Recipe: Grilled Tamarind Turkey Burgers, from Liz Neumark's Sylvia's Table

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Most children today have been exposed to a greater range of flavors than we were when we were very young, and their tastes are more developed, even for spicy foods. I cannot count the number of times I meet children who can rattle off their favorite sushi! So there’s no worry that the warm but not too spicy Southeast Asian seasonings in these turkey burgers won’t appeal to young palates.

Ground turkey, like boneless chicken breasts, is receptive to a wide range of flavorings, making it another option for good, tasty, quick, and affordable meals. This recipe can be halved, but the mixture freezes well, so, unless the turkey has already been frozen, you may want to make it all and freeze some of the burgers.  makes 8 patties



2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 jalapeño with seeds, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and about 1 inch of green parts

2 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 1/2 white, 1/2 dark meat

Hamburger or other rolls

Garnishes of your choice: sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, pickles, etc.


For the glaze, heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tamarind concentrate, honey, Sriracha, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and reduced to about 1 cup, stirring often, about 8 minutes.

Let the glaze cool completely, then mix in the lime juice.

Prepare a charcoal fire or gas grill to medium heat or place a grill pan over medium- high heat and coat it with cooking spray or oil. A nonstick or cast- iron pan is also fine for cooking these.

For the burgers, mix together the mayonnaise, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, jalapeño, cilantro, and 4 teaspoons of the glaze in a large bowl, then mix in the scallions. Add the ground turkey and mix it well but loosely with the mayonnaise mixture; do not overwork. Shape the turkey into eight ½- inch- thick patties (or smaller ones for little people).

Grill the rolls, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer them to a serving platter. Grill the burgers until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees, about 8 minutes on each side. Brush each burger with the remaining glaze and serve with garnishes, and a spread of your choice for the buns— I like mayonnaise spiked with a drop or two of Sriracha.

for the glaze

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon peeled and minced garlic

1/2 cup tamarind concentrate (see page 168)

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

for the burgers

Cooking spray or vegetable oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger


Excerpted from Sylvia’s Table: Fresh, Seasonal Recipes from Our Farm to Your Table by Liz Neumark. Copyright © 2013 by Liz Neumark. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.