Turkey mantou burgers with parmesan wafer

Get cooking with kids: part 4

Originally appeared in the March 22, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

For this fourth installment in this kid-centric series, I had my mind set on some sort of sandwich.  And to avoid the same old, same old, I set my sights on introducing the little ones to a unique sort of bread—mantou.

You likely won’t find this at your local market, so it will take an investigative trek to an international market.  But like so many of these little adventures, it’s unceasingly rewarding.  Mantou is a yeast-leavened bun, similar to bao (pronounced bow), a sort of stuffed bread popular in Chinese cuisine.  The buns are usually steamed, producing a delicate dough yielding an enjoyably chewy texture, and its fermented flavor is mildly sweet.

In the midst of your gastronomic quest, steer toward the freezer section of the store, where you’ll find a host of frozen rolls and doughs—of both the stuffed and plain varieties.

The turkey is, of course, lean, so I’ve added in a little hoisin sauce as both binder and flavor component.  And I won’t even get into the host of toppings you can pair with these burgers—the sky’s the limit.  Combined, these elements create a kid-friendly sandwich that’s predictable enough to be pleasing, while abnormal enough to be enticing.


Turkey mantou burger with parmesan wafer

Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • To taste, salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 plain mantou or bao buns
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • As needed, all-purpose flour

1.  Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine 8 ounces of turkey with hoisin sauce.  Add a small amount of kosher salt and pepper.  Divide meat into 2 portions, and shape portions into patties.  In an oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a small amount of canola oil.  When heated, add patties one at a time, searing to golden brown color, reserving the cooked one on a plate.  When patties are cooked, put back in pan and place pan in oven to finish cooking (12 -15 minutes).

2.  Meanwhile, place mantou buns in a large freezer bag; seal halfway, allowing an open portion to release steam; cook for 30 – 40 seconds, or until buns have softened.  Set aside.

3.  Now make parmesan wafer: In a small bowl, combine parmesan with just enough flour (a few sprinkles) to coat the cheese.  Using a non-stick sauté pan, place half the parm mixture flat in the center, making a wafer-thin disc.  When wafer has started to get crispy (about 40 – 60 seconds) flip with a spatula.  Set wafer aside.

4.  Slice mantou buns and proceed to assemble sandwiches—turkey patty, parmesan wafer, and choice of toppings.



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