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.
In the Grinder
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cubed
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless lean pork, trimmed and cubed (loin, tenderloin, sirloin)
- 6 slices bacon, cut in several pieces, fat rendered
- 2 bunches cilantro, rinsed, stems removed at below the base of the leaves
- 3 to 4 inches fresh ginger, scraped and cut in small pieces
- 1 large or 2 smaller onions, cut in chunks
- 4 jalapenos, more or less to taste, stemmed, seeded, cut in chunks
In the Mixing Bowl
- 3 slices of bread, torn in pieces, pulsed in a processor (or about 1 cup bread crumbs)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garam or chaat masala
- 3 teaspoons salt
- several grinds pepper
- bulk sausage, formed into patties
- flatbread, ie. naan, pita
- sliced tomatoes
- arugula or other leafy greens
- Lemon Herb Yogurt (see notes)
- Using the coarse grinder attachment on your Kitchenaid mixer, or equivalent, feed the cubes of pork and chicken through the chute. Press firmly with the tool, but do not force. Alternate pork and chicken with the bacon pieces and fat scraped from the saute pan.
- Run all the proteins through the grinder a second time. This time through, alternate with onion, ginger, jalapeno, and cilantro.
- Place the ground ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
The Mixing Bowl
- Add the ingredients bread crumbs through pepper to the ground ingredients. Using both hands, mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
- Allowing about 6 ounces per patty, form desired number of patties. Remaining sausage can be stored in a zip bag in the freezer for another meal.
- In a heavy saute pan coated with cooking spray, carefully place your patties on medium high heat. When the patties begin to cook quickly, lower heat to medium. Resist the urge to turn until the patties are cooked nearly halfway through the thickness of the patties.
- Carefully turn the patties. Continue cooking until they are cooked all the way through. Insert a knife in the center if you are uncertain.
- Slice flat bread rounds in half. On the bottom half, spread with yogurt. Place a patty on top carefully. Cover patty with a tomato slice, a handful of arugula, and a generous drizzle of yogurt sauce. Top with the remaining pita half.
Serve with Okra "Fries" for a truly amazing meal!
I love to make my own pita bread, but they will add another time-consuming element to the meal. I have found many in-store bakeries now carry naan (Indian flatbread). This is a perfect choice for this burger!
Nutritional statistics are approximate, and for the patty only.
Chaat masala is an Indian spice mix with a lengthy list of ingredients. It is available in Indian markets and on Amazon. You may substitute a mixture of about 1/4 teaspoon each cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, and garam masala. The flavor will be good but not quite the same. Toast the seeds in a dry pan and grind or use a mortar and pestle, then add to the garam masala and combine with the other ingredients.
Lemon Herb Yogurt: Combine 1 cup plain greek yogurt with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, parsley.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal) based on 16 servings using chicken breast, lean pork loin, and 6 slices of bacon: 250 calories per patty; 31 g protein; 8 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat. PATTY ONLY!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250 Total Fat: 9g Carbohydrates: 8g Protein: 31g
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…
- 1 bunch cilantro rinsed, and dried, cut at the base of leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (or 1-2" scraped and cut in chunks
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 2 jalapenos, or to taste
- 2 lbs ground meat, see notes
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp chaat or garam masala
- 1/2 cup panko or other bread crumbs
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine cilantro, ginger, onion, and jalapenos. Pulse several times until finely minced but not pureed. Drain through a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the liquid. (This step yields a firmer sausage and better result).
- Add the cilantro mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ground meat, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cumin, masala, salt, and pepper.
- Get your hands into the mixture until well combined! No spoons or processing please!
- Form into patties. We stick to 4-6 ounces per serving, and I usually get my scale out...
- Spray your pan with non-stick spray. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until nicely browned on first side. Careful flip. Continue cooking until cooked through. This process requires 10-15 depending on thickness.
- Serve on flatbread with yogurt (recipe below), sliced tomatoes, and fresh leafy greens. Enjoy!
Ground chicken and turkey may be a little dry by themselves. When I grind the meat, I use a 1:1 ratio of chicken breast and pork loin (which has a bit of fat). When I'm using pre-ground meat, I usually select ground chicken thighs, or do a 1:1 ratio of ground chicken or turkey breast to ground pork.
This recipe will yield at least 2 pounds of sausage. That should translate into 8-10 burgers or sausage links if you choose to stuff casings.
Freeze leftovers in a zip bag, and thaw for another meal or two!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal) based on 6 servings using 2 pounds ground chicken thigh meat: 225 calories per patty; 31 g protein; 8 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat. PATTY ONLY!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225 Total Fat: 9g Carbohydrates: 8g Protein: 31g
- 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.