After five days of beef, I could feel myself turning into a cow. So despite the fact that the calendar said today was White Manna Burger Day, not-beef would be today's rule. The calendar is quickly becoming less a calendar and more a list of burgers to make.
Today's two alternative options were Japanese inspired. The burgers would be soy-something or teriyaki-something. Since the grocery didn't have a good selection of fresh fish, chicken was the winner. And even before we could even start with the chickens, I felt a light soup would be a good pre-dinner treat.
I made a miso soup with a baby spinach salad and wasabi vinaigrette. We started with a good dashi broth, and some light yellow miso. To this, we added a block of tofu in each bowl, topped with the greens. The wasabi vinaigrette was simple to make: 1.5 teaspoons soy sauce, 1.5 teaspoons wasabi powder, 1.5 teaspoons sugar, 1.5 teaspoons sake and 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions.
The burger was inspired by this recipe.
Ingredients for burgers:
3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-sized strips
8 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. mirin
4 tbsp. sake
Some corn flour
I mixed together the soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake, marinating the chicken in this for at least half an hour. When it is done, Andrea minced her chicken a little more finely (I didn't, saying I wanted larger chunks). The chicken was then scooped up and formed into little patties, which are then powdered with corn flour on both sides to help give them shape.
Ingredients for buns:
2 cups rice
4 cups water
strips of nori
black sesame seeds
The rice is steamed until soft and sticky. Using plastic wrap, we shaped the rice into little buns. A light sprinkling of black sesame seeds to top the buns gave them a little color and depth. Finally, the buns are wrapped with a piece of nori to keep them from falling apart.
The chicken is sauteed on a griddle for about 8 minutes per side (until a brown crust forms). After flipping the chicken, some of the marinade is poured onto the patties to give them more oomph.
When the chicken burgers are ready, they are topped with some more spinach, maybe some scallions, and a little leftover wasabi vinaigrette from the soup.
So the purists might say that this was not a burger. We did apply the definition of burger a little more loosely. But I do believe these were chicken burgers-- they're certainly more burger than some of the strange recipes I've found out there that took slabs of whatever meat, unchopped, placed in between pieces of bread and called burgers. A tofu burger is not a square of tofu in a hamburger bun, no.
The burgers were really delicious. The teriyaki sauce went very well with the rice buns. Chicken teriyaki and rice are made for each other-- just like me and burger. The only real problem was that the rice buns were a little bit sticky, which made turning doorknobs challenging after eating.
For our next rice-bun experiment, we will try making onigiri yaki (roasted rice balls).