When my daughter was little, she used to beg her dad and I for a little brother or sister. Every night as I’d tuck her into bed, we’d say our prayers and one of hers would always be for a sibling to play with. I would feel so awful, because I knew that it would probably never happen. Struggling with seven years of infertility treatments had just about done me in. I didn’t have the strength and fortitude, of body or mind, to go through all that again!
And so, the guilt set in. And with that guilt, came a lot of frantic wheel-spinning on my part to make our home life one great, big, perpetual fun fest. Basically, I became Mini-SGCC’s number one playmate. We played Barbies. We played dress-up. We did art projects. We set up a teepee in the middle of the living room and “camped out”. Sometimes, we just ran round the house, dancing and shrieking like banshees, because we could. It was great! I got to relive my childhood all over again, only this time, I made the rules. I got to do all of the things I was never allowed to do the first time around! Occasionally, Mr. SGCC would join in, but usually he’d just roll his eyes, grab the remote and hide out in the other room.
One of the fun things we would do, usually on a weekend, is have “Theme Night”. We would pick a theme, decorate the kitchen and have a whole meal dedicated to it. Usually our themes would be based upon a particular movie that we were going to watch that night. On one particular night, we chose Disney’s  Lilo and Stitch as our theme. You remember that one. It’s about a lonely little Hawaiian girl who adopts an ugly stray “dog” that she names Stitch. The dog turns out to actually be a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth. Pandemonium ensues, until Lilo tames Stitch by teaching him the true meaning of love and family. Awww! Anyway, Lilo and Stitch led to the discovery of a recipe that has become one of our all time favorite dishes here in SGCC-land – Pacific Rim Burgers with Ginger Mayonaise.
I found this recipe years ago, while watching one of those cooking challenge shows on the Food Network . I think it was called the National Chicken Cook-Off , or something like that. I do remember that this was the winning entry. So, when I was looking for some Hawaiian-themed recipes, this one came to mind. I had bookmarked it, but had never made it before.
Holy Moly! WHAT THE HELL WAS I WAITING FOR!?!?!
Pacific Rim Burgers start with a base of ground chicken, to which you add some spicy good stuff. They are glazed with a honey-teriyaki mixture and either grilled or seared in a pan. Then, the burgers are smothered with an utterly magical ginger-based mayo, topped with crunchy, fresh cucumbers and served on toasted sesame seed buns. These burgers are so moist, flavorful and delicious that you will forget you’re eating ground chicken. Honest! I swear! You’ll never miss the beef!
When I made these burgers a few nights ago, I needed to come up with a side dish to go with them. I didn’t want anything heavy, because the burgers are so filling. I had some pre-packaged cole slaw mix in the fridge, so I decided to build on that. I rooted around the kitchen and grabbed a bunch of things that I thought would work with it. I tossed in some scallions, diced mango and pineapple, thinly sliced kumquats and some garlic. I dressed it with a bottled ginger slaw dressing  from the supermarket, squeezed in a little lime juice and squirted a generous blob of Sriracha sauce in it too. What I ended up with was a fabulously sweet and spicy cole slaw that really knocked our socks off. I had to race to write down what I had done to ensure that I could make it again.
By the way, my daughter is fourteen now, and we still enjoy having “Theme Night”. The movies we choose now are a little more sophisticated, but we still have the same silly, goofy fun. Oh, and Mini-SGCC has finally realized that being an only child has its advantages. You get lots more stuff and you don’t have to share!
Pacific Rim Burgers with Ginger Mayonnaise
Adapted from Kristine Snyder and The Food Network
- 1 1/4 pounds ground chicken 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, minced (I use 2 cloves.)
- 1 teaspoon Asian hot chili sauce (I use Sambal Oelek and add 2 teasoons!)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup bottled teriyaki glaze
- 4 teaspoons honey (I use 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for hands
- 4 sesame buns, split and toasted
- 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly
- Ginger Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, panko, egg, green onions, chopped cilantro, garlic, chili sauce, and salt. With oiled hands, form mixture into 4 patties.
In a small bowl, mix together the teriyaki glaze and honey. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken patties and cook on both sides, brushing each side with the teriyaki-honey mixture, about 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through. (SGCC Note: I find that the glaze sometimes starts to burn before the burgers are cooked through, so I sear the burgers and finish them off for 10 minutes in a 400 degrees F. oven)
Place burgers on toasted buns and top with cucumber and Ginger Mayonnaise. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and cucumber slices.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Kitchen Sink Asian Slaw
- 4 cups pre-packaged cole slaw mix
- 3 scallions, finely sliced
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup diced mango
- 1/2 cup thinly slicd kumquats
- 1 cup ginger slaw dressing
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce to taste
- chopped cilantro for garnish
Mix first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix dressing and lime juice together. Pour over slaw and toss. Stir in Sriracha sauce.
If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
Chicken Apple Bacon Burgers from Culinary in the Country 
Ultimate Veggie Burger from 101 Cookbooks 
Spicy Grilled Turkey Burger with Cole Slaw from Simply Recipes 
Cindy’s Famous Duck Burgers from Married…with Dinner 
Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayonaise from Family Style Food 
Asian Salmon Burgers from Steamy Kitchen