These little chicken burgers were not supposed to be anything remotely Asian. I got the foundation of the recipe while confiding in a complete stranger at the local kosher butcher.
“My son is sick of the usual chicken,” I said, “so I am going to try giving him chicken meatballs.”
“Oh,” she offered, “I have a recipe from my grandmother that you could try. You mix ground chicken with grated carrot and grated onion, a little matzoh meal, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper . . . . Then you fry them or bake them. No sauce.”
“Really? So how much matzoh meal? How much of the other ingredients?”
She turned to her elderly mother: “Ma, how much matzoh meal? Half a cup? Yes, that sounds right. To a pound of chicken, plus a whole carrot and a whole onion.”
Okay, I was game. I made the chicken burgers, but they were a little bland by themselves. Then it occurred to me that the burgers were kind of like falshe (mock gefilte fish made with chicken instead of fish). Maybe, I thought, they would be good with horseradish or wasabi.
I decided to go Asian and serve the burgers with wasabi sauce and a salad topped with a carrot ginger dressing. The result was such a huge success that when I made the burgers again, I tweaked the recipe with a little added soy sauce and honey.
Asian Chicken Sliders
1 pound ground chicken
1 tsp. garlic powder, or 1 extra-large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. onion powder (optional)
1 onion, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbl. soy sauce
1/2 cup matzoh meal
1 egg, optional
Combine everything. Make 8-9 patties. Fry, bake or grill until cooked through. Serve with wasabi sauce (I used the Gold’s squeeze bottle of wasabi sauce.)
Japanese Restaurant Salad Carrot Ginger Dressing
Adapted from Chef Tadashi Ono, Saveur Magazine. Other recipes for Japanese carrot dressing call for miso, but this recipe gives good results using soy sauce.
3-4 Tbl. oil (start with less and add more if needed)
2 Tbl. rice wine vinegar (actually, I used cooking sherry and it was delicious)
1 Tbl. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. honey (original recipe called for sugar)
2 ounces carrot (1 medium)
1 1/2 ounces onion (1 very small, or use a large shallot)
1/2 ounce ginger, or about 1″ piece (original recipe called for much less, but more is better, I think)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sesame oil (not in original recipe, but I added it in anyway)
Process everything until smooth in small food processor. Serve over romaine lettuce.