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Three types of burgers, Malaysian, at left with lettuce; Peruvian, centre, with egg and roasted pepper; and Korean, topped with kimchi, top.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Who doesn't like to bite into a juicy burger just off the grill? But we all need a change once in a while. Here, I spice up regular burgers with different flavour profiles.

Gochujang is Korean red chili paste made with powdered sticky rice, fermented soybeans and salt. It is thick and mellow and not as spicy as Chinese or Thai pastes. Typically used in Korean cooking, dark soy sauce is aged and has molasses added, giving it a full-bodied flavour. If it's not available, you can use light. I bought frozen steamed buns in Chinatown and steamed them.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 30 minutes

Korean-style burger patty

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 lbs (750 g) ground meat

Kimchi raita

1/2 cup chopped kimchi

2 tbsp plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated, peeled cucumber

2 tbsp chopped basil

1/2 tsp sugar

Pinch of salt


Vegetable oil

4 steamed buns


Mix together soy, sesame oil, gochujang and sugar in a large bowl. Crumble meat into sauce and gently combine. Do not overwork. Form into 4 balls.

Combine ingredients for kimchi raita. Reserve.

Preheat grill to high. Brush each ball with oil and place on grill. Immediately flatten them to 3/4-inch-thick patties. Grill 4 minutes on each side for medium or 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.

Serve each patty in a steamed bun and top with kimchi raita.

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