This tuna burger is inspired by the classic Thai cucumber relish, ajat dtaeng gwa. Traditionally this refreshing relish is served to help cut through some of the richer or spicier Thai dishes. I used the relish in place of the traditional pickle as a way to balance out the salty fish sauce and spicy Bird’s eye chilies. It definitely isn’t authentic, but its big flavors are perfect for summer.
Thai-inspired Tuna Burgers with Cucumber Relish
- 1/2 hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Bird's eye, Thai chile peppers
- 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- pinch Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh or frozen galanga, or fresh ginger
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Bird's eye, Thai chile peppers (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lime
- 1 lb tuna steaks
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- bean sprouts
- 4 hamburger buns
- Start by making the relish and mayo. In a small bowl, combine the cucumbers, onions, cilantro, chile, vinegar, and sugar with a pinch of salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. In another bowl, combine the mayonnaise, galanga, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.
- While the relish is standing, mash the chile, and garlic with a mortar and pestle into a paste. Stir in the fish sauce, green onions, and lime juice. Move to the side and dice the tuna into small cubes (about 1/8 inch). Add the chile paste to the tuna and toss with your hands until evenly coated.
- Add both oils to a cast-iron skillet and heat to medium-high. Lightly form 4 patties and add to the hot skillet. Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
- While the burgers are cooking, toast the buns, and drain the cucumber relish.
- Split each bun and top with a tuna burger, bean sprouts, and cucumber relish. Spread 1 or 2 tablespoons of mayo on the top bun and place it on top of the burger.