Juicy Turkey-Cheddar
Juicy Turkey-Cheddar

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.

  •  Serves 4
  •  Cook Time 1h

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

FOR TOMATO-ONION-PEANUT CHUTNEY

  1. 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.
  2. Stir in the turmeric and cook for a minute or two until the chillies darken.
  3. Toss in the onions and cook until they have wilted and are opaque. This will take 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peanuts, cook for 3 minutes, and follow up with tomatoes, tomato paste or purée, sugar, sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, pressing the tomatoes up against the sides of the pot to crush them.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

FOR BURGER

  1. 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.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until translucent.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Place the burgers on the toasted buns, add a dollop of raita and Tomato-Onion-Peanut Chutney, and serve. 

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