RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Thai Kwon Do Burger

As the name suggests, there are both Thai and Korean elements to this burger. The key elements of this cuisine is a balance between sweet, sour, salty and hot, which in this burger is represented by the lychees, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and curry paste. This burger is actually based upon a meatball recipe that I used to do for the potluck dinner that was served at belt ceremony at my Tae Kwon Do school where I studied for 3 years. It always brought good comments.


1 (20 ounce) can lychee fruit in syrup *(see ingredient notes)
1/2 cup Korean Kim Chee (spicy pickled cabbage)
2 tablespoons green curry paste
4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce (divided, 2 + 2 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (divided, 2 + 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup packed Thai basil leaves
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
Olive Oil for the grill
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 large sesame seeded buns
1 cup of watercress leaves


Heat a grill up to medium high temperature.

Drain the lychee and reserve the syrup. Dice the lychee and the Kim Chee together and mix in a small bowl. Strain if it is still watery.

In a small bowl, mix the curry paste, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons reserved lychee syrup. Finely chop the basil and add that in as well. Spread the ground chuck out in a mixing bowl and mix in the herb - spice mixture. Form 6 equal sized patties from the meat mixture.

Clean the grill and oil it with a generous amount of oil. Place the patties over direct heat, cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium or until done to preference. While the meat is cooking, make the sauce. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons reserved lychee syrup and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Warm the buns on the grill during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

To assemble the burgers: Spread some of the sauce on both the top and bottom halves of the bun. Top the bottom bun with a few leaves of watercress. Spread 1 tablespoon of the lychee/ Kim Chee relish on top of the watercress then top with a patty. Place another tablespoon of lychee/ Kim Chee relish on top of the patty followed by a few watercress leaves and top it off with the top bun. Repeat for the other 5 burgers.


Ingredients note: Canned lychee, Kim Chee, curry paste and rice wine vinegar are available in most grocery stores in the Asian section. They are staples in any Asian market.