Banh Mi Turkey Burgers

Banh mi-style sandwiches seem to be popping up everywhere lately. While I love this - because I love a good banh mi - I've got one big bone to pick. Most of the ones I've had are simply not good. There are a couple of key elements to the flavor profile of the banh mi that I feel many restaurants try to cheat out and cut corners on: Sriracho mayo, pickled daikon radish and carrots and fish sauce. The Sriracha-mayo combo is creamy, spicy and satisfying light-years beyond plain-old original mayo. The peppery radish and sweet carrot bring harmony to the spice of the mayo and savory of the meat in a way that pickled onions can't do. (You can swap red radishes for the daikon if your market doesn't have any, but please don't mess with the equation of tastes.) Fish sauce - that miracle elixir of Southeast Asian flavor - is the perfect finishing touch for that spicy, sour, savory, sweet and downright aromatic combo.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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For the pickled vegetables: 

4-inch piece daikon radish, peeled and grated

1 medium or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

For the turkey burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon Sriracha

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped

Salt and ground black pepper 

Salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil

For the sriracha mayo:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Sriracha

4 crusty rolls or 4 (4-inch) sections baguette, split open

20 sprigs cilantro

Sliced jalapeno peppers, optional


  1. To prepare the pickled vegetables, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the radish, carrots, vinegar and sugar. Cover the bowl and let the mixture marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. (This can be made up to one day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.) 
  2. While the vegetables are marinating, prepare the turkey burgers. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the meat, Sriracha, cornstarch, fish sauce, garlic, basil and some salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and shape each portion into a burger. Place a large skillet over medium heat with the sesame or vegetable oil and cook the burgers, flipping once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. 
  3. While the burgers are cooking, prepare the Sriracha mayo. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and Sriracha. Set aside. 
  4. To serve the burgers, divide the Sriracha mayo among the four rolls. Top with a burger patty, a scoop of pickled vegetables, 4 to 5 sprigs of cilantro and some sliced jalapeno (if using).

Cook’s Note

You can use whatever type of meat you like to make this burger. Lighter meats - like turkey, chicken and pork - will carry the flavors of the sandwich better than ground beef.