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Playing Thai Burgers


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup (about a handful) cilantro, chopped
  • 1 three-inch knob ginger, peeled and finely grated, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 shallots, chopped
  • A few dashes hot sauce (add more if you like it spicy!)
  • 1/4 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, stem end removed and leaves rinsed, if needed
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (a small handful) basil, chopped


Serves: 4 servings


Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of vegetable oil, about 2 tablespoons. While the oil is heating up, grab a large mixing bowl and add the ground chicken, cilantro, about two-thirds of the grated ginger, the red curry paste, lime zest and juice, honey, garlic, and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Use your hands to mix everything up then press the meat down into the bottom of the bowl. Use the side of your hand to score the meat into four portions. Scoop out one portion and shape it into a burger that is about an inch thick don't forget to press it down in the middle to prevent it from bulging while cooking. Shape the rest of the meat the same way to make four burgers.

Once the oil in the pan is hot, lay the burgers in and cook them, turning once, until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side.

While the burgers are cooking, get out your blender or food processor and combine the shallots, hot sauce, tamari, peanut butter, remaining grated ginger and an extra-large splash of water (about 1/2 cup). Turn the machine on and puree everything to make a dipping sauce (if you need it a little thinner, add a little more water remember you can always add more but you can't take it out!). Transfer the sauce to one large or four individual serving dishes and set aside.

When the burgers are about done, prepare four plates or a platter with a small stack of lettuce leaves for each burger. Lay the burger down over the leaves and top each with some of the sliced pepper, cucumber and chopped basil. Serve the burgers up with the dipping sauce alongside and a knife and fork.