Zingy Crumbed Chicken Burgers with chillimelet

chicken_burgers_sRecently Heidi made a recipe with bay leaves blitzed into breadcrumbs. The taste was exquisite. We are so used to bay leaves being thrown into the pot or added to the bobotie, but we seldom know why. It’s as if it’s a good idea, but no-one can really describe the taste. Recently I saw Jamie make a bay leaf oil by mashing it with olive oil in a mortar and pestle. He rubbed it into a pork shoulder, and went all lyrical about the flavour. I was intrigued. Bay leaves? Flavour? Even when you crush it you get a mild herby smell, similar to crushing any weed in the garden. But bay leaves seem to harbour a secret. Deep within them there seems to be an essential oil that you need to get out, and it only really seems to show itself when you add heat. Jamie taught me another thing – when you smash it (or, in this case, blitz it), you unlock its deepest secrets.

Well, and that is just the one small element of the recipe. This could take some time… Anyway, the second taste is chilli. And as you may have recognised, we love Nando’s Garlic Peri-Peri. Just the best little sauce ever. And as we all love it, social acceptability is not an issue. So, what I did was to whisk a nice amount of peri-peri sauce into an egg, which I marinated the chicken in. I love chicken burgers with a bit of a zing.

When all was done – very quick meal, this – I had a nice bowl of chili and egg left. So I made a little omelet out of it. Wow! I added the omelet, or, as I aptly christened it, chillimelet to the chicken burgers, and it was exquisite. There is a first time for everything.


Chicken breasts, skinless 8 breasts
Garlic 1 clove
Bay leaves 2 leaves
Stale brown bread 2 slices
Nando’s Garlic Peri-peri 1 tablespoon
Eggs 2 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

How I went about it:

  1. Shred the bread into a food processor, add two bay leaves, also shredded and 1 clove of garlic, crushed. Blitz until the bay leaves are just a green colour in the breadcrumbs. No chunky pieces must be left. The breadcrumbs will be quite fine at this stage of blitzing.
  2. Take the eggs and whisk in salt and pepper and the peri-peri sauce.
  3. You can either marinate the chicken breasts in the batter, if you have the time, or, if you are surrounded by a group of teenagers demanding to be fed, NOW, then dip them in flour, then the batter, then the breadcrumbs.
  4. Fry until golden on the one side, turn over and fry until golden on the other side. Depending on the size of your breasts, I mean the chicken breasts you are frying, it should be no more than 3 minutes per side.
  5. I then took them out and let them rest on a wooden board for a minute. I then sliced them at an angle through the middle, making each breast into two wedges. This makes them work well on the burger, as the wedges don’t slide out of the bun. It also gives you the ability to check if they are cooked through. They were perfect and moist.
  6. Build your burgers with a fresh iceberg slaw, some cheese, onion and all the garnishes you like. Don’t overdo it. You want to still taste the slight zing!
  7. I then took the remaining egg/peri-peri mix and quickly made an omelet with it. A chillemelet.
  8. I put this on my burger and was pleasantly surprised at the taste and the creaminess it gave to my burger. Try it.


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