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Recipes for your all-American cookout

The columnist lays out the table with classic American dishes on the US Independence Day
Cheese burger

Durri Bhalla   |   Published 04.07.21, 03:14 AM

CHEESE BURGERS (Mutton/ chicken/beef)

The birthplace of hamburgers was New Haven, Connecticut. The year was 1900. It is considered one of the most popular dishes in the US. Starting with McDonald’s and Burger King, the list goes on and on. Everybody has their own favourites. My recipe is for an authentic hamburger, which is delicious and very simple to make.



• Mutton/chicken/beef mince: 400g

• Egg yolks: 2

• Mustard powder or paste (English): 1tsp

• Red chilli powder: ½tsp

• Cracked black pepper: 1½tsp

• Salt: To taste

(• Raw papaya: 1tsp, grated, with mutton mince so that it tenderises)

(• Mutton lard: 2tsp to make the burger more juicy if using mutton mince)

• Onions: 3 large, cut into thick round slices

• Tomatoes: 3, cut into slightly thick rings

• Cheese slices

• Butter: 2tbsp

• Burger buns cut into halves.

• For the sauce for applying on the buns

• Mayonnaise: 1 cup

• Sriracha or any hot sauce: 2tbsp (if you like mayonnaise-mustard dressing, you could use that)


• For the patty

• Mix mutton/chicken/beef mince, egg yolks, mustard powder or paste (English), red chilli powder, cracked black pepper, salt (grated raw papaya and mutton lard if using mutton mince) and make patty the size of your burger buns.

• Heat a grill pan or a non-stick pan. Put butter. When it melts carefully put the patties. Do not touch it for at least 3-4 minutes. Then flip the patty and cook for another 3 minutes.

• Then place a cheese slice on each and cook for one more minute till the cheese sticks to the patty. Remove it gently.

• Now put 1tsp butter and put the onions in the pan. Let it char a little bit and flip it. Season with salt and pepper. This will take 2 minutes. Remove and keep aside. The onions will look nice and caramelised.

• Brush both sides of the buns and put in the pan. Flip it over when brown. Remove them when it is brown and nicely toasted yet little soft.

• For the sauce for applying on the buns, mix the mayonnaise and the sriracha together and keep aside.

• To assemble, spread the sauce on both sides of the bun. Then place salad leaves over it. Then goes tomato rings on top of that. Thereafter place the onions and then the patty with the cheese. Put another salad leaf on top and close the bun. Insert a toothpick in the middle to keep everything together.

• Serve with French fries, a green salad or coleslaw.


It’s creamy, it’s cheesy it’s downright divine. Yes. It’s macaroni and cheese. This casserole baked in the oven is considered America’s ultimate comfort food.


• Cut macaroni: 500g. Boil till cooked and rinse so that it does not stick

• Butter: 4tbsp

• Onions: 3, finely chopped

• White flour: 3tbsp

• Milk: 1 litre

• Cheese: 300g, grated. It will be about 3 cups. (You can take three different types like Gruyere, Cheddar and Gouda)

• Fried bacon bits: To sprinkle on top (optional)

• Cayenne pepper: A pinch

• Worcestershire sauce: 1tbsp


• Heat butter in a pan and add onions. Saute till it is nice and soft and golden.

• Add flour and mix well for few seconds.

• Then add milk little by little and keep whisking at the same time. Let it simmer for a minute or two.

• Then add all the cheese and mustard. I like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then remove from fire and add a few tablespoons of the starchy water of the pasta for silkiness. Then add cooked macaroni and the Worcestershire sauce.

• Pour everything into a baking bowl (I put in individual ramekins)

• Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 200°C.

• Top with fried bacon bits (optional).

• Serve with a crispy salad.


New England clam chowder is a must-taste when visiting Boston. The fragrant soup is sold every-where. One taste of it will make you fall in love with it. Whoever decided to mix shellfish, tender potatoes, cream and herbs is a total genius. Here, I have made a bowl out of bread, where I carve out a cavity and pour the heavenly soup in it. Then put the top on.


• Shrimps or prawns: 500g (If you can get clams, then nothing like it)

• Carrot: 1, chopped very fine

• Butter: 2tbsp

• Potatoes: 4, peeled and diced finely

• Milk: 4 cups

• Chicken cubes: 2, dissolved

• Cream: ½ cup

• Shredded cheese: 1 cup

• Water: 2 cups

• Flour: 2tbsp

• Salt: To taste

• Pepper: To taste

• Parsley: Chopped (for garnishing)


• Heat butter in a pot. Add flour. Whisk well. Then add milk and keep stirring.

• Add the potatoes, the carrots and the chicken cubes. Cook all the ingredients for 15 minutes.

• Add shredded cheese and red chilli powder. Simmer till the cheese melts beautifully and is well-combined.

• Boil the prawns in 2 cups of water. Chop them into small pieces and add to the soup. If the soup is too thick, you can always thin it down with a little of the prawn water.

• Check the seasoning.

• Pour into the bread bowl or any bowl of your choice.

• Garnish with parsley and serve hot.


Created in the 1960s, these fried chicken wings doused in cayenne vinegar hot sauce (Buffalo sauce) are ubiquitous bar snacks. They are extremely popular and you just cannot stop at one.


• Chicken wings: 10 (Skin on the chicken wings is good. You can also cut off the tips of the wings)

• White flour: ½ cup

• Red chilli powder: ½tsp

• Paprika: ½tsp

• Salt: ¼tsp

• Oil: For deep frying

• For the hot sauce

• Butter: ¼ cup

• Black pepper: ½tsp

• Hot sauce: ¼ cup (I used sriracha)

• Minced garlic: 1tsp


• In a bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, red chilli powder and salt. Put the chicken wings in this mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

• Heat oil in a deep pan. The oil should be just enough to cover the wings entirely.

• Fry the coated wings till they turn nice and golden. Remove and keep aside.

• In a small saucepan combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic over low heat. Let the butter melt and make sure everything is well-blended.

• Toss the wings with this sauce on low heat for a minute or so.

• Serve with ranch dressing or blue-cheese dressing. (You can buy them readymade. In case you do not want the Buffalo wings to be very spicy, you can always add a teaspoon of honey to the sauce).


Apple pie is an American favourite. It is actually very simple and easy to make. The apple sauce and then the pie crust. It turns out really delicious and once you get the hang of making the pie crust you will make it again and again and with your fruit variations.


• For the apple sauce

• Butter: 8tbsp (preferably unsalted)

• White flour: 3tbsp

• Water: ¼ cup

• Sugar: ¾ cup

• Apples: 6, peeled and core removed and cut into thin slices

• Cinnamon powder: 1tsp

• For the butter pie crust dough

• White flour: 2½ cups

• Sugar: ½tbsp

• Salt: ½tsp

• Butter: 400g (It should be very cold)

• Ice-cold water: 6tbsp


• For the apple sauce

• Heat butter in a pan, add the flour and saute for 1 minute, whisking continuously (this is very important). Add water and sugar and bring to a boil, whisking all the time. Then let simmer for about 3 minutes, whisking occasionally.

• When done, it should have a nice caramel consistency. Not too thick.

• Take it off the heat and let it cool. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and then mix it in the sauce.

• For the butter pie crust dough

• In a bowl or food processor put flour, salt and sugar. Combine well. Then you quickly add butter and mix so that it becomes crumbly and dry. The butter should not melt so you have to work fast. Now add ice-cold water and mix gently so that it all comes together. Do not knead the dough but just bring it all together with your hands.

• Divide the dough into two parts. Make round not very thin discs and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

• Now sprinkle the work surface with flour and roll out one disc to a circle of about 12 inches in diameter. Then place it gently in a pie bowl. You should have some dough hanging out of the pie bowl.

• Add all the apple sauce mixture in the centre and don’t spread it out right to the edges.

• Roll the second pie dough to about an 11-inch circle. Then using a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut into 10 even strips.

• Take the longest strip and place in the centre across the pie dish. Shorter ones towards the end. You will be using 5 strips. Then place other 5 strips to make a lattice pattern. Tuck excess pie dough into the pie around the edges. Then crimp the edges so that it is all sealed up and looks pretty.

• Beat one egg and 1tbsp sugar. Brush this mixture all over the surface of the pie dough. This will give a good glace when baked.

• Bake in a preheated oven in the centre for 15 minutes at 218°C. Now, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 177°C and bake for 45 minutes. The apples will be soft and bubbly. After removing from the oven let it rest for at least 5 hours.

• Cut and serve. Goes extremely well with vanilla ice cream on the side.

• Tip. Do not make the sauce very dry, otherwise you will have a hard filling inside. You want it to be soft and slightly juicy.


When it comes to a typical American breakfast, there is one frontrunner — pancakes. There are a number of ways of having it: Topped with maple syrup is very traditional. Americans also have it with, among other things, fruits, bacon, eggs or Nutella. The list goes on. But the star of the show has to be real fluffy.


• White flour: 2 cups

• Baking soda: 1tsp

• Baking powder: 2tsp

• Sugar: 1½tbsp

• Salt: 1 tsp

• Full cream milk: 2 cups

• Yoghurt: ¼ cup (with water drained, or you can use Greek yoghurt)

• Eggs: 2

• Butter: 50g


• In a mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients and mix well. You can do it in a food processor or with hands on a work surface. I have done with my hands.

• In a separate bowl, add all your wet ingredients, the yoghurt, eggs, milk and melted butter, and mix well.

• Create a small bay in your dry ingredients mixing bowl and slowly pour the wet mixture in the centre. Do not beat it, just mix it slowly until it is well-combined. Do not overmix it. Note: Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes before making the pancakes.

• Heat a non-stick pan to moderate heat. Melt a little butter and, using a paper towel, spread to coat the whole pan. Remove any excess.

• Pour a ladle of the mixture into the pan. Do not make it very thin. You will see bubbles forming. It will take a minute or so. Flip it over and cook for a minute or so.

• Remove on to a plate. Top with maple syrup and butter or the topping of your choice. I like strawberries with it. You can have it with eggs, bacon, hash browns or whatever else you choose.


Americans love their steaks. It could be a rib eye, sirloin, tenderloin or the very expensive Wagyu. They love to barbecue it and have with various salads, etc. Steaks are a popular item in fine dining too. Here, I will be using tenderloin since it is easily available and also quick to make.


• For the steak

• Tenderloin steak: 2 (2-inch thick)

• Olive oil: 1tbsp

• Garlic: 4 cloves, minced

• Meat tenderiser: 1tsp (or 1tbsp grated raw papaya. It acts as a tenderiser and is neutral in taste)

• Salt: For seasoning

• Black pepper: For seasoning

• For the steak sauce

• Hot water: 1tbsp plus 1tsp

• Chicken bouillon cube: 1

• Tomato paste: 2/3 cup

• Apple cider vinegar: ¼ cup (You can use white if you don’t have this one)

• Smoky barbeque sauce: ½ cup (easily available in stores. If they don’t have smoky then use any other)

• Honey: ½ cup

• Ketchup: 2½tbsp

• Brown sugar: 2tbsp or according to taste

• Onion powder: 1tsp (or 1tbsp minced onion)

• Garlic powder: 1tsp (or 2tsp garlic paste)

• Dry mustard powder: ½tsp

• Red chilli powder: ½tsp or according to taste


• For the steak

• Rub the steak well with garlic, olive oil, tenderiser, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more if you have time.

• Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Brush it with oil and place the steaks on it. Cook for about 7 minutes on each side, or until done. I like mine medium to well done. It depends on you.

• Tip: After removing from the refrigerator the steaks should come to room temperature before cooking it. This is very important.

• For the steak sauce

• Stir hot water and chicken cube together in a pot to dissolve it. Add tomato paste, vinegar, barbeque sauce, honey, ketchup, onion powder, garlic powder, red chilli powder and mustard.

• Stir mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer till the sauce thickens to your liking.

• I like to add lot of pepper. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Extra sauce can always be bottled in a airtight container in the fridge.

• Serve the steak with some creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables of your choice. I like to have a fried egg and baked beans too. This is my total heavenly, complete and satisfying meal. Dribble the sauce over the steak and some onto the potatoes as well.

• Complete it with a slice of sourdough or garlic bread.

Durri Bhalla is a cookery expert and author of Indian Bohra Cuisine and Inner Truth To Good Health And Weight Loss. You can find her at @DurriBhallaKitchen on Instagram, Durri's Kitchen on Facebook and Durri Bhalla on YouTube

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