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Bangkok Burgers with Green Curry Eggplant and Papaya-Peanut Salad

I am re-submitting this recipe because I made changes after re-proofing. This recipe is inspired by my passion for Thai foods - I love the range of flavors, textures and colors of ingredients used in Thai cooking and have incorporated some of them into this recipe.


Green Curry Eggplant:
2 tablespoons green curry paste
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 large eggplant, sliced into 6 - ½ inch thick slices
Papaya-Peanut Salad:
2 cups diced fresh papaya
1/2 cup chopped salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork shoulder
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, including both white and green portion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, including juices
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 sesame seed buns, split


• Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. • To make eggplant, evenly mix green curry paste and coconut milk together in a small bowl. Lay eggplant slices in a non-reactive pan, spread curry sauce on the top side of eggplant slices and set aside. • To make the salad, gently combine papaya, peanuts, shallot, basil and cilantro in a medium bowl. Mix tamarind paste with coconut milk in a small bowl. Gently stir tamarind mixture into papaya salad. Cover and refrigerate until serving. • To make the patties, spread the chuck and pork out in a large shallow pan. Sprinkle evenly with green onion, basil, cilantro, garlic, ginger and salt. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns. Refrigerate until cooking. • When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place eggplant slices on the grill rack, green curry side up, and cover. Grill the eggplant slices 3 to 5 minutes until charred and turn, spreading cooked side with remaining curry sauce. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until eggplant slices are tender. Remove eggplant from grill rack and keep warm. Scrape the grill rack clean, as necessary. • To cook the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. • To assemble the burgers, on each bun bottom, place an eggplant slice, a patty and an equal portion of the Papaya-Peanut Salad. Add the bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.