Spring Turkey Tikka Masala

We are almost half way through the spring turkey season in NYS.  It’s also the time of year that fresh cilantro is springing up in gardens and hoop-house tomatoes are ripe- a perfect combination for this Indian-inspired recipe.

Turkey Tikka Masala


1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice mixture found in the international section of many grocery stores)
2 teaspoons paprika
freshly ground black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper to taste (a dash to 1/2 tsp each)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound skinless, boneless turkey breast – cut into 1-inch strips (about one side of a turkey breast)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half & half
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Combine yogurt, 2 teaspoons garam masala, paprika, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander in a large bowl. Add turkey strips and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator from 2 up to 10 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place turkey strips on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving space between each piece, and bake in the preheated oven until browned and no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook and stir until onion begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and continue to cook a few  minutes, being careful not to have heat too high to burn the garlic. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water into onion mixture and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and incorporate into the onion mixture, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and turmeric into the tomato mixture. Mix in the cooked turkey, add cream, and stir to coat. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and garnish with cilantro.  Serve with seasoned basmati or brown rice.
** if you have cooked your wild turkey whole, you can use 2 cups of chopped, cooked turkey meat and omit marinating the turkey in the yogurt mixture and skip cooking the turkey strips in the oven.  The photo was prepared this way, though the cilantro was cooked into the sauce and the cream was omitted- meaning you can play with the recipe, depending on the ingredients you have on hand!  You can also use a jar of prepared tikka masala sauce and simply mix that in with your cooked turkey meat.
turkey Indian curry
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