Nihon Burger

by Tokyo Terrace on July 18, 2010

Through total let-downs and tasty successes, I’ve learned that the key to creating consistently successful recipes is to know when to keep it simple and to know when to push it. Use what you already know about food to help you combine familiar flavors, textures, colors, etc. At the same time, don’t be afraid to venture out and explore. And don’t be afraid to fail at some point in that process. That’s how we learn, right?
The Nihon Burger (Nihon means Land of the Rising Sun) is a perfect example of how something as simple as miso can take a dish to the next level. In a way, miso paste is to Japan as butter is to the US of A.  It falls in the realm of both condiment and wonder ingredient. If you’ve ever had miso soup or miso ramen, you’ve experienced the creamy deliciousness of miso.  If you haven’t, I highly recommend you venture to your local Asian food section (or store) and get a small container of this fermented soy bean paste.  With its salty flavor and velvety texture, miso is perfect for making soups, dressings and marinades for fish or glazes for meat. Or in this case, for topping a burger. By adding a little mayonnaise, sour cream, and a sprinkle of sugar to miso paste, a creamy, delicious spread is born. Since the saltiness of the miso alone could overpower the flavor of the meat, the mayo and sour cream help to mellow the flavor without losing it completely.
The burger is paired with the pickled red onions I posted the other day (recipe here.) The crisp, tart onions along with the fluffy, fresh layer of radish sprouts add both crunch and bite. What is a recipe you’ve created that put a little twist on something everyday? Please include your link to share in the comments below!

Nihon Burger with creamy Miso Spread
Makes 4 burgers

1 pound ground beef
4 hamburger buns
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons red miso paste
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Other toppings:
Pickled Red Onions (link to post at
Radish Sprouts
Grilled Scallions
Lettuce Leaves
Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms

For the hamburger patties:

Prepare a grill or grill pan to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef with black pepper and salt. Mix gently with your hands, being careful not to work with the ground beef too much. Form the beef into 4 patties about 1/2 inch thick and slightly bigger than the hamburger buns being used. Grill to desired doneness, brushing with the melted butter periodically during grilling.

For the miso spread:

Combine the miso paste, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in the sugar.

When burger patties are done, place them on hamburger buns. Top the burger patties with miso spread and other condiments. Serve immediately.

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  • OysterCulture

    I am so trying this. I loved your asparagus with miso and butter, and can only imagine how tasty this burger is. We will be having this one soon!!!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • The Purple Foodie

    I love moong! I like the idea of sprouted moong in a burger. Love the cruch and nutrition it adds.

  • Momgateway

    so intriguing…love the red miso addition…

  • G.

    miso makes everything better, doesn't it? love this idea in a burger. and love your new header!

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