Tikka Masala Leftover Turkey

The Tikka Masala originated in the restaurant. Not a home kitchen. At the time of the last pandemic (1920’s), this iconic Indian dish was yet to be born. Usually made with chicken, the one here is a turkey (leftover) version. The result vied closely with the original centerpiece of Thanksgiving day. The technique is tediously multi-layered and time-consuming, but worth the effort. Enjoy!

Special tools:

Immersion blender.


  • Turkey Tikka: Marinade for at least 2 hrs.
    • 4 cups of 1-2 inch cubes of cooked Turkey (~1 lb)
    • Marinade mix: 1 cup yogurt + 6 tsp ginger-garlic minced (6 cloves garlic and grated ginger) + 6 tsp curry powder (OR 2 tsp garam masala+2 tsp coriander + 2tsp cumin + 1 tbsp paprika) + 4 tsps turmeric powder + salt to taste
  • Masala Gravy: 4 tbsp oil, salt to taste
    • A. Aromatics:
      • 1 large onion, sliced + minced ginger-garlic-jalapeno (2 tbsp ginger;4 cloves garlic;2 chilies) + 1 bay leaf + 6 cardamom pods, crushed
      • 1 tsp garam masala + 1 tsp paprika
    • B. Gravy-body
      • 2 tbsp tomato paste + 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
      • 2 cups half and half + 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • C. Brightness: Juice of 1 lemon
  • Garnish: cilantro or micro-greens


Tikka: Place the marinated Turkey chunks in a single layer on a baking tray and broil for 8-10 minutes until lightly charred.

Masala gravy: This is done in layers. In a Le Creuset (or a thick-bottomed) pot, heat 4 tbsp oil.
Step A1. (8-10 mins) Add A. ingredients, except the powder. Cook until the onions are soft.
Step A2. (1-2 mins) Add the aromatic powder ingredients, stir and carefully watch over it till fragrant, but not burnt.
Step B1. (10-15 mins) Add B1. ingredients –tomatoes– and cook until almost dry.
Step B2. (35-40 mins) Add B2. ingredients –cream & cilantro– and cook covered till oil floats on top.
Step C. (Finish) Take off heat, remove the bay leaf, add C. (lemon juice) and run an immersion blender till sauce is smooth. Adjust salt to taste.

Mix in the Tikka and garnish with greens. Serve hot with roti, tortilla or rice.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. It is interesting that I adapted an A-list Indian dish from an American born Iranian chef, Samin Nosrat.
  2. The technique described here is what gives an Indian curry its pizzaz. What differentiates the tikka masala gravy is the use of large amount of tomatoes, and, cream.
  3. This is an over-the-top dish, so don’t plan on serving it every day 😉
  4. Kimchi Quinoa Leftover Chicken: A Korean inspired fried rice.
    • 1 cup quinoa (cooked in 2 cups water for 15 minutes)
    • Marinade chicken for a few hrs: 1 cup leftover pulled chicken + 2 tbsp soy sauce + 2 tbsp Sambol Oelek + 4-5 crushed garlic + 1 tbsp sesame seeds + 2 tsp sesame oil.
    • Aromatics: 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion + 6-7 garlic pods, crushed + 1/4 cup sliced fennel (optional) + 1/2 cup chopped Kale stems + 1/2 cup julienned carrot
    • 1 cup kimchi + 1 cup prepared chestnuts
    • Topping: 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Add the aromatics. Stir-fry till soft. Move them to the outer edges of the wok and add the chicken. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the prepared chestnuts and kimchi and stir-fry for 1-2 mins. Fold in the cooked quinoa and let heat through. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve.


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