All the comforts: Mango habanero burger

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I seem to be stuck on the third level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with no ambition for further exploration. Santa Barbara (well, actually Goleta) has me lazy and content with all my fundamental needs met. Trader Joe’s is a five-minute walk away, a family farm stand with organic produce is down the road, an outdoor lap pool is close by, the temperature hovers in the mid 70s, our apartment has a lovely, shaded patio, hibiscus and kangaroo paws bloom outside the window, a ceiling fan spins up cool breezes, my favorite radio station, KCRW, comes in on my iPad, the Dodgers and Angeles play every night on the TV, our bed is soft and deep, and my sweetie comes home at 3:30, five days a week with weekends off. Goleta may not have L.A.’s movie stars and chainsaw jugglers, but right now it’s all I could possibly want. If I were a cat, I would purr.

Kangaroo paws

Sidewalk hibiscus

Occasionally I can hear an inner voice yell, “Go somewhere, do something!” After all, we are situated in the middle of the “American Riviera” with an end date, a ticking clock, and someone else picking up the tab. I do have a list: the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art, the Butterfly Botanical Garden, Stern’s Wharf, the Funk Zone, Rincon Beach, shopping on State Street. But the most I can muster up right now is a five minute drive to the beach, a walk down the block for frozen yogurt, a quick dip in the apartment pool, or a nap on the patio. 

Maybe tomorrow…

Although Texas is a distant memory, I do think fondly of Houston’s good food. Restaurants here seem to be either fancy or American-style ethnic, so I needed to make a decent approximation of M&M Grill’s mango habanero burger. Theirs was blistering hot so I opted for Serranos instead of habanero peppers, but if you’re brave enough, take a chance. 

Mango habaneros burgers

  • 1/2 chopped mango
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded, and minced (these are very hot. Substitute with serranos or jalapeños if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 pound ground pork, beef, or lamb
  • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs


  • 1/2 diced mango
  • 1/2 diced tomato
  • 1/4 c. minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Chopped cilantro, parsley, or mint
  • Ciabatta or panini-style rolls
  • mayonnaise

For Burger: 

In a food processor, pulse mango, onion, soy sauce, grated ginger, brown sugar, minced garlic cloves, black pepper, allspice, thyme, salt, and minced Serranos or habaneros until a thick paste is formed. In a large work bowl, mix this paste with the ground meat and panko. Cover and set aside in refrigerator for an hour.

For Salsa: 

In small bowl, combine diced mango, diced tomato, minced onion, lime juice, ginger, black pepper, chopped herbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill burgers on medium hot grill for 5-7 minutes on each side or until done to your preference. 

Place rolls, cut side down, over med. high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute to toast. Smear mayonnaise on both halves of a bun, place 1 patty on bottom half of a roll, top with a large spoonful of salsa, and finish with bun top. 

Makes 4 burgers. 

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2 Responses to All the comforts: Mango habanero burger

  1. Ginny says:

    I’ll give them a try. Sounds like my kind of burger. Loved the photo of you in your bikini on the beach!

  2. Bridget says:

    Wow, Mom! What a life! You sure can paint a picture. I’m definitely trying these yummy sounding burgers. The kids will rave, I’m sure!

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