Turkey Burgers with Indian Spices

My friends seem to either love or hate cumin — with its bitter, pungent, warm but slightly dusty flavor. It’s not one of those spices you can just slip in. Mostly used in the spicier foods of Mexican, Indian and Cuban cuisines, it is generally known as an ingredient in curry powder and in chili.

Turkey Burgers with Indian Spices
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 burgers
  • 1¼ to 1½ pounds ground turkey (1 package)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lime, quartered
  1. Place the turkey, garlic, ginger, lime juice and zest, cumin, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom in a bowl and, using your hands, mix until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  2. Place the mixture on a work surface and divide into 4 balls of equal size. Form each into a patty about ¾ to 1 inch thick, tossing it back and forth between your hands. To ensure more even cooking, make a ½-inch indentation with your thumb in the center of the burger. Handle the patties as little as possible; do not work more than necessary.
  3. Prepare the grill to medium-high. When the coals are glowing red, after 15-20 minutes, cover with the grate.
  4. After 5 minutes, use a wire brush to thoroughly clean the grate. Brush the grate with oil.
  5. When the coals are covered with pale gray ash and you can leave your hand 5 inches above the fire for 2 to 3 second, the coals are ready.
  6. Sprinkle both sides of the burgers with salt.
  7. Place the burgers on the grate and grill until well seared on both sides, about 5 minutes for medium rare or 6 minutes for medium.
  8. Transfer to buns or a serving platter and serve immediately with the lime quarters.
  9. ALTERNATIVELY, place a cast iron skillet over high heat and when it is hot but not smoking add the burgers to the dry pan.
  10. Cook until well seared on both sides, 8 to10 minutes for medium rare or 10-12 minutes for medium.