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Indian-Spiced Turkey Cheddar Burgers

Yield: Yields about 6 cups chutney

Servings: 4

These turkey burgers are unlike any you’ve ever had—absolutely exploding with flavor and masala, thanks to the addition of curry leaves, cumin, cilantro and chiles, plus a sweet-and-spicy tomato chutney topping. The burgers are also delicious made with ground white or dark meat chicken or ground pork.

This recipe is excerpted from Masala Farm. Read our review.


For the chutney

  • 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 36 fresh or 54 frozen curry leaves, roughly torn
  • 12 dried red chiles
  • 2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raw, skinned peanuts
  • 3-1/2 lb. tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 9 oz.tomato paste (or one 4.4-oz. tube double-concentrated tomato paste)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. kosher salt

For the burgers

  •  2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 8 fresh or 12 frozen curry leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1-1/4 lb. ground turkey (preferably dark meat or a combination of white and dark meats)
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely diced (seeded and veined for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 burger buns, toasted
  • Raita for serving


Make the chutney

  •  Heat the oil with the curry leaves, chiles, mustard seeds, and cumin over medium-high heat until the cumin is golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and cook until the chiles darken, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Stir in the onions and cook until they have wilted and are opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the peanuts, cook for 3 minutes, and then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, curry powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, pressing the tomatoes up against the sides of the pot to crush them.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the tomato juices are reduced and the chutney is thick and jammy, stirring often, for 20 to 35 minutes (in the summer when tomatoes are juicy, it may take longer to thicken; in the winter, it may happen more quickly). Taste, adding more salt if needed.

Make the burgers

  •  Place 1 Tbs. of the oil, curry leaves, cumin seeds, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, and cooking until the cumin seeds are fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  • Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl and gently knead in the remaining ingredients. Stir in the onion mixture and form into four patties.
  • Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel/absorbent paper. Heat over medium-high for 2 minutes, add 1 Tbs. oil, and then add the patties. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned and the center is cooked to your preferred doneness. Place the burgers on the toasted buns, dollop with raita and chutney, and serve.

    masala farm cookbook

Make Ahead Tips

The chutney can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • brer_rabbit | 07/17/2012

    Really excellent. I didn't have the curry leaves, but they were still great.

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