Chimichurri (Dominican Chimi Hamburger) is a sauce-dripping burger made throughout the Dominican Rep. in street stands, each with their own recipe and flavor.
Visit the Dominican Republic, and you find them everywhere. These popular “carritos” dotting cities and towns are crowded by young night revelers coming from or going to the party. Everyone stops there to recharge with a fría and one of the quintessential Dominican street foods: El Chimi.
What is a Dominican chimi?
Chimi (short for chimichurri) is the Dominican hamburger, which shares a name with the famous Argentinian chimichurri sauce.
Two main characteristics separate the Chimichurri burger from other burgers. One is the bread (generally Pan de Agua, an inexpensive bun similar in texture to French baguettes). The other is using shredded cabbage instead of lettuce. And it never includes cheese.
Why are chimis called “chimichurri”?
The best-known food bearing the name chimichurri is the green South American sauce. This namesake of the popular Dominican sandwich is based on parsley, garlic, onion, and other ingredients. It is most commonly served over grilled meat.
Chimis are a relatively new addition to the Dominican culinary repertoire. Chimichurri (neither sauce nor burger) are mentioned in any of the old Dominican cookbooks I own. Perhaps digging into the history of this dish will yield some clues…
The history of the Dominican chimi
Abrales, having moved to the Dominican Republic from Argentina, opened in the 70s a food cart selling Argentinian “choripanes” with chimichurri sauce. As time passed the name for the sandwich was shortened down to just chimichurri.
When more people started selling the popular street food, the ingredients and preparation became more aplatanados. Eventually, the original hot dog-like dish became the chimi we now know.
About our Dominican Chimichurri recipe
Chimi burgers are not usually prepared at home, but bought from street food stands. Each stand has its own recipe, seasoning, secrets, and fans.
It’s impossible to find a standard recipe because there isn’t one. Each vendor has a different way to make this, and a faithful clientele that prefers his/her chimichurri sandwich. This recipe will allow you to make Chimi at home with successful results. No wonder it is one of our most popular recipes.
Do you have a secret to make your own chimi shine? Share it in the comments!
Chimichurri Recipe (Dominican Chimi Hamburger)
For the chimi sauce
- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup of of orange juice
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Seasoning for the meat
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds of ground beef
For the chimi
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (soy, peanut or corn)
- 1 large onion cut into rings
- 2 large tomatoes cut into slices
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage
- 6 panes de agua (or hamburgers buns)
How to make the chimi sauce
- Mix the ketchup, mayonnaise, orange juice and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside (keep chilled).
How to make make the chimi meat patties
- Pulse onion, garlic, bell pepper, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor until you obtain a coarse paste.
- Mix the seasoning paste with the meat. Divide meat into 6 portions and form 6 patties (round for hamburguer bread, oval-shaped for pan de agua).
How to put together the chimi
- Brush a stove-top grill with some of the oil and heat over high heat. Grill the patties, rotating until they are cooked through. Reserve.
- Reapply oil to the grill, and grill onions and tomatoes.
- Reapply some oil to the grill and warm up the bread.
- Mix the cabbage with half the sauce made in step 1. Turn down the heat to medium and briefly cook the cabbage. Heating the cabbage is an optional step.
- Put meat, onions, tomatoes and cabbage between the buns, garnish with the remaining sauce. Serve with an ice-cold beer.