Love Thai Food? This Burger Recipe Is a Must-Try

Thai Chicken Burgers

Traeger Grills

Simple, tasty, and out of the ordinary.

I love green papaya salad (som tam in Thai) so much that I decided to top a burger with it!  For the burger itself, I’ve chosen ground chicken thigh meat, since it’s way more flavorful than ground chicken breast meat. (Ground pork would be a delicious substitute as well.) Combined with some coconut cream, fresh herbs, and ginger and wrapped in crunchy leaves of butter lettuce, this burger has been heavy on the request list from my friends and neighbors.   

Make sure to ask for green papaya at the market instead of fully ripe papaya. (Many grocers hold green ones in the back.) And to save yourself time before dinner, combine the ingredients for the burger patties in the morning, keeping the mixture chilled until you’re ready to cook the burgers.

Thai Chicken Burger with Pickled Papaya Slaw

This is the most satiating chicken burger I’ve ever had. I serve mine as a lettuce wrap (I swear you won’t even miss the bread) but go with whatever works for your diners.

Note: Make sure you buy unsweetened coconut cream for this recipe (not cream of coconut, which is a sweetened product). If canned coconut cream isn’t available, buy a can of regular coconut milk and refrigerate for several hours before opening it; you can then skim off the thick cream that has solidified at the top. 


COOKING TIME: 10 minutes


  • 6 oz [170 g] shredded green papaya (from 1 medium papaya) 
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice and 2 tsp grated lime zest 
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce 
  • 6 Tbsp [90 ml] canola oil 
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1 ⁄4 in [6 mm] slices 
  • 1lb [455 g] ground chicken thigh meat 
  • 1/4 cup [60 ml] coconut cream (thick milk solids from one 14 oz [392 g] can chilled coconut milk) 
  • 1/2 cup [20 g] chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated 
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger 
  • 2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1/2 cup [120 g] mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder 
  • 8 large leaves butter lettuce

In a medium bowl, combine the papaya, onion, 3 Tbsp of the lime juice, and the fish sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, combine the oil and lemongrass. Cook for 5 minutes, then strain the oil and reserve it, discarding the lemongrass. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the ground chicken, coconut cream, cilantro, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, lime zest, and remaining 2 tsp lime juice until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and curry powder. Set aside. 

Form the chicken mixture into four equal patties. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp of the lemongrass oil, and heat until just beginning to smoke. Add the patties and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F [74°C], about 5 minutes per side. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp lemongrass oil when you flip the burgers. 

Place each burger on a leaf of lettuce; top with curry mayonnaise and pickled papaya slaw. Top with a second lettuce leaf and serve.

Excerpted with permission from The Vibrant Life: Eat Well, Be Well (Chronicle Books, 2019) by Amanda Haas. Text copyright © 2019 by Amanda Haas.