These Spicy Cumin Turkey Burgers are topped with a delicious soy and tahini sauce and piled high with fresh cilantro, green onions and chili.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Turkey Farmers of Canada. All images and opinions expressed are solely my own.
I’m excited to share my newest recipe in partnership with the Turkey Farmers of Canada.
I always have ground turkey in my freezer. The lean meat takes on flavour readily, and it’s easy to work with.
Now that we’re well into summer, I’ve got burgers on the brain. But not any regular burgers.
These are loosely inspired Sichuan-style Spicy Cumin Turkey Burgers that are full of punchy flavour.
Where I got my inspiration from
I was inspired by “rou jia mou,” which is a common street food that originated in Northwestern China.
Rou jia mou is basically a Chinese “hamburger” with flavoured meat in a bun.
Regional meat variations
Typically, you’ll find a stewed or braised pork or cumin lamb.
Stewed pork is common throughout China.
Whereas in Muslim areas such as Xi’an, you’ll generally find lamb or beef.
The meat is braised for a long period of time with aromatics.
Then, it’s shredded or chopped up, served on a bun with sauce and herbs. It’s similar to the American concept of “sloppy joes.”
Flavouring the turkey burgers
For this recipe, I went with ground turkey, which is not typical for rou jia mo.
However, this is an easy recipe that delivers an amazing flavour and taste, without the hassle of braising for long periods of time. Or the mess of shredding meat.
In fact, this burger stays true to its name, with easy-to-make, mouthwatering turkey patties.
The turkey meat is spiced with Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, and various spices that give it its complex flavour.
Then, the patties are oven-baked for about 15 minutes.
Making the burger buns
These buns are not your stereotypical bun. They are flatter and wider than the American burger bun. Kind of similar to an English muffin.
We’ll start with making the dough, which has baking powder as well as yeast, which speeds up the proofing time.
Then, knead the dough until nice and shiny.
Once the dough is made, we’ll shape and cook them, which is where things are different than your normal burger buns.
Shaping the buns
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions
- Roll them into a log
- Coil them up into a circle and
The technique is similar to making Green Onion Pancakes.
The dough rests for 20 minutes and then it’s time to cook the buns.
Cooking the buns
The easiest way to cook the buns is on a flat top griddle. You can make the entire batch of 6 in one go. However, you can use a frying pan as an alternative.
The process for cooking the buns is a little unusual.
Once the buns are on the griddle (or frying pan), they are pressed down (with another baking sheet, or pot), and covered to steam/cook for 5 minutes.
Flip the buns and continue to cook another 5 minutes.
A note on ingredients
You can find most of the ingredients for this recipe at major supermarkets.
Ingredients such as soy sauce, shaoxing wine, Sichuan peppercorns, and 5-spice powder are readily found at Asian grocery stores.
Flavourful, fresh & delicious
These Spicy Cumin Turkey Burgers are unlike any burger you’ll try.
They’re topped with a delicious soy and tahini sauce (made with the oven-baked turkey patty drippings) and piled high with fresh cilantro, green onions and chili.
If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:
Be sure to check out the Turkey Farmers of Canada for more turkey recipes.
Let me know if you try this recipe — I’d love to see your creations. Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment below.
Spicy Cumin Turkey Burgers
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 2 g baking powder
- 3 g sea salt
- 1 g Chinese 5-spice powder optional
- 155 g warm water
- 5 g granulated sugar
- 7 g active dry yeast
- 500 g lean ground turkey
- ½ large onion minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 32 ml light soy sauce
- 16 ml dark soy sauce
- 10 ml avocado oil or vegetable oil
- 10 ml shaoxing wine
- 13 g granulated sugar
- 5 g Sichuan peppercorns ground
- 3 g cinnamon ground
- 30 g cumin ground
- 15 g fennel ground
- 10 g coriander ground
- drippings from the baked turkey patties about 2 Tbsp, or 30ml
- 15 ml light soy sauce
- 60 g water divided
- 2 star anise whole
- 1 small cinnamon stick whole
- 1 bay leaf whole
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 15 g cornstarch
- 15 g tahini sesame paste
- 30 g chopped cilantro
- 30 g chopped green onions
- 2 fresh chilies optional
- ¼ cucumber thinly sliced
Make the dough for the buns:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a regular mixer if necessary), add in the flour, baking powder, salt and Chinese 5-spice powder (if using).
- In a separate bowl, add in the warm water, sugar, yeast and give it a stir. Let the yeast activate and pour it into the flour mixture.
- Using the dough hook, knead the dough until it is smooth, about 7-8 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm location, about 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 6 equal portions, about 70g each.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a long oval. Next, roll it up lengthwise. Then, coil it up like a snail and press down to flatten to about 3" in diameter.
- Place the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes. It will become slightly puffy.
- Preheat a flat griddle (or a frying pan) over medium high heat and lay the dough onto the griddle (or pan). (I could fit 6 on my griddle, but if you're using a frying pan, you may be able to fit up to 2).
- Lay a large parchment paper over top of the dough and use the back of another fry pan or similar sized pan to press firmly on top of the dough. Let the pan sit on top for 1 minute before carefully flipping it over to cover the dough.
- Lower the heat to minimum and cook for about 5 minutes on one side.
- Remove the top pan and flip the dough. Cook for another 5 minutes until golden brown in colour.
Make the turkey patties:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey meat with the onion, garlic, soy sauce, oil, shaoxing wine, sugar, and all the spices. Mix to combine thoroughly.
- You can cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for additional flavour or make them right away.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Divide turkey meat into 6 equal portions, about 80g each. Use your hands to form into a flat round patty, about 2.5" wide.
- Place each patty onto a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 165°F in the centre of the patty.
- Remove the turkey patties (keep the drippings) and cover.
Make the sauce:
- Pour the drippings into a small saucepan.
- Add in soy sauce, 30g water, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and sugar. Bring to a low simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the star anise, cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 30g water with 15g cornstarch until you have a slurry.
- Bring the soy sauce mixture up to medium heat and add in the cornstarch slurry. Whisk until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the tahini sesame paste. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a little water to thin it out.
- Cut the bun in half crosswise, about ¾s of the way (don't cut the bun entirely).
- Lay a turkey patty on one bun, smear with the sauce and garnish with cilantro, green onions, and chili (optional). Add cucumber slices if you wish.
- Serve immediately.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.