Recipe: Vietnamese chicken burgers

These gourmet burgers will no doubt become a mainstay in your culinary tool box.

This recipe began life as a chicken ball. Bursting with flavour, its outward appearance (pale and insipid) did little to promote its tasty culinary virtues. We saw in it the potential for greater things and thus set about turning it into a chicken burger. Full of flavour, the patty itself required very little attention, other than a commitment to put pen to paper to record exactly what had been going into this ever-evolving recipe. The accompanying slaw, dressing and peanut sauce are delicious toppings to serve it with however whatever happens to be in the fridge at the time will also work too; cheese, lettuce, gherkins, grated carrot, cucumber, beetroot etc.

Don’t feel intimidated by the four part nature of this recipe. If you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed, simply forget the add-ons and just make the burger patties. Slap them between a good quality bun and then pile on whatever you have on hand. We happen to think that these are the best chicken burgers in the world. Ever.

Ingredients

Makes 6 burgers

Burger Patties
500g chicken mince
3 tbsp coconut powder
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 spring onions, finely chopped
6 kaffir lime leaves, deveined and finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, deseeded, halved lengthways and finely chopped
6 burger buns (I used ciabatta rolls)

Slaw
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/8 red cabbage, very finely sliced
½ small red onion, very finely sliced
8 snow peas, julienned
Good handful Thai Basil or Vietnamese Mint

Dressing
1 large red chilli, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 lemon, peeled and deseeded so that only the flesh remains
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp fish sauce

Peanut Sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
100g crunchy peanut butter
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Method

Burger Patties
Place all ingredients into a bowl and give it a good mix to ensure all the ingredients are well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator.

Slaw
Combine all ingredients, cover and place in the refrigerator.

Dressing
Place the chilli, garlic and sugar into a mortar and pestle and pound until a smooth paste forms.
Add the lemon flesh and continue to pound until once again smooth.
Finally add the lemon juice, vinegar, water and fish sauce and mix to a smooth sauce.

Peanut Sauce
Fry the garlic and chilli in a little oil, being careful not to burn the garlic, remove from the pan and place into a mixing bowl. Add the shrimp paste and continue to cook for a further minute or two then add this to the garlic/chilli mix.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the garlic/chilli/shrimp and stir until well combined and smooth.

To Assemble
Divide the chicken mixture into 6 portions, form into patties (the mixture can simply be spooned onto the BBQ and shaped with the back of the spoon) and fry in a little olive oil on the skillet of a BBQ.

Spread peanut sauce (as much as desired) onto each burger bun, add a pattie onto each one, top with the slaw then dress with the dressing. Serve immediately.

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