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Delicious Russian-Style Pan-Fried Hamburger Recipe

Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.


Generally speaking, I find most hamburgers to be somewhat bland. Perhaps this is just a personal taste, but they are harsh, solid chunks of meat, without the grace and the beauty of a steak, nor containing the host of different flavors which other beef dishes can accompany with them. It is exceedingly rare for me to make hamburgers; as a result, opting instead for more elegant and satisfying, if admittedly more complicated dishes.

This hamburger recipe, however, puts shame to regular hamburgers, with a much more delicate, soft, and succulent blend of meat, with a delectable variety of herbs and spices, as well as onion, which is added in and which gives it a much more complete, delicate, and appetizing flavor. Afterward, when pan-fried, it produces an even more wonderful burger, one which is further improved as butter seeps into it and gives it a rich flavor. Although it takes some time to prepare, the result is well worth it.

Personally, I found that it worked entirely on its own to eat it without condiments, but tomatoes did make for a thoroughly superb accompaniment, and of course, leafy vegetables like lettuce probably would too. A fried egg can help make it richer, but the hamburger already is so vibrant that it can be lost in it. Onions, however, are probably unnecessary as there is already much in the way of this ubiquitous vegetable found within.

This recipe is adapted from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, by Anya von Bremzen, which never fails to give thoroughly superb recipes. In Russian, the name of these delicious patties is "kotleti."


  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 medium-sized onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • dry bread crumbs, for rolling hamburger buns
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 slices white bread, (or hamburger bun, not the full pair)
  • hamburger buns, (optional but probably preferred in the American style)
  • accoutrements, such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and cheese (optional)


  1. Firstly, soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes, then squeeze it to remove any excess milk and discard the milk. Crumble it and place it into a larger bowl.
  2. Combine together the bread, the beef, the onion, the garlic, ice water, garlic salt, and the egg yolk, and stir to mix together.
  3. Beat the egg white until it is frothy, then add it to the meat, add in the dill, cilantro, additional salt, and pepper. Knead together until it is well blended and fluffy. If it is not sufficiently firm, add breadcrumbs to dry it out and make it stiffer.
  4. Form the meat into six individual patties of equivalent size. If one wants, one can make smaller ones inside such as sliders. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate, then roll the patties in the crumbs and flatten them more.
  5. Combine together the butter and vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet, such as cast iron, and over medium heat continue until they start foaming. Then add in as many hamburger patties as fit, and fry until richly browned on both sides, flipping as needed (and after the first flip put cheese on the flipped side if you wish for cheese). Following this reduce heat to low, and cover and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Ensure that they are appropriately cooked inside and do not still contain red juice, and once cooked, serve immediately. Most of the time this should be with buns and various toppings.

© 2018 Ryan Thomas