The best juiciest tandoori turkey recipe is here ladies and gents! Take that whole turkey and stuff it Indian style with red onions, herbs of cilantro, aromatics of whole cinnamon, and green/black cardamom then bathe it in a yogurt marinade with ginger, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and tandoori seasoning overnight! Roast that puppy in a bag with all its juices and be patient while the house smells heavenly leaving you salivating until you are rewarded as that turkey melts in your mouth with the flavors tantalizing each and every taste bud!
Do I have your attention? No? Well, don’t forget to accompany a turkey that fabulous with a cranberry spicy sauce with serrano peppers, lime juice, and allspice garnished with cilantro/mint! Oh and pickled onions are a must (click here for recipe).
Now that I have your full attention let’s get to it! You have work to do and guests to impress! For full disclosure, the recipe is adapted from Bon Apetit.
Step 1: Make the Tandoori Sauce
Simply add full fat greek yogurt with tandoori seasoning (homemade or store-bought) with fresh garlic paste, ginger paste, smoked paprika, fresh lime juice, chili powder, and a little garam masala into a blender and puree! Set aside. The marinade is what makes the best juiciest tandoori turkey so be sure to marinade for 24 hours for best results!
What is Tandoori Seasoning made of?
- Chili powder
- Mace (nutmeg family)
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Ground ginger
- Garlic powder
Is Tandoori Spicy?
No the red color is very misleading! It’s very mild and has a tangy but warm flavor to it. In fact, the added garam masala has the actual kick to it however well balanced with warms spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Whats the red color?
Huge secret I’ll let you in on-it’s food dye! You can either add this or skip it. It’s purely for aesthetics! The people of India like their food with color! I have to agree I like it as well for the wow factor (after all I do live in L.A.–appearances are everything;)
Step 2: Prepare the stuffing of Turkey
Here we stuff it with red onion, celery, cilantro, whole green/black cardomom, and whole cinnamon.
What’s green and black cardamom?
Cardamom is part of the ginger family however obviously differs greatly in taste. The green cardamom has a sweet floral flavor with notes of eucalyptus that can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Black cardamom is smoked over an open fire, which gives it a pungent smoky flavor that should only be used in savory dishes.
Step 3: Assemble (please make sure to clean the turkey and pat dry before).
Stuff the turkey, pour the marinade into a turkey bag shaking it all around and do a little dance with it to ensure every bit is covered in that goodness! Place turkey breast side down in bag and put in roasting pan. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
Step 4: Roast
Let turkey stand in a bag at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn breast side up. Create steam holes in bag if required by manufacturer’s instructions.
Preheat oven to 400°. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (puncturing bag with thermometer) registers 160°, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Cut the top of the bag open, being careful of steam and juices, and pull back over turkey. Roast turkey until breast is deeply browned but not burned and a thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165°, 15–30 minutes longer.
Step 5: Rest
Rest is best before the test and in this case for Turkey! Transfer to a platter. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
In the meantime make some fabulous gravy just by straining the juices/liquid to a saucepan and boil until it thickens. Spoon fat from surface. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. You can add a little corn starch for added thickener.
Step 6: Serve the best juiciest tandoori turkey recipe with all the fixings!
Garnish with fresh cilantro! Serve with pickled onions!
Savory’s Tips and Tricks
- Buy the garlic and ginger paste for a short-cut. I prefer the local Indian grocery stores.
- Can substitute smoked paprika with regular however I prefer the smoky flavor!
Savory’s Pairing Recommendations
Pickled onions are a must! Click here for my quick recipe and adapt it by using whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns.
For wine pairing, I highly recommend light to medium body. For whites can go with something sweet like a Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Valckenberg 2013 $14 or a Pinot Gris or even a rose. For reds go with something fruit-forward such as a Pinot Noir and for something medium-bodied pair with a Syrah from Orange Boots Wine!
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!
Be sure to pin this recipe to save to make this Thanksgiving and if you were bold enough to attempt this please snap a pic and tag me. Nothing would make me happier!
Best Juiciest Tandoori Turkey Recipe
- 4 cups 4cups plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/2 cup ginger, peeled and chopped store-bought ginger paste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic store-bought garlic paste
- 1/2 cup lime juice, fresh
- 1/4 cup smoked paprika substitute with regular paprika
- 2 tbsp tandoori seasoning homemade or store-bought
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 12–14-pound turkey
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 5 black cardamom
- 5 green cardamom
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Clean the turkey, rinse, and pat dry. Rub inside and out with salt; transfer to roasting bag. Stuff turkey with cardamom pods and cumin seeds, then onion, celery, garlic, and cilantro.
- For the marinade place all the ingredients in blender and blend together for a smooth consistency. Pour marinade into roasting bag. Smear all over turkey. Tie bag and arrange turkey, breast side down, in a large heavy roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight.
- Let turkey stand in a bag at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn breast side up. Create steam holes in bag if required by manufacturer's instructions.Step 6
- Preheat oven to 400°. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (puncturing bag with thermometer) registers 160°, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Cut top of bag open, being careful of steam and juices, and pull back over turkey. Roast turkey until breast is deeply browned but not burned and a thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165°, 15–30 minutes longer.
- Transfer to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
- Meanwhile, strain juices into a large saucepan. Spoon fat from surface. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Carve turkey. Garnish with cilantro and serve with gravy and pickled onions!