Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tandoori Chicken Burgers

I was watching the PBS show Everyday Food last weekend - the show was called "The Best Burgers" (episode 405 according to their website). I love a good burger, but don't make them from scratch very often, so I thought it would be worth the time. After the show was over I had 2 things: a couple of interesting recipes to try and a big hunger. Good thing it was lunch time.

I didn't have any of the ingredients readily available for either of the recipes, so it was a couple of days before I could cook one up. The first (and as of 02/21/08, the only so far) was the Tandoori-style Chicken burger in pitas. There are so many interesting flavors going in, I was really looking forward to how they would turn out. I was also excited to get to use the cardamom pods I'd recently purchased from Penzey's. The original recipe called for a cumin-yogurt sauce, but I made the tahini mayonnaise from the veggie burger recipe.
The use of chicken thighs makes for great chicken flavor. The thighs are run through the food processed a bit to break them up, but not enough to make them mushy.
For the pitas, try to find the thin pitas, not the thick heavy ones. I'm not a big fan of one of the national brands, Father Sam's; they're just a bit too thick/bready for me, but are very popular and usually available near your grocer's deli department. If you live in an area that has an Aladdin's Eatery location (northern Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Antonio,Texas; western Pennsylvania, Chicago,Illinois; and 16 Ohio locations), I recommend that you stop in and buy a bag of pita from them. It's pretty cheap and perfect for almost anything, even (and especially) just snacking on. Oh, yeah, they're great for this dish, too.

1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5), cut into rough chunks.
4 scallions, sliced thin (both the white and the green parts)
2 Tablespoons of finely chopped fresh ginger (about a 2 inch piece, peeled)
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (I ground mine fresh in the old coffee mill!)
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
Whole wheat pitas
Cucumber, thin sliced on the bias
Fresh Cilantro leaves

Place the scallions, ginger, lemon juice, cumin, cardamom, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add the chicken and toss to combine all of the ingredients and set the bowl aside to marinate for up to 30 minutes (at least 10 minutes).

After no more than 30 minutes, transfer the chicken mixture to your food processor. Pulse the mixture just until it is roughly chopped, and not yet pasty (maybe a dozen pulses).

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and spray it with vegetable oil spray (Pam or the equivalent)
Form small patties fromthe chicken mixture (about 3 Tablespoons each).
Season the patties with salt and pepper and place inthe skillet. Be sure not to crowd them.

Cook until they are opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes,then turn carefully and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

Tahini Mayonnaise
1/2 cup of Mayonnaise (use the real stuff, not that nasty Kraft M.W.)
1 to 2 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 to 2 Tablespoons of tahini (I used "Ziyad" brand)

Whisk the above ingredients together and season with a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serve the burgers in the pitas - halve the pitas and place 2 cooked patties inside with some cucumber slices, cilantro leaves and some tahini mayo.

They turned out moist, tender and full of freshness. I need to cook from scratch a lot more.


1 comment:

Ct Stockula said...

Hey Lorence! Can't wait to make these! Where do you get boneless, skinless chicken thighs? Don't tell me I have to de-bone. I absolutely hate to de-bone.