The inspiration for this burger came from my lamb burger recipe, in which I blend ground lamb with lots of spices and a combination of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses. Richard Arakelian, a chef colleague, asked me why I never use ground turkey in a burger, and furthermore why I rarely use American cheeses, like cheddar, in my recipes. I interpreted his question as a challenge, and the result is turkey burgers unlike any you have had – absolutely exploding with flavours and masala. If you prefer, you can substitute turkey with ground white or dark meat chicken or ground pork. I serve the burger with tomato chutney, which always finds a home on my table. This version of the chutney is a little different because of the addition of peanuts, which give a wonderful texture.
- 570 gm ground turkey
- 85 gm tightly packed shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp canola oil or any neutral oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 curry leaves, finely chopped
- 4 toasted burger buns
- 2-3 small red onion, finely minced
- 1/2 jalapeño, finely diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Raita for serving
- Tomato-Onion-Peanut Chutney for serving
For Tomato-Onion-Peanut Chutney
- 1.6 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 255 gm tomato paste or purée
- 145 gm raw skinned peanuts
- 160 ml neutral-flavoured oil (like canola or grapeseed)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt or to taste
- 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 36 fresh or 54 frozen curry leaves, roughly torn
- 12 dried red chillies
- 3-4 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
For Tomato-Onion-Peanut Chutney
- Heat the oil with the curry leaves, chillies, mustard seeds and cumin over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until the cumin is golden and fragrant.
- Stir in the turmeric and cook for a minute or two until the chillies darken.
- Toss in the onions and cook until they have wilted and are opaque. This will take 5-7 minutes.
- Add the peanuts, cook for 3 minutes, and follow up with tomatoes, tomato paste or purée, sugar, sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt.
- Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, pressing the tomatoes up against the sides of the pot to crush them.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20-35 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato juices are reduced and the chutney is thick and jammy. In the summer, when tomatoes are juicy, it may take longer to thicken; in the winter, it may happen more quickly.
- Taste, add more salt if needed, and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 1 week. You'll get about 6 cups of chutney.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the oil, curry leaves, cumin seeds, black pepper and red pepper flakes in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, and cooking for about 2 minutes until the cumin seeds are fragrant and lightly browned.
- Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until translucent.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl and gently knead in the remaining ingredients. Stir in the onion mixture and form into four patties.
- Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel. Heat over medium-high for 2 minutes, add 1 tablespoon oil and then drop in the patties. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes until browned. Flip and cook until the other side is browned and the centre is cooked to your preferred doneness (I like mine slightly pink).
- Place the burgers on the toasted buns, add a dollop of raita and Tomato-Onion-Peanut Chutney, and serve.