I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Southeast Asia and have fallen in love with the countries, the people, and the food. The bold flavors of that region—lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, chile—are some of my favorites to play with when cooking. And when it comes to summer eating, there is nothing better than firing up the grill and throwing on some burgers. I’m not a huge hamburger fan, but I do love fish, particularly when the weather is warmer. Combining a mild fish like cod with store-bought curry paste, cilantro, and kaffir lime makes for an incredibly flavorful patty, and serving it with a simple topping of thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro tossed with nuoc cham (a classic Vietnamese dipping sauce made from garlic, chile, sugar, fish sauce, and lime) is my ideal summer meal. —Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless cod fillet, roughy chopped
- 1⁄4 cup thai red curry paste
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro, plus 2 cups cilantro leaves
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. roughly chopped roasted, salted peanuts
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 hamburger buns, split
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Thai chile, stemmed
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Combine cod, curry paste, cilantro, and kaffir lime leaves in the bowl of a food processor; purée until combined, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in peanuts and salt. Divide mixture into 4 patties about 1-inch thick; transfer patties to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
- Light a grill. Brush buns with olive oil; grill until lightly toasted, 1-2 minutes, and transfer to a serving platter. Grill burgers on hottest part of grill, flipping once, until cooked through, 5-7 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, Place 1⁄2 tbsp. sugar, garlic, and chile on a cutting board and roughly chop everything together. Using the side of the knife, scrape the garlic–chile mixture into a rough paste. Transfer the paste to a medium bowl and whisk in remaining sugar and 1⁄2 cup warm water; continue whisking until sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Whisk in fish sauce and lime juice. Toss with cilantro leaves, cucumber, and red onion.
- To serve, place fish burger on bun and top with 1⁄4 of the salad.