A Bite Inspired by… Grocery Shopping:
Who doesn’t love a flavorful, delicious burger? This unique Thai twist on a chicken burger is a flavor bomb filled with bold ingredients like Thai basil and red chili then topped with an addicting Sriracha Sesame Mayo (you’ll want to make extra sauce and spread it on EVERYTHING!) This amazing dish was inspired by, believe it or not, grocery shopping! Think that grocery shopping is just a mundane, uninspiring, blehhh kind of task? Come with me on my grocery shopping adventure and get a peek into my life as a food blogger. You’ll never look at grocery shopping in the same boring way ever again! P.S. This burger recipe includes a Whole30/Paleo option too! Check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe card for all the details!
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We all have to eat, right? So, inevitably, that means we all have to grocery shop. As a food blogger, I definitely go to the grocery store more than the average person—sometimes up to 6 or 7 times a week! I practically live at my local Whole Foods. Most of the employees there know my name and they’re super nice to me, always giving me recommendations and pointing me to the sale items. This is likely because they feel sorry for the lame girl who has nothing better to do than spend Friday night at the grocery store. But, the truth is, I actually LOVE going grocery shopping. It provides me with new inspiration! I’m like a kid in a candy store (somewhat literally—they do sell candy there 😉) scurrying around the store looking for new and fun ingredients to experiment with.
When I become inspired and formulate a new recipe, I usually list out the basic ingredients I want to work with first. The inspiration gives me the recipe idea and then I usually come up with some of the ingredients once I’m at the store based on what’s fresh and seasonal. It’s a bit of a mixed bag—there are some ingredients that I absolutely want in my recipe and others that I am flexible on.
To give you a better idea of what a trip to the grocery store is like for a food blogger (or for this food blogger, at least), I decided to let you in on how grocery shopping went for a particular recipe, Thai-Style Chicken Burgers with Sriracha Sesame Mayo. Every trip to the grocery store is honestly an adventure for me. Don’t believe me? Here it goes:
Step 1: I become inspired: Okay, so duh. This is how all my recipes start. It’s literally the cornerstone of my blog: I become inspired by something, that inspiration fuels a new recipe idea, and then I share that inspiration with others, so they can become inspired too. In this particular case, I was eating takeout from my local Thai place, when I came up with an idea for a Thai-inspired burger recipe I wanted to try out. The dish I had from the restaurant was spicy minced chicken with Thai basil and chili peppers. I thought it might be fun to re-create the dish in the form of a delicious, flavorful Thai-Style turkey burger. I brainstormed my ingredients, listed them out, and headed to the store.
Step 2: I get to the store and they’re missing ingredients: Inevitably, the grocery store is always out of something. The more you feel like you MUST have a certain ingredient, the more likely they are to be out of it. Honestly, it’s Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong). Now, this can go two ways. Sometimes they’re out of an item and I end up discovering something else that actually works BETTER than my original ingredient idea. This is “grocery store inspiration” at its finest. Other times, I am completely attached to an ingredient that is central to the dish and I’ll go to any length to get it. Both of these scenarios happened to me with this dish.
Scenario #1: A missing ingredient actually made my dish better: When I got to the store to shop for my Thai turkey burger ingredients, I went straight for the meat counter to pick up the ground turkey. SURPRISE! The guy tells me he just sold his last pound to that lady over there. I turn to look at her and see that she’s wearing a sweatshirt from my rival university. Great, now there’s an arch villain involved in my grocery store adventure (just kidding—I’m sure she’s a very nice lady). I have two choices here: steal the ground turkey out of her cart and run OR try to adapt. Given that I’m not a crazy person, I decided to go with the latter choice. The guy at the counter tells me they have freshly ground chicken breast. Actually, that works better than turkey! My original dish at the Thai place was chicken anyway, so why not make a chicken burger? Thank you, woman-who-took-the-last-pound-of-ground-turkey—you are no longer my nemesis. See? Grocery stores are an inspiring place, you guys. I thought I had all my ingredients picked out, and then the grocery store inspired me to try something new that turned out even better!
Scenario #2: A missing ingredient will ruin my dish, so I have to find it at any cost: I had my ground chicken breast and all the other ingredients for my recipe. Now, all I needed was fresh chives. I was set on having chives in this dish early on because of their fresh, spring flavor, so I made my way to the fresh herb section and, of course, the only herb they were out of was chives. I asked the produce guy (his name is Carl and he’s AWESOME!) and he said they hadn’t had fresh chives for a week. Sigh. Lucky for me, there are four other grocery stores in my neighborhood. That’s right, folks. We have five grocery stores within a 3-mile radius of one another, but we don’t have a movie theater. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. But that’s a song for another time. Anyway, I drove to the next grocery store. They’re also out of fresh chives. The guy working there doesn’t even know what a chive is. Ugh. Next store, also out of fresh chives. Is there a chive shortage or something? Finally, lucky store number four, I finally find a slightly bent up package of chives behind the rosemary. VICTORY!
Step 3: I test out the recipe and tweak it
I get home and test out the recipe. Sometimes, the recipe is perfect and all I have to do is make it again and take the pictures. Other times, the recipe needs some minor tweaks. Every once in a while, a recipe needs a major overhaul. Regardless, I always have to go back to the grocery store a second time, so I can make the dish again, perfect it, and photograph it.
Luckily, this particular recipe turned out delicious on my first try. The fresh Thai basil was so fragrant and the chili pepper added a nice level of spice. I used a little bit of fish sauce to intensify the flavor and add some delicious umami. Red Boat Fish Sauce is my favorite brand because the ingredients are very pure, making it Whole30 and Paleo compliant. Since I was able to get Red Boat Fish Sauce at Whole Foods, I decided to add a Whole30/Paleo option to my recipe. This burger is already healthy and doesn’t contain any breadcrumbs, so a Whole30/Paleo option works well here. Thank you Whole Foods for more inspiration. I used granulated onion and granulated garlic for this dish to make my meat extra flavorful. I prefer granulated onion and garlic over garlic and onion powder because the coarser texture gives a bolder taste. Perfect! The Sriracha mayonnaise (with the chives I worked so hard to get) tasted amazing and added some nice moisture to the burger. I would put this Sriracha mayo on anything—SO GOOD! This burger was an absolute flavor bomb. I was stoked!
The only tweaks I decided to make were choosing a whole wheat bun over a regular bun (I felt that the whole wheat flavors worked better with the chicken) and adding black sesame seeds to the Sriracha mayo for more texture and flavor.
Step 4: I go back to the store for more ingredients
I’ve made my recipe, gotten the kinks out, and now it’s time to make it again for the blog. Back to the store—repeat step 2.
See? Grocery shopping can be very… inspiring, annoying, exhausting, exciting…You name it! This just goes to show that any boring, old errand can become an inspiring one, if you look at it with a fresh perspective. This Thai-Style Chicken Burger is one of the most flavorful, delicious burgers I’ve ever had. While in a way, the inspiration for this recipe was my Thai takeout meal, I certainly wouldn’t have gotten quite the same result, if I just got my groceries delivered. My (multiple) trips to the grocery store shaped this recipe. It’s all part of the job, folks! Hope you enjoy!
- For the burgers:
- 1 lb ground chicken breast (98% percent lean/2 % fat)
- 3 tablespoons fresh Thai basil, chopped small
- 1 teaspoon fresh Thai chili, finely minced (this amount of chili makes the burger "medium-spicy"; feel free to adjust for your tastes!)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- For the mayonnaise:
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- ½ teaspoon fresh chives, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 4 whole wheat buns
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- Put ground chicken in a large bowl. Add basil, chili, fish sauce, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Mix well with your hands until thoroughly combined.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat.
- With clean hands, form 4 equal-sized patties. Brush both sides of each burger with oil.
- Once the grill is hot, carefully place burgers on the grill. Make sure they aren’t touching.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. If using a meat thermometer, the burgers should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- While the burgers are cooking, make the spicy mayonnaise. Add all mayonnaise ingredients into a small bowl and mix well.
- Spread about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise onto each top bun. Put a piece of lettuce on the bottom bun with the burger on top. Serve with extra Sriracha on the side, if desired. Enjoy!
If you can’t find Thai basil or Thai chili pepper, feel free to use regular basil and any red chili pepper with a medium spice level (serrano peppers work well). Also, feel free to substitute the black sesame seeds for regular ones.
Feel free to use onion and garlic powder in this recipe, instead of granulated onion and garlic. The flavors are the same, I just prefer the coarser texture of granulated onion and garlic for burgers.