[Chef Watson] Trial #8 : Mushroom burger with strawberry ketchup

This post is about testing recipes created by artificial intelligence, Chef Watson of IBM

I tell everybody that one my strength is agility. When I heard James Bricione’s TED talk about how Chef Watson calculates deliciousness, using a mushroom burger with strawberry ketchup as an example, I was challenged by James’s comment that if you try this burger, you will never miss beef burgers again..

Yes, the recipe to be tested this time is a mushroom burger with strawberry ketchup. Even though the recipe calls the sauce ‘ketchup’, it doesn’t use tomatoes. There’s an interesting history behind why we call ketchup ‘tomato ketchup’. Ketchup was actually invented in the Cantonese area of China, and originally it was fish sauce. After ketchup crossed over to Europe, tomatoes were used for making ketchup, and that’s the origin of ‘tomato ketchup’. Interesting, huh? To learn more about the history of ingredients and food, I recommend reading an interesting book about linguistics and history of food called “Language of Food”. Even in Wikipedia’s explanation of ketchup, you can see other variations of ketchup such as mushroom ketchup.

Recipe and ingredients

Makes 5 burgers

Breadcrumbs, grated ginger, coriander, butter, garlic, ground chicken, strawberry, egg, bazil, mushrooms
Breadcrumbs, grated ginger, coriander, butter, garlic, ground chicken, shallot, basil, mushrooms, egg, strawberry

[Mushroom burger]

  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) oilve oil
  • 2 cloves (12 grams) garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot (approx 40 grams), minced
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) fresh mushrooms(I used mix of enoki and shiitake mushrooms), roughly chopped
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground chicken
  • 6 tablespoons (50 grams) dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 burger rolls
  • softened butter to spread on the rolls
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and shallot and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
cooking shallots and garlic, mushrooms
Cooking shallots and garlic, mushrooms

2. Combine the cooled mushroom mixture, ground chicken, breadcrumbs, eggs, basil,           salt and pepper in a bowl. Blend well and form into 5 patties. Cook the patties in a                 sauté pan with a small amount of oil in the pan approximately 5 minutes per side                   over medium to medium-high heat. Or cook on the grill, or roast in a 425-degree                   oven until cooked through about 12 minutes.

mixture of ground chicken and eggs, cooked mushrooms and bread drumbpe
a mixture of ground chicken and eggs, cooked mushrooms and bread crums

Dalji: I knew that this dish couldn’t fail by the smell of these patties. But the interesting thing is that, as you saw in the picture in Step 2, there are more mushrooms than chicken. But the smell of the patties was amazing, like beef patties. At this point, I got excited about the outcome and how it would taste with the strawberry ketchup.

3. Split the 4 rolls, spread with softened butter, and arrange, cut side up, on the baking sheet with the tomatoes. Broil until the buns are toasted, and the cheese is slightly melted.

Dalji: Actually I skipped this step, so the outcome lacks the tomato and cheese. But it isn’t completely my fault, the original recipe is incomplete that it doesn’t mention about tomatoes and cheese in the ingredients. 

[Strawberry ‘Ketchup’]

  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves (12 grams) garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (180 grams) mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cups (400 grams) strawberries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) crushed coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) ground black pepper
  • kosher salt, to taste

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pot. Add the shallots, ginger and garlic. Sauté until tender and fragrant. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt and cook until tender and dry, about 6 minutes.

2. Stir in the chopped strawberries, coriander and black pepper. Cook until the strawberries become very soft, then blend with an immersion blender of transfer into a food processor and process until smooth. Return to the pot and simmer until thickened. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar if necessary.

Mushroom burger with strawberry ketchup


mushroom burger with strawberry ketchup
Photo courtesy of Mignyonne, thank you!



Actually I wasn’t so afraid of tasting this time. Because this recipe was once reviewed by an expert and from the smell of the patty, the result of the recipe could not fail.

However, the problem was the strawberry ketchup. We’re all used to strong flavors added to burgers, such as mustard sauce and tomato ketchup and hot sauce. Strawberry ketchup was unique, and while we all felt it was rich in nutrition, we missed the sweet and spicy sauce. When we added hot sauce and mustard, it got so much better.

But overall, this testing was successful. Everyone enjoyed Sunday lunch with this healthy mushroom burger. With less meat, we could make a healthy great burger! Good job, Watson!

For those whom it may concern, I’m not related to IBM or Chef Watson. It is my personal interest to test how artificial intelligence decodes the way chefs create recipes and I want to see if this service can be offered to everyone in the near future.


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