Thai Tuna Football Burgers

Well, meeting #1 was postponed yesterday so I treated myself to a laundry marathon and an extra day of cooking!  This recipe for Thai-style Tuna Burgers is from an issue of Better Homes and Gardens, May, 2013.  I’ve never thought about tuna as being a burger– steaks, yes. Salad, of course!  But this was a new idea, which is probably why I saved the recipe in the first place.

Thai-Style Tuna Burger


1/3 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 eggs, beaten

1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce)
(2) 5 ounce cans wild albacore tuna or solid white albacore tuna in water*
1/4 cup very thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 small ciabatta buns, halved and toasted

1/3 cup pea shoots or micro greens
2 miniature sweet peppers, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and ginger; transfer 2 Tbsp. to a large bowl. Cover remaining mayonnaise mixture and chill. To the same large bowl add eggs, panko, fish sauce, and Asian chili sauce. Flake tuna and add to bowl. Add celery and green onion and stir. Let stand 10 minutes. With wet hands, shape tuna mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.

Place tuna patties on a greased or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until done (160 degrees F).

To serve, spread ciabatta halves with remaining mayonnaise mixture. Add a tuna patty to bottom half of each bun, bottom side up. Top with pea shoots or micro-greens, thinly sliced peppers, and top buns. Makes 4 servings.

From the Test Kitchen

*Wild Planet tuna does not need to be drained. If using a brand packed in oil or water, drain tuna.

Nutrition Facts (Thai-Style Tuna Burger)

          Per serving:     391 calories
          18 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 5 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat),
          118 mg cholesterol   1066 mg sodium   25 g carb   2 g fiber   2 g sugar
        28 g protein (Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet)


Since I had already chopped the green onions and celery Sunday (when I made the Creole dish), the prep for this was really quick.  I didn’t have quite enough green onion, so I added some fresh chives to make up the difference.   We don’t have Sriracha, but we do have Thai red curry paste, so I substituted one tablespoon of that in place of the Sriracha.  I also couldn’t locate any panko bread crumbs in my pantry, so I used up some of my stash of homemade bread crumbs.  I rehydrated some refrigerated ginger I’d previously minced and neglected to cover, made the mayo, tossed everything else in the bowl, and started a load of laundry while the 10 minute standing time ticked by.  The mixture looked a little dry–probably because of my finely ground breadcrumbs– and I toyed with throwing some additional egg white in there, but decided to leave it.

The football shape came about because our sandwich buns (clean out the freezer whenever possible) were mini-Italian rolls, not because NFL town was in Chicago this weekend (the rolls promptly fell over as soon as the burgers sat on them, hence, the tilted burger picture).  It took about 15 minutes for the burgers to reach 160º, but my oven was still preheating (425º) when I put the baking sheet in the oven.  We didn’t have microgreens or pea shoots, so I tore up some cilantro and we used that as the garnish.

Verdict:  Tasty, but nothing stood out to make these tuna burgers “Thai.”  The ginger was very evident, but the spice was completely lacking.  I would consider putting the chili paste in the mayo as well as in the burger mixture next time.  I think a generous squeeze of lime and some grated carrot in the mix would also brighten the flavor and improve the Thai profile.  Husband said he didn’t use enough of the mayo, and agreed about the spice level.  The texture wasn’t too dry or too wet– at least using the wrong breadcrumbs didn’t make the burgers crumbly or keep them from sticking together.  If I didn’t have panko in the future, I still might back off the regular breadcrumbs a little (maybe 3/4 cup instead of a cup).  We both really liked this meal, but would definitely tinker with the ingredients the next time we make it.


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