Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Chicken Tikka Burgers

So maybe "tikka" is a misnomer. Ordinarily, the word refers to chunks of meat cooked on skewers, but I'm using it to evoke a flavor profile. Chicken tikka is like tandoori chicken, only boneless, marinated in yogurt and spices. While these chicken burgers don't contain any yogurt, they still taste wonderful, redolent of spices like cumin and garam masala.

Without the seasoning, chicken burgers are pretty boring. They are usually somewhat dry, too. I mix in a few spoonsful of hydrated chia seeds, which magically transform a dry burger into a juicy one. I'm not sure how it works, but it does. And as most of the ground chicken sold these days is breast meat (even though thighs are tastier), moisture is a necessity.

Serve these moist burgers on English muffins, to add a bit of crunchy textural interest, or substitute any bread you prefer. Cheese is optional, but do make the chutney mayo, as the sweet creaminess is a nice foil to the spices. You can also use the same spice combo with turkey or pork; beef might need a little more punch.

Chicken Tikka Burgers

2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 lb ground chicken
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Penzey's Sweet Curry)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Plain dry bread crumbs
AP flour
Oil for frying
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Major Grey chutney
4 English muffins
Avocado, thinly sliced (optional, but we had it)

Put the chia seeds in a ramekin with a tablespoon of water. Allow to rest for 15 minutes in order for the chia to absorb all the water. Add the chia to the chicken along with the spices, jalapeno, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well. If the chicken seems too wet, add a couple tablespoons of the bread crumbs and combine well. Cover bowl and place in the fridge for at least one hour.

Place a cup or so of the flour on a plate and season it with salt. Make four patties with the chicken mixture and dredge each in the seasoned flour.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken patties. Cook, over medium heat, for 6-8 minutes per side, until well-browned and cooked through.

While the burgers are cooking, combine the mayo and chutney. Toast the muffins and spread with the chutney mayo. Place a burger on each muffin, top with cilantro and avocado. Eat.

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