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~ Thai Turkey Patties & w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~

IMG_8419Americans do not require an excuse to indulge in a thick, juicy 'burger, complete with a slathering of sauce, and/or few savory toppings served on the perfect bun.  We will hike, bike or drive to our favorite joint to eat one.  We've declared May, National Burger Month, and, May 28th, National Burger Day.  We adore them.  That said, have you ever wondered:  when does a burger turn into a patty?  What's the difference between a patty and a cake?  Aren't they all one-and-the same?  In my opinion (and probably yours too), it depends where you grew up.  In my neck of the woods, when it comes to this type of technical culinary trivia, folks don't play burger patty-cake, they choose their words carefully.  Here's my understanding (as per my dad):  

IMG_8160The word 'burger is a carnivorous American slang term that refers to the hamburger, which was originally made of ground beef. Herbivores (vegetarians and vegans) have their own non-meat concoctions which they refer to as 'burgers, and, while I have no ax to grind with them, past that mention, I have no more to say about that.  To the average American, the word 'burger, implies ground meat.  

IMG_8336The way my people differentiate a burger, from a patty, from a cake, verbalizes like this:  A "burger" is ground meat or poultry, shaped into a disc, cooked, and placed on a round bun to eat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey).  A "patty" is a burger that is eaten with a knife and fork, or, placed between two square slices of bread to eat (patty-melt-style).  A "cake" refers to burgers and patties made with delicate fish, seafood or vegetables and can be eaten like a burger or a patty (fish, crab, potato, rice cakes).  In the case of vegetables, cakes can be served as a side-dish too.

IMG_8164 IMG_8235I love it when one basic recipe can be prepared two or three ways, and, it has nothing to do with leftovers. Today, I am using the meat mixture for ~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~ to make pan-fried patties.  When the patties come out of the skillet I'll be using their flavorful  drippings to make a creamy cilantro-laced coconut IMG_8167sauce full of bold Thai flavors.

For the patty mixture:

2  pounds ground turkey (90/10)

1 1/2  cups thinly-sliced green onions (white and light green part)

1  cup chopped cilantro

1  extra-large egg

1  tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1  tablespoon Thai seasoning soy

1  tablespoon Sriracha hot chili IMG_8172sauce, more or less, to taste

1  teaspoon ground ginger

~ Step 1.  Prep and place all ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, 2-3 hours, or, as long as 5-6 hours. Note:  I experimented with adding minced, Thai chile peppers and fresh ginger in place of the Sriracha sauce and ground ginger.  The result was less than desirable. After frying, the heat and spice were not evenly distributed throughout.

6a0120a8551282970b014e897bb438970dFor the creamy coconut sauce:

1  13 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

2  tablespoons lime juice

2  tablespoons Thai fish sauce

2  tablespoons Thai soy sauce

1  tablespoon sesame oil

2  tablespoons palm sugar, or light brown sugar

1  tablespoon Wondra flour

IMG_82701  cup minced cilantro

For the accompaniments:


3  cups of ~ My Sweet 'n Spicy Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~, which you can find in Categories 1, 4, 8 or 10 or, your favorite store-bought brand

4  cups uncooked Jasmine rice 

1  cup lightly-toasted, chopped cashews, for garnish

6a0120a8551282970b0154333c31d8970c~ Step 2.  While patty mixture is chilling, if preparing salsa from scratch, make it and chill it too.

~ Step 3.  Place ingredients for sauce in food processor fitted with a steel blade & process until smooth, 20 seconds. Don't be inclined to adjust the seasoning of this subtle-flavored sauce.  When it mixes with the pan drippings, the flavor is going to dance in your mouth!

IMG_8275~ Step 4. Roast cashews in a 350 degree oven 12-15 minutes, stopping to stir about every 5 minutes throughout the process. Cool and coarsely chop cashews.

~ Step 5.  On the stovetop or in an electric rice steamer (my favorite way), cook or steam the rice.

IMG_8293 IMG_8281Note:  Now that the hard work is done and everything is in place, it's time to fry patties and make sauce!

~ Step 6.  In a 14" nonstick skillet, heat about 1/8" of peanut oil over medium-high.  Using a 2 1/2" ice cream scoop as a measure, IMG_8302arrange 14 scoops of turkey mixture in the hot pan.  Note:  If you are using a smaller skillet, you will have to fry the patties in two batches.

IMG_8301Using your fingertips, press each ball into a 3/4" patty.

Fry patties until golden brown on both sides, turning only once, about 7-8 minutes per side.

IMG_8305 IMG_8314~ Step 7. Turn heat off.  Transfer patties to a large plate or platter, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.

IMG_8356~ Step 8. Reheat pan drippings over medium-high heat IMG_8371until just starting to sizzle.  Lower heat to medium then add all of the sauce mixture all at once.  Give the mixture a thorough stir.

IMG_8368Adjust heat to a steady simmer and continue to cook until nicely-thickened, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove sauce from heat.

Something tells me you can take it and plate it from here...

IMG_8405... when all-American poultry meets Thai flavor -- gobble, gobble!

IMG_8428Thai Turkey Patties with Creamy Coconut Sauce:  Recipe Yields 14 patties, 2 cups of sauce and 8 cups of steamed rice, or, 6-8 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; small baking pan; electric rice steamer; 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop; 14" skillet, preferably nonstick; spatula; aluminum foil

6a0120a8551282970b019103473811970cCook's Note: Occasionally, instead of serving these patties on a bed of steamed rice, I serve them with my really easy-to-make ~ Thai-Style Broccoli & Jasmine Rice Patty-Cakes ~.  You can find this fun-to-eat side-dish recipe in Categories 4, 13, 14 or 20.  They can be prepared ahead-of-time and are a perfect complement to all sorts of Thai-Asian meals!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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