Coriander is sold in such big bundles that it’s always a race to use up most of it before it perishes. I say ‘most of it’ since I’ve never been successful in using all of it before it goes bad. And to make matters worse, out of all the herbs on the market, it seems to have the shortest shelf life when you bring it home. After using a small handful of it for the Tart Apple and Celeriac Salad, I have a lot left over that I need to use up. Funny, that in this blog’s short life span I have already mentioned this salad three times. I do have a tendency to go on and on when I really like something.
Which brings me to Nigel Slater, someone I will be going on about quite a bit around here. He’s my favourite cookery writer and has influenced me tremendously on how I think about food and flavour and how I approach cooking. The first book of his I picked up was The Kitchen Diaries (Fourth Estate, 2005) and since reading it cover to cover, I have picked up five more of his beautiful cookbooks. In The Kitchen Diaries, he has a couple of recipes for meat patties or little burgers that I’ve made on numerous occasions and amended the flavours to suit the ingredients I had on hand. His recipes call for ground meat (ground pork or ground chicken) mixed with herbs, aromatics and other flavours. There are little Italian, rosemary scented chicken patties flavoured with pancetta, garlic, and onion. There are also Thai burgers flavoured with lime leaves, garlic, ginger, and coriander. I used these recipes as an inspiration for my own petite patties. I based the flavours around coriander (of course), adding red chilies, green onions, garlic and fish sauce to ground chicken. The result was a flavourful, loosely Vietnamese inspired batch of wee patties that came together in a snap.
There is no photographic evidence on how good these were. I made these one weeknight after getting home from work and the gym and while I was famished. My boyfriend and I gobbled them up before I realized I should have photographed them.
The ingredients below are only a suggestion. This ‘recipe’ can be switched up a multitude of different ways depending on whatever you have on hand and whatever ethnic flavours you’d like to impart on your wee patties.
Chicken and Coriander Meat Patties
1 pound of ground chicken
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 minced garlic cloves
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 Bird’s Eye chilies, finely chopped (you can always use less or more depending on how hot you like it)
Large handful coriander, finely chopped
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into small patties. You can roll them into meatballs and then press them a little bit to give them a flatter shape. I ended up with five patties. Let the patties sit for about 30 minutes in the fridge so the flavours meld.
When ready to fry, heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. You don’t need a lot of oil just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. When hot, add the patties. You should hear a sizzle when they hit the oil. Leave them alone so they develop a nice sear. The gooey, sticky browned bits that develop on the patties will give them a lot of flavour. After about five minutes, flip them over so the other side can sear as well and so they can cook all the way through. The total cooking time should be between 10 – 15 minutes depending on how large your patties are.
I served these with plain white rice, some fresh greens and with Sriracha hot sauce on the side.