bahn mi 4

banh-mi inspired turkey burger

I was playing around with turkey burger recipes for a client and used the flavours of banh-mi in some simple burgers. She and her children went mad for them so I thought you’d like them too.

When I’m trying to eat more healthily I often look to Thailand and Vietnam for inspiration. One of my favourite Vietnamese foods is Bahn-mi, the perfect little sandwiches that have soft roasted meat, pate, crunchy veg, fresh herbs and lime and some chilli fire.

Traditionally these would be served on baguettes but because I was too eager to eat and photograph them after I made them, I actually ended up serving them on wholegrain English muffins. To be fair, a perfectly crisp baguette would be better but they were still really good. Next time I might just have them with salad or maybe with some rice or noodles.

I make these turkey burgers for the whole family and my boys love them. I serve theirs on buns with potato wedges. I add some smushed avocado to their bread to counteract the chilli.

Choose your meat

Don’t be tempted to make these with turkey breast. It is too dry. You can buy minced (ground if you’re stateside) turkey thigh in most supermarkets, or your butcher will grind some for you. If you can’t find it, or you prefer something different, use minced pork instead.

Make a big batch and freeze them

The turkey burgers can be frozen when they are uncooked. Line a plate with foil and put the raw burgers on it. Cover them with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and freeze them. Once they are frozen they can be transferred to a labelled box or bag to save space. Defrost them before cooking them.

Turkey burger ingredients

(makes 4 – double up if you’d like to make some for the freezer)

  • 450-500g (1lb) minced (ground) turkey thigh.
  • A handful – around 30g (1oz) chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • A tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • zest of a lime – I use my Microplane zester
  • A tablespoon grated ginger, about an inch of fresh ginger peeled and grated – I grated mine on my coarse Microplane
  • 1 clove of garlic, again grated on my course Microplane
  • half to 1 chopped Thai chili (I like things hot so left the seeds in)

To serve

  • Split and toasted burger buns or baguette
  • sliced avocado
  • mayo or plain yoghurt
  • salad (below) or slaw


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To make these turkey burgers:

1. Put the minced meat in a bowl then add all the burger ingredients on top. Mix together with your hands until the seasonings are distributed well. Try not to over squish things as you’ll make the burgers tough.

2. Form the mixture into 4 balls. Gently press each ball into a burger shape, around 1 inch thick.
3. Heat a frying pan on high with a teaspoon of rapeseed (canola) or coconut oil and cook the burgers for 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Drop the heat to medium high once they’ve cooked for a minute. You still want them to sizzle though. Avoid the temptation to fiddle with them otherwise they won’t develop a nice colour on the outside. You’ll know when they’re cooked when the sides are opaque and they are golden brown on both sides. If in doubt, cut into one and check that the middle is opaque and pale rather than pink.
3. Serve with the salad below, on bread (with mayo, plain yoghurt, cream cheese or avocado) or over rice or noodles with stir fried veggies.

Vietnamese salad (serves 4)

  • 2 handfuls of finely sliced cucumber – I use my potato peeler (I use half a cucumber but size varies!)
  • 3 coarsely grated carrots
  • juice and zest of a lime (add more for more sourness)
  • A tablespoon sweet chili sauce (add more for more sweetness)
  • A tablespoon fish sauce (add more for more salt flavour)
  • A handful chopped mint or basil
  • A couple of handfuls rocket (arugula)

To make:

Toss everything together, taste and season to adjust the sweetness, saltiness, sourness until you’re happy. Serve immediately. If prepping ahead, add your liquid ingredients just before serving.

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Find more recipes for turkey, burgers and freezer fillers here.

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