Bold Indian flavors - ginger, onion, garlic, cilantro, masala - take humble ground chicken (turkey, beef, pork) from bland to beautiful! Healthy Indian-Style Chicken Sausage Burger gets topped with a lemon and herb yogurt, sliced tomatoes, arugula (or other greens), and served on flatbread of your choice... We love it between a split naan!
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe
When tipp'd with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
Thy naked beauties—give me a cigar!
~~ Lord Byron, The Island
I studied the "romantic" poets as a young college student, and try as I might, I do not remember Lord Byron's love of cigars! Perhaps my thoughts were more on romance at the time... Did Lord Byron "wax poetic" in describing such a seemingly mundane item (a cigar)? It all depends on your perspective.
At Andersen casa, Sundays are fondly referred to as "cigar Sunday," and "Sunday funday." We set aside Sunday evenings for cooking, smoking fine cigars with an appropriate adult beverage, eating, and playing games. This time has become a priority for all 7 of us, and we all look forward to the animated conversation and delicious food - like Indian-Style Chicken Sausage Burgers. Sundays, our menus are typically more ambitious, and frequently more adventuresome. Our adult kids are great "guinea pigs," and so much fun in the kitchen!
I have been wanting to experiment with my Kitchenaid sausage-making equipment. Stuffing casings is an arduous task, and casings are scarce in Las Cruces. I ended up only making sausage a couple of times a year. However, making "bulk" sausage takes far less time and energy. One added benefit of making your own sausage is your ability to control (and know) the ingredients that have gone into making it. I think we all realize that many commercially produced sausages fail to qualify as "healthy," and may even contain less-than-desirable ingredients.
So, on this lovely summer day, my sons and I decided to create our version of Chicken "Burgers" with Okra Fries. I have a really nice little cookbook called "Indian Food Made Easy" by Anjum Anand which inspired the meal. I am not one to follow recipes, but I do love them for inspiration. This book does make Indian cooking less daunting for the novice home cook. Indian food, of the many cuisines I cook, tends to be the most complicated and messy. If you're interested in exploring Indian cooking, this book is a great place to start! We looked at the recipes for Chicken Burgers and Fried Spiced Okra. We took a great deal of liberty, but I believe in crediting my inspiration. The Indian flavor profile includes spices and spice mixes (masalas), onion, garlic, lots of ginger, cilantro... to name a few. As I've mentioned before, curry powder is not Indian.
Method #1 - Grind Your own Sausage
I highly recommend making a large batch of this sausage. It is somewhat time consuming and messy; you effectively cut the time in half when you double the recipe because you will enjoy a second - or even third meal. Freeze the remaining portion in a zip bag for future use; it keeps very well. You may also choose to stuff the bulk sausage mixture into casings. Serve grilled with the yogurt on the side! This recipe will make between 4 and 5 pounds of bulk sausage.
Method #2 - Use Ground Meat (Mince)
If you do not wish to grind your own proteins, many markets carry ground chicken and ground pork. See my "cooking tips"at the end of the post for additional information. Given the low fat content of chicken breast and pork sirloin, I do add a bit of bacon. I have found that too little fat results in very dry sausage. You will still have a low fat burger. Rather than serving with a mayonnaise-based sauce as in the original recipe, I created a yogurt-based sauce. The sauce did double duty as a dip for the okra fries. Pita bread, fresh arugula, and heirloom tomato slices provided the finishing touches for this delicious and healthy burger. This recipe will make about 2 pounds - enough for about 8 burgers.
I chose to bring you 2 different methods in part because I have done my Healthy Indian-Style Chicken Sausage Burger both ways. After I started making sausage at home, I discovered a dearth of sausage recipes. I realize not many of my readers have the time and/or the desire to make sausage from scratch, but those who do, might appreciate some new recipes. I plan to continue posting new recipes that can be used either as bulk sausage or in casings. See my Southwest Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mexican Sausage if you are looking for recipes for bulk sausages...
- If you don't have the equipment to grind your own proteins, or the desire for that matter, you can substitute ground chicken, ground pork, and ground turkey in any combination.
- If you are not using a meat grinder, use a food processor to combine the cilantro, onion, garlic, and spices. Pulse to chop; do not purée. If you have time to put the mixture into a strainer and press out some of the liquid, you will have a firmer patty.
- Do not substitute ground ginger for the fresh!
- The mixture will be somewhat loose, so the patties are best cooked on a griddle (rather than a grill.) I use a cast iron griddle pan sprayed with cooking spray.
- Resist the urge to turn the patties too soon... They need to be nicely browned, and you don't want to risk the patty falling apart.