fiber, and is chewier than the normal brown buns. Metro have brown buns, but not as tasty. In any supermarket you will also find Rich Bake brand brown hamburger buns, but be careful as these super soft buns are not as high in fiber, and don’t give the same benefits of the chewier ‘homemade’ style breads. If you want a treat you can visit the German Bakery in Maadi (road 9) or Fino Bakery in Degla, Maadi for the real deal. My favorite is the Vollkorn Bun from Fino.

The fries here are way tastier than normal deep fried French fries. The idea is based on Ellie Krieger’s  Garlic "Fries" recipe from her show Healthy Appetite. Also, along with the potatoes, I have carrots and zucchini fries mixed in, which are very low in calories but burst with flavor. This way you end up with a third of the potatoes, but the same amount of fries, so you didn’t skimp on the meal. Did I also mention that the whole batch (enough for 4 large servings) uses only 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil?


- ½ kg Lean Ground beef
- 4 Cloves garlic
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 Tbsp BBQ Sauce
- ½ Tbsp Black pepper
- ½ Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil


- 1/3 kg potato (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 1/3  kg Carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
- ½ kg Zucchini (about 4 medium zucchini)
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- Salt

Preparation (Aprrox. 45 mins)

Preheat the oven to 220°C.


In your food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves, onion, the BBQ sauce and start at a slow speed. Add in the ground beef through the top attachment, and raise to medium speed. Add in the rest of the meat slowly, ensuring all is incorporated. When the meat is ready you will notice it form a big ball. Now it’s ready and all mixed.

This could be simply mixed by hand, adding in chopped garlic. However, I prefer this way as it makes the meat sticky and doughy, easy to form the patties and prevents them from crumbling without having to add any fat, breadcrumbs or egg, as commonly done.

For large burgers as mentioned before, divide the meat into 4 equal parts, and form 1 cm thick patties. Be careful not to make them too thick, as they will not be able to cook through the middle.

In a pan, add 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil, and heat. Add in the burgers. For well done burgers, leave for about 5-7 mins on each side.


Cut the potatoes, zucchini , and carrots into long approx ½ cm thick slices. In one baking pan, put all the potatoes in and in another the zucchini and carrots. This is because of the different cooking times and we don’t want the carrots to burn. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil in each pan. Spice with garlic powder (or fresh garlic), paprika and salt. Mix well and spread evenly on pan. Put in oven for about 30 mins. The zucchini and carrots will be ready about 5-10 mins before the potatoes.



  1. Looks so delicious! I'm going to cook this for my family in the summer. :)

  2. hi, wuts the temp for the fries? Thanks :)

  3. The fries are cooked at 220 Celsius, which is about 450 F. We need a hot oven to give the mild crisp effect, rather then the soft, mushy, baked potato effect.

  4. Thanks for this awesome burger recipe. I wonder how many calories are there per servings? I practice portion control and calorie counting ever since I've lost a lot of weight in the 3 Day Military diet. I find that the low calorie meals helped me lose weight in addition to regular exercise and shunning sugar in the first 3 days of the diet. I recently stumbled on a great site that offers comprehensive info on the diet. Hop on to