Spiced Chicken burger with Coconut Rice and Beans and Mango Chutney
I’m back from vacation and ready to make some burgers! I did get the chance, while we were in Michigan, to enjoy some classic sliders at Green’s – tastes like childhood. If you’re ever at 10 Mile and Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, check them out – still the best greasy slider EVER! Ok, enough of that, back to the business at hand…
Our next stop on this adventure is Guyana. It’s another beautiful Latin American country. Guyana borders Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean. Although it’s on mainland South America, it is considered part of the Caribbean based on having a culture and history common to the Caribbean. The country was originally inhabited by Amerindians then it was “discovered” by the Dutch in the 16th century.
The Dutch brought in slaves and built an economy based on sugarcane and the production of sugar, molasses and rum. In the late 1700s, the territory changed hands between the Dutch, British and French. The British took control in 1796, then it went back to the Dutch and finally the British again in 1814. In 1831 it was established as British Guyana and remain such for 130 years. In 1838, the British emancipated the slaves – but they still needed laborers for the sugar cane fields. So, they brought workers from Madeira, Portugal, India and China. Those folks brought their own culinary traditions and flavor preferences that have helped shaped modern Guyanese food.
Agriculture is a major driver of the Guyanese economy, but Guyana is still a relatively poor country. Like so many poor country people depend on “ground provisions” root vegetables and fruits. Beans are an important protein source since meat is expensive. Like so many Caribbean countries, they Guyanese eat lots of fruit, hot peppers, okra, rice and beans and a dish called “pepper pot”. But, remember those workers that came over in the 1800s? Well they are what made this a really interesting country to work on. The culture here is a mixture of influences, so I decided to lean into that mixture.
I started with mango chutney. I don’t know about you, but I love mango chutney and it is common in Guyana. Being the crazy woman that I am, I thought I would try making a home made mango chutney – it takes a lot of ingredients!
I also bought three jarred mango chutneys (I’m lucky to live in a fairly multicultural area and we have lots of choices). All three of the jarred sauces were yummy, some spicier than others, but all good. I also made my own chutney and it was good, but not better than the stuff in the jars. So I tossed the chutney recipe and am telling you to find a jar, open it and enjoy.
The other challenge was Garam Masala. This is a spice blend that is common in Indian cooking – my recipe can be found in my Bangladesh burger recipe. If you have your own recipe, use that. You can also buy a blend from any good spice store. It is all your choice, but the blend that you use will affect your flavors, so choose a blend you like.
Rice and beans are so common in Guyana that it was the obvious choice for the starch. To give the rice an incredibly buttery texture and rich creamy taste, I made it with coconut milk instead of water – Paul swears this is one of his favorite of my “inventions”. No, I didn’t invent the idea, but I’ll take the compliment since I was smart enough to use the idea.
For the protein I chose chicken because it is a cheap protein and is one of the more commonly found in Guyana. Add some more garam masala and coconut milk just ties the whole dish together.
So, maybe I went too far, the end result doesn’t have much Caribbean flavor, it’s really far more Indian. But I don’t really care, it is amazing! I love the sweet and spicy chutney with the savory roast-like flavor of the chicken and silky creamy rice and beans with a little habenero kick – it’s making me hungry just writing this!
This is an easy burger to make and was big hit in our house. I recommend a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to serve with it. Enjoy!
1¼ pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 Tablespoon garam masala
5 Tablespoons coconut milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons coconut milk (save the rest for the rice and beans recipe)
Coconut Rice and Beans (recipe below)
Flaked coconut (optional)
Chop chicken into chunks. Put the chicken, garam masala, coconut milk and salt into a glass dish and marinate at room temperature for one hour.
Grind the chicken and form into four patties. Heat coconut oil in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. When oil is hot add the patties and cook for four minutes then turn and cook until center reaches 165˚F.
Serve the burgers on top of the Coconut Rice and Beans and then top with 1-2 Tablespoons of chutney and some coconut flakes.
Coconut Rice and Beans
1 can of pigeon peas or black eyed peas (15.5. ounces), rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups of long grained white rice
1 ½ cups coconut milk (just use the remainder of the can from the marinade recipe)
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 habenero halved and seeded
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Remove the habenero pieces and fluff the rice before serving.
If you’re looking for another burger like this one, well there isn’t one! :) But you may enjoy the Indian Burger as a vegetarian option that has some similar flavors, or the Afghanistan Burger which has different flavors but combines the sweet and savory in a similar way.
©Copyright 2012 Linda Monach