Once upon a time when I lived in Japan (which seems like ages ago...oh hang on, it was!), I asked my sister and mother to bring over some books for me. Back then there weren't that many bookstores that had English language books apart from Kinokuniya. I was a big fan of Patricia Cornwell's books so I asked them to bring over a copy of "Unnatural Exposure."
When they arrived my sister lobbed to book to me and said, "Mother didn't want to buy this. She thought that it was porn or had some guy exposing himself in it."
Apparently my mother had asked about the "unnatural type of exposure" which only made both of us laugh very hard and very long. I don't know many that would ask a parent to pick up anything like that for them (and if you do - um... eek!).
Nowadays my tastes in books has changed and I'll often bypass forensic mysteries in favour of something else. But completely unwavering is my love for burgers in all forms. We did of course do the Burger Hunt across Sydney last year and I could have happily eaten a burger the next day. But it was Michael's delicious sounding recipe for chicken flavoured with kaffir lime leaves that got me to thinking. I didn't have chicken but I had chicken mince in the freezer and so I made Thai chicken burgers instead.
For Thai cooking to really work well, you need four tastes: sweet, sour, spicy and salty in a harmonious balance. This can involve tasting and adding quite a bit so there was quite a bit of both conducted in the endeavor to bring to you a great chicken burger recipe. I also think that pickles and salads add a lot to a burger so I made a cucumber pickle with a hint of ginger and spread a spicy mayonnaise on the bottom of the bun.
Usually I only have a bite of something before I put it away but this burger was so moreish that I cut off half of it before passing the remaining half to Mr NQN and then asking for it back. You can leave out the chilli if you're feeding this to children but if you love sweet, salty, sour and spicy combination of Thai food adapted into a burger, please do give this burger a go!
So tell me Dear Reader, what's the oddest thing that you've asked family or friends to buy for you?
Thai Chicken Burger
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes 4 burgers
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Waiting time: 30 minutes (optional)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
For burger patties
- 750g/1.5lbs chicken mince
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes (or less if depending on how hot they are)
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- Juice and zest of 1 small lime
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, very finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons lemongrass, finely diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil to fry the patties
- Cucumber pickles (see below)
- 4 sesame seed buns
- 2-3 tablespoons chilli mayonnaise (mayonnaise mixed with chilli sauce or Tabasco)
- 1 cup salad leaves
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 thin slices fresh ginger
Step 1 - Line two trays with parchment. Mix the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, garlic, chilli flakes, fish sauce, sugar or honey, lime juice, lime leaf, lemongrass, salt and pepper together until well combined. I like to cook a little of the mixture to make sure that the seasoning is correct before the next step. Once you're happy with the mixture, wet your hands and divide the mixture into four. Shape into balls and press down. If you have time, you can place these patties in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.
Step 2 - Make the cucumber pickles by combining the pickle ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Step 3 - Heat a frypan on medium to high heat. Add oil and fry the patties well - they take about 10 minutes to cook through, depending on how thick you have made them.
*Step 4 - * Split the buns horizontally and spread the chilli mayonnaise on the base. Top with the drained cucumber pickles and then top with the patties. Place salad on top of patty and serve with extra pickles. Eat with gusto and never, ever give half to anyone else because that would cause food regret.