Sometimes people are weird about fusion food. I think it stems from a time when fusion meant foods that went together that just didn’t make sense. Now, I feel like all the best food is fusion, even if it isn’t called fusion. Think Momofuku, Umami Burger, or Kogi. At fusion’s best, it is a mix of what’s awesome about one culture, combined with something ultimately delicious from another. Some of my favorite food is fusion, although I hesitate to call it that.
Banh mi burgers aren’t anything new, at least not around here. The things that make a banh mi a banh mi (pickles, pate, cilantro, jalapeños) are perfect on burgers. Then again, what is a banh mi anyway? Banh mi happens to be a kind of fusion food of it’s own – created when French people brought baguettes to Vietnam. They adapted bread recipes, filled them with traditional meats and herbs and boom: banh mi were born.
I had to think for a while about what I should call this burger. Technically, banh mi means bread, so calling it a Banh Mi Turkey Burger means I’m calling it a “bread turkey burger.” It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…Nonetheless, this turkey burger is absolutely delicious – it’s the best of many worlds: the burger side is adamantly American, the daikon and carrot pickles are proudly Vietnamese, and it’s even healthy, thanks to the Plainville Farms ground turkey.
I might be one of the few people who really love turkey burgers. Mike isn’t really a fan, he thinks turkey doesn’t hold a candle to beef. I was pretty confident that I’d get to polish off the whole batch, but then, Mike reluctantly tried one. Surprise, surprise, he actually really liked it – they were just that delicious. So much so that he had ALL of the sliders, minus the two that I smartly ate before he decided to give them a go.
I hope you’ve been grilling up a storm now that we’re in the thick of summer. And I hope you grill up some of these turkey banh mi sliders!
Turkey Banh Mi Sliders
makes 6 sliders
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1 cup julienned daikon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 lb ground turkey (I used Plainville Farms Turkey)
- 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass, about 1 stalk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 6 slider buns, lightly toasted
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 jalapeños, sliced
- kewpie mayo, to taste
Make the pickles: put the carrots and daikon into a bowl and sprinkle on the salt and sugar. After 15 minutes, rinse off the pickles, drain well and place in the fridge until ready to assemble.
In a bowl, throughly mix the turkey, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce and pepper. Divide evenly into 6 patties and gently shape.
Heat your barbecue to medium high heat. Brush the grill with oil and grill for 5-6 minutes, flip and grill for another 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through (165°F).
Build your burger: smear a bit of mayo on the top and bottom bun. Top with a turkey patty, slices of jalapeno, the carrot and daikon pickles, cilantro, and the top bun. Enjoy!