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Masala Shrimp Burgers with Tangy Tamarind Sauce and Red Onion-Cilantro Relish

Masala means mixture of spices. The main flavor and spicy-ness of the Shrimp Burger comes from Garam Masala meaning a blend of hot spices, a common spice blend used in widely in Indian cooking. It is prepared by grinding Black peppercorns, Cumin seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Bay leaves. It is available in grocery stores as Garam Masala. Most of the Shrimp Burgers, which I have come across, are either pan fried or deep-fried. By blending green onions and powdered rice with the shrimp to bind and give texture, I have been able to grill the Shrimp Burgers. The brushing of the patties with butter helps prevent them to stick to the grill rack and adds flavor. I hope, this is a way to Build a Better Burger. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

Tamarind Sauce:
14 oz packet of frozen Tamarind Pulp
(1) ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
(2) 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
(3) ½ teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
(4) 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
(5) Patties:
1½ pound peeled and de-veined, large shrimp, fresh or thawed if frozen
(6) 1 cup chopped green onions
(7) 1 cup Original Long Grain Ready Rice
(8) 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
(9) ¾ teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
(4) ½ cup melted Butter
(10), divided 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
(5) Red Onion
Cilantro Relish:
1 ½ Cup thinly sliced Red onion
(11) 2 Medium Size Roma Tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
(12) ½ Cup Chopped fresh Cilantro leaves
(13) ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
(5) ¼ teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
(4) 2 tablespoon of fresh Lemon Juice
(14) Melted Butter
(15 6 whole wheat Hamburger Buns, split
(16) 6 leaves of Iceberg Lettuce cut to the size of the bun. 
Colavita Extra Virgin Oil for greasing the grill rack

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make Tamarind sauce, thaw the Tamarind pulp by keeping the packet in a bowl under running cold water for few minutes. Transfer the pulp to a non-reactive (stainless steel or anodized aluminum) 3QT Sauce pan. Add light brown sugar, ground cumin,Cayenne Pepper and salt. Mix well. Place the saucepan on the grill and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, stir occasionally. The mixture will thicken and result in about 1 cup of Tangy Tamarind sauce, Transfer to a small glass bowl and let it cool. To make Patties, pat dry the shrimp with paper towel. Divide shrimp into 3 parts. Chop one part of the shrimp in a food processor with chopping blade, using Pulse mode few times, into small pieces, making sure not to over process. Transfer the chopped shrimp in a large bowl.Repeat the process with the other two parts of the shrimp. Next, finely chop the green onions in the food processor and transfer to the bowl with the shrimp. Add the Ready Rice in the food processor. Process the rice till becomes a coarse powder. Add the rice to the shrimp and green onion. Mix with a large spoon. Then add Garam Masala, Cayenne pepper, one table spoon of melted butter and salt to the shrimp, mix well. Divide the mixture into six equal parts. Oil the hands with some butter and make six patties and transfer them a large baking dish. Brush all the patties with butter and refrigerate. For Relish, combine, Red onion, tomatoes, Cilantro leaves, salt, Cayenne pepper and Lemon juice in a medium size glass bowl, mix well and refrigerate. Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the buttered side of the patties on the rack. Brush the top of the patties with melted butter, cover and grill for 3-5 minutes till the shrimp starts to turn opaque. Turn the patties over and grill for another 3-5 minutes till patties turn fully opaque. Transfer the patties to a serving platter. Brush the cut side of the buns with melted butter and grill them 1-2 minutes till lightly brown. To assemble the burgers, place the lettuce leaves on browned side of bottom buns. Spread 1 to 2 table spoon of Tangy Tamarind sauce on each of them. Place the patties and then add few table spoons of relish on the patties. Add the top buns and serve.

Comments 

Please note that the patties will be soft to start with, so handle carefully, but will firm up as they begin to cook. To take this burger, one notch higher, I would use Ghee, Clarified Butter, instead of melted butter, as it is more flavorful and works well with Garam Masala. I did not use Ghee in the recipe as it is so far, not readily available in most well-stocked supermarkets as required by official rules.