Tuna Burgers with Ginger-Lemon Mayonnaise


Cilantro, ginger, and soy sauce are mixed with sushi-grade tuna for these bright, fresh fish burgers.

Thai Tuna Burgers with Ginger-Lemon Mayonnaise
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

Use sushi-quality tuna for these burgers, so you can serve them medium rare. The cucumber salad and the ginger-lemon mayonnaise keep the flavors in this burger light.


Ginger-Lemon Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens

  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds or toasted sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Tuna Burgers

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed

  • 1 Thai or serrano chile, seeded and minced

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

  • 1 1/2 pounds sushi-quality tuna

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 4 hamburger buns

  • 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped


Make the mayonnaise

  1. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, soy sauce, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the cucumber salad

  1. In a medium bowl, toss cucumbers, onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

Make the burgers

  1. In a mortar or medium bowl, using the back of a spoon, mash ginger with garlic, chile, and sugar to a paste. Stir in fish sauce, cilantro, and basil. On a clean cutting board, thinly slice tuna. Stack slices and cut into thin matchsticks. Cut matchsticks into rough cubes, then chop until pieces are roughly 1/8 inch. Add tuna to ginger paste and stir until evenly combined.

  2. Using lightly moistened hands, shape tuna mixture into 4 patties about 1 inch thick. Set them on a large plate lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate tuna burgers for at least 20 minutes.

  3. Light a grill. In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil and sesame oil. Lightly brush burgers and cut sides of buns with oil. When fire is medium-hot, brush grate with oil. Grill burgers for 6 minutes, turning once, for medium rare. Move burgers away from heat and grill cut sides of the buns until toasted, 1 minute.

  4. Drain Cucumber Salad. Spread Ginger-Lemon Mayonnaise on the cut sides of buns and set tuna burgers on bottoms. Top with the Cucumber Salad and peanuts. Cover burgers with buns and serve.

Make Ahead

The mayonnaise can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

The burgers can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 3 hours.

Suggested Pairing


An aromatic golden lager will complement the rich tuna here. Look for one with hoppy or lemony flavors, such as Asahi Super Premium from Japan or Singha Lager from Thailand.

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