Burgers Better than Takeout
My goals for this chicken burger were for it to be tasty, quick, healthy, and easy. It isn’t often you can squeeze out all four of these ambitions, but here you have it. Make them burger size or bite-sized and grill or fry them. Serve chicken burgers in a bun, slider or full-size, or be virtuous and plop them on a crunchy bed of cabbage salad. Any way you eat these, they are healthy dinner savers. Oh, and they can be eggless, gluten-free, low-fat, and keto-friendly too. This is weeknight dinner at it’s best. Make a double batch and freeze them individually either before or after you cook them. Chicken burgers are the perfect homemade convenience foods.
Kerala Chicken Burger
My nod to Kerala is the ground chicken and finely minced curry leaves that add that something extra. To add even more Keralan flavors, use my Kerala garam masala. And if curry leaves are hard to find, and you don’t have the time or inclination to mail order them, add a half of a teaspoon of lime zest to add flavor and aroma to your burger. A kebab/kabab is a smaller and more traditional form of this burger—lovely bites that can be served as appetizers or as a part of a meal.
I am a texture girl and love adding some texture to almost everything. Making or buying crispy onions, also called birista, is a good move. My local Indian grocery carries Lays masala potato chips. If you can find them, they are a fun way to add flavor and crunch to a burger. Top your burger with a good handful lighthtly crushed and be prepared to be wowed. Or you can always eat them on the side.
Healthy and happy cooking!
See the Notes below before you cook.
Chicken Burger Juicy Kerala-Style
- 1 pound ground chicken ~ Ground turkey or pork
- 1 cup onions ~ Finely minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic ~ Puréed or finely minced OR 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 cup cilantro ~ Mint or parsley OR a mix
- 2 teaspoons Kerala garam masala ~ Make Kerala garam masala Or Buy (See notes below)
- 1 small Indian green chili ~ Optional, more to taste; substitutions
- 3/4 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Or 1/4+ teaspoon cayenne; substitutions
- 1 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ Substitutions
- 1 egg ~ Or 1/4 cup thick yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
- 10 curry leaves ~ Optional, finely minced; more to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee ~ Or oil for sauteéing, make ghee
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 onion ~ Sliced and carmelized or raw
- 1/2 cup potato chips ~ Coarsely crushed
- 1/2 cup bhujia ~ Or sev (an Indian snack): buy
- Gather all the burger ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. If you would like to double-check the seasonings, fry a small amount of the meat to taste.
- Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape into burgers or smaller sliders or tikkas.
- In a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat cook the burgers. You are wanting a nice sizzle when your burger hits the pan. But be careful, if the heat is too high the tender meat will burn on the outside before it cooks on the inside. Cook on each side for 4 to 5 minutes. Check doneness using an instant-read thermometer and look for 165°F (75°C). Or take a peek inside; there should be no pinkish meat.
- If using buns, while the meat is cooking, toast the buns in ghee or butter. Serve with chips and/or a salad. See some garnishing ideas below.
- For inside the burger or as a bed for a bunless burger: a simple slaw or my Indian-ish coconut cabbage slaw.
- For a perfect burger sauce, I've published one from Sam the Cooking Guy on my Indian-ish turkey burger recipe.
- Kerala garam masala: If you don't make your own Kerala garam masala, the South Indian brands of Eastern, Melam, and Saras are worth looking for. As a last resort you can use the commonly found garam masala (typically a North India spice mix). You will have a tasty dish, but it won't be Kerala chicken burgers.
- This burger mixture is quite soft. I have not done this but you could store the final mix in the fridge for an hour, up to 24 hours, and the meat will firm up and be a bit easier to work with.
- Here are some easy flavor enhancers if you want to play:
- add 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese mixed into the burger
- add your favorite cheese on top; feta works really well
- add 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Ways to add vegetables and moisture (not that this chicken burger needs it):
- 1/2 cup mushrooms finely chopped
- 1/2 cup zucchini, peeled and deseeded, finely grated or chopped
- Ways to add texture:
- 1/2 cup crisp onions
- 1 cup your favorite crunchy snack: potato chips, sev., etc.