Sunday, September 18, 2011

Asian Style Turkey Burgers

I've never really been a big red meat fan, but I LOVE cheeseburgers. I used to know when my body was lacking in protein based on my burger cravings. That is definitely one thing I truly missed since going gluten-free. Yes, I know I can wrap them in lettuce, but it just isn't the same. That is, until recently.

We've replaced most of our red meat consumption with ground turkey and chicken. (The Hubby still enjoys a good steak every now and then.) Unfortunately, both can get really dry due to the minimal fat content in the meat. Often times, it leads to an unappetizing burger and generally, a disappointing experience.

Last week started with a burger craving, which I knew meant I was in need of some additional protein in my diet. I decided I was going to make decent turkey burger to quench the craving. The key was adding some water to the mix. Yes, it made the meat mixture very wet and sloppy. It almost wouldn't mold into burgers. I just kind of had to form it as best I could. However, they cooked very well and held together perfectly.

SUCCESS!! They were moist, juicy and overall wonderfully flavored. We love Asian food, so these fit in very well with our pallets. If you don't like spice, you can leave out or reduce the sambal oelek (spicy chili paste). Remember, you do have to cook turkey all the way medium-rare burgers here. BUT....don't over cook them! The water will leak out and they will be come dry and flavorless.

We served ours with lettuce buns (and they weren't lacking, I promise), avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper, tomato, and cheese. I topped mine with sambal oelek mixed with some Miracle Whip. Hubby topped his with some homemade Thai peanut sauce.

Asian-Style Turkey Burgers

1 small/medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and diced
1-inch ginger, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sambal oelek* (or to taste depending on your heat preference. I'll probably add more next time as this wasn't very spicy)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions until the soften and begin to turn translucent. Add garlic and saute until both are soft and golden in color. Remove from the stove a cool just a bit.

In a bowl, combine onions, garlic, turkey, water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce, sambal oelek and cilantro. Add water slowly, combining everything with your hands. Depending on your altitude and the humidity, you may need more or less than 1/2 cup. You want a wet mixture, but on that will still stay together. This DOES NOT form together the same way ground beef does. That's ok. They will cook up just fine. Form into 4-5 patties, depending on how big you like your burgers. Grill about 5 minutes per side, but watch them carefully so they don't become over-done and dry.

Enjoy with your favorite burger toppings or favorite Asian toppings.

I buy the majority of my Asian ingredients at our local Asian market. I find they are much cheaper than the regular grocery store.

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