RECIPES: Recipe Details

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The Thai is Now Burger

We love the light, bright, full tastes of Thai food, particularly for summer deck-dining; and this burger, with a stunning cilantro-ginger sauce, lightly grilled mango slices, and crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, a variation on a chicken spring roll recipe I've been making at home in the winter months, has all those qualities with an ease of preparation and a "you-can't-stop-eating-them" quality as well.


1 Serrano chili, tipped, seeded and halved
1 t. minced garlic
1 bunch cilantro (about 2/3 c.)
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (2 t. more will be needed for the patties)
1/2 c. pickled ginger, drained and juice reserved
2 T. pickled ginger juice
2 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
3 T. peanut oil
6 scallions, chopped
1 3/4 lbs. freshly ground chicken
2 t. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 T. salted Chinese black beans, minced (see Note)
1 T. hot chili oil
2 T. Sauvignon Blanc
2 t. bottled Thai peanut sauce
1/4 c. garlic Gomasio (see note)
3/4 c. crushed peanuts
vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
1 mango, sliced
6 Ciabatta rolls
6 iceberg lettuce leaves, washed and dried


1. To make the Cilantro-Ginger Vinaigrette, combine serrano chili, minced garlic, cilantro, fresh and pickled ginger in a food processor and whirl until smooth. With the machine running, add pickled ginger juice, sugar and salt; and finally,slowly add peanut oil; process until emulsified.

2. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high, or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

3. To make the patties, combine scallions with chicken, ginger, black beans, hot chili oil, wine and peanut sauce in a large bowl. Handling as little as possible to avoid compacting the meat, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form those portions into patties which will fit the ciabatta rolls.

4. Mix gomasio with crushed peanuts in a shallow bowl. Coat both sides of the burger patties with the peanut mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

4. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack and cover. Cook , turning once, until just done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium. Place the mango slices on the grill rack or in a perforated grill pan and grill just until marked on each side, about three minutes. If there is room on the grill, mango slices may be started just after turning the burgers once.During the last few minutes of cooking time, place the ciabatta breads, cut sides down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly.

5. To assemble the burgers, spread equal amounts of the vinaigrette abundantly on the cut sides of bun tops and bottoms. On each roll bottom, place an iceberg lettuce leaf, a patty and an equal portion of the grilled mango. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.


NOTE: Although all these ingredients are now widely available, two substitutions are possible if they can’t be easily found: Chinese black beans can be replaced by black bean sauce(use about 1/2 as much) in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets. Garlic gomasio (a mixture of sesame seeds, sea salt and garlic) can be replaced either by an equal amount of panko, or by a combination of 1/4 c. sesame seeds, 1 t. sea salt, and 1/2 t. garlic powder.
Because of the black beans and the gomasio, no salt is added to the patties;I think you’ll find they are wonderful as they are!