For a few years now I've wanted to try to marry the traditional Southern Indian food my husband grew up enjoying with Thanksgiving as I know it (Southern girl with a love of spice and heat). So this year I did a trial run of a tandoori-style turkey made in the oven.
By next year I hope to build my own tandoor, or at least grill this guy, because it needs a little more heat to crisp up properly. Even so, the meal turned out great! Tandoori turkey, tamarind gravy, creamed saag, masala mashed potatoes, and Whole Foods' naan, which has a slight dinner roll texture, so it works out perfectly for this blended meal. The tamarind gravy was an original creation (that I cannot believe turned out properly, it was sooooo good), and the other recipes were either inspired by or taken directly from The Food of India from Whitecap Books. I love their "food of" series, and my husband is impressed with the Indian recipes.
For the turkey, I followed the instructions from November's Martha Stewart Living to spatchcock a turkey and cooked according to their instructions after marinating for about 7 hours. Not including the marinade time, this meal came together in about 2 hours on a Friday night. Also, we discovered New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc complements Indian food perfectly.
To get her recipes for this Southern Indian feast, keep reading.
Tandoori Turkey Marinade (for a 10-12 lb. turkey)
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 in. piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup thick yogurt (next time I might cut this back by 1/4 cup)
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 tbl lemon juice
2 tbl white vinegar
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1 tbl Indian chili powder (cut this back if you don't want it to be spicy, Indian chili pepper is similar to cayenne, maybe slightly less hot)
- Toast then grind the coriander and cumin seeds.
- In a food processor or blender, blend all marinade ingredients to a smooth paste.
- Season your turkey, then rub the marinade on the turkey and let marinate for 8 hours or overnight.
1/4 cup ghee (or butter)
1/4 to 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 in. fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Indian chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
1/4 c flour
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbl tamarind paste
1/2 - 1 tbl brown sugar, to taste
Dash of cinnamon
- Heat ghee over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic with a bit of salt and saute until the mixture is soft.
- Add the spices and the flour while whisking, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes after incorporated.
- Add the chicken stock and tamarind paste, and simmer until mixture begins to thicken. (If you prefer a thinner gravy, you may want to add more chicken stock.)
- Add the brown sugar to your personal taste, along with cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.
- Puree if you want a silky smooth gravy, otherwise serve with the small chunks of onion and ginger.
1.5 lbs spinach (frozen or fresh baby spinach)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1 tbl oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 roma tomato, peeled and chopped
1 in. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 c vegetable stock
1/4 c milk or cream
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and fenugreek and saute until spices are fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato, ginger, and garam masala and continue to cook until onion is soft and tomato is breaking down.
- Add spinach and cook until wilted.
- Mix vegetable stock and milk or cream, then add to pan. Lower heat and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (but not all).
- If you want a more creamy consistency, puree the spinach. Serve warm.
Masala Mashed Potatoes
2 tbl oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric 1 in. ginger, grated
2 green thai chilies (in my case, 3), finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1.5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbl tamarind puree
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop.
- Add curry leaves, turmeric, ginger, chili and onion and cook until the onion is soft.
- Add the potato cubes and 1 cup of water, bring to a boil (season with a little salt at this stage), then cover and cook until the potatoes are tender and just breaking up.
- Simmer uncovered if there is excess liquid in the pan (there should be a little, but not too much). Add the tamarind paste and salt to taste and stir.
- Mash potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. I prefer to have some chunks left in mine, so I don't mash too much (easier to pick up with the naan).
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