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Christmas Turkey Curry

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Use leftover turkey and sausage or try my recipes below. Just be sure to make this Christmas turkey curry!

We all look for ways to use up that leftover turkey from Christmas dinner. This, however is a recipe I make year round!

Turkey is lean and healthy and also offers a good alternative to chicken. 

So with this Christmas turkey curry recipe, I show you how to use up that leftover turkey and sausages but also feature a good tandoori turkey and pork kofta recipe that you can come back to whenever you want. 

Turkey curry

Seriously delicious!

How to make this Christmas turkey curry with leftover ingredients…

Curries offer an excellent and delicious way to give leftovers new life.

So if you have some leftover turkey and sausages, just use them instead of making the tandoori turkey and sausage koftas.

When you use up your leftovers in this turkey curry, you will literally be able to whip up an amazing dinner in about 15 minutes. What could be wrong with that? 

I am a big believer that recipes are guides. If you don’t have enough leftover turkey for the Christmas turkey curry below, no worries! Use what you have, add more sausage or throw in something else you have on hand. There are no rules. Just add what you’ve got.

If it sounds good, it probably will be. 

The tandoori marinade below is perfect for any whole roast turkey…

When planning your Christmas dinner, you might like to give tandoori turkey a go. 

Why not? Every year I make one traditional turkey and another that is rubbed with tandoori marinade and then marinated for about two days before roasting. 

At my house, that is always the most popular turkey on the dinner table. The leftovers are perfect for this Christmas turkey curry recipe too!

Turkey crown

If using fresh turkey instead of leftovers, dice the turkey breast into bite sized piece.

Meat marinade for turkey

Mix the turkey meat with 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste, the juice of 1 lemon and about a teaspoon of salt

Turkey marinade

Whisk together 4 tbsp yoghurt, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp each of tandoori masala and garam masala.

Marinating turkey meat

Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight. You only need to do this if you are not using leftover turkey.

Grilling turkey tikka

Cook in a tandoor or over coals on your barbecue.

Grilling turkey tikka

Using marinated and grilled turkey tikka gives the curry another layer of deliciousness!

How to prepare the whole tandoori turkey if cooking as a roast…

There are a number of ways you can do this. 

The easy way is to simply rub the skin with the tandoori marinade. Rub the skin with melted butter or ghee and then apply the dry marinade. 

You will get better results, however if you carefully slide your hand between the skin and meat. Then mix the tandoori marinade with about 5 tbsp butter or ghee and then apply the marinade under the skin. 

As with all marinated meats, you should allow the turkey to marinate overnight but a couple hours will be fine. Then just cook the turkey following the recipe you use every year. 

Cooking tandoori turkey tikka on skewers…

My favourite way to prepare this Christmas turkey curry recipe, when not using leftovers, is to cut the meat into tikka (pieces).

If doing this, add 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt to the marinade spices and then do the following.

Place the turkey tikka in a large mixing bowl and salt generously. Then add two tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste and the juice of one lemon.

Mix well, rubbing these ingredients right into the flesh and allow to marinate  for 20 minutes while you prepare the second marinade.

Whisk all of the 2nd marinade ingredient together with the yoghurt. Then apply to the turkey meat and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours for best results. 

Can I use raw turkey in this Christmas turkey curry?

Yes! All is explained below. 

I do recommend using either tandoori turkey tikka or leftover Christmas turkey though. It makes cooing the curry faster and also adds another layer of flavour. 

What if I don’t want to make the pork koftas?

You could just leave them out or use leftover sausages from Christmas dinner.

This recipe is great for using leftovers so make it as written or feel free to use up what you have on hand. 

If you do want to make them, just follow these photos and read the exact instructions in the recipe below.

pork kofta

Form the minced (ground) pork into small meatballs or kofta.

Step by step photographs for the sauce…

Melting ghee

Melt the ghee over high heat

Adding onion to pan

Fry the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Adding chopped green chillies to pan

Add the chopped green chillies.

Adding raw pork kofta to pan

Add the raw koftas to the pan or just add some leftover sausages.

Adding ground spice to the sauce

Now stir in the ground spices.

Adding chopped tomatoes

Stir in the chopped tomatoes.

Adding water or stock to pan

Then add enough water or turkey stock to cover and cook it down to thicken.

Adding meat to pan

As the curry cooks down and thickens, add the leftover turkey pieces or turkey tikka.

Adding marinade or yoghurt to pan.

To finish, add a few tablespoons of marinade or plain yoghurt.

Frying bacon

This is totally optional but I like to fry up some bacon to serve on top.

If you like this leftover turkey curry recipe, you might like to try these too…

Peshwari turkey curry
Leftover turkey soup

Yield: 6

Christmas Turkey Curry

Turkey curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 11.5oz (300g) minced pork
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 14oz (4oog) chopped tomatoes
  • 2lbs 3oz (1 kg) raw, tandoori tikka or leftover turkey meat
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt or leftover tandoori marinade if you have it or just plain natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of on lemon
  • 3 tbsp cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp streaky bacon, but into small pieces


  1. To prepare the optional pork koftas ( you could just use leftover pieces of sausage in this recipes) mix all of the kofta ingredients together and then form into small golf ball sized kofta. Set aside.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and when visibly hot, stir in the chopped onion. Fry for about 8 minutes or until soft, translucent and lightly browned.
  3. Now add the garlic and ginger paste along with the chopped chillies and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  4. Add the ground spices followed by the chopped tomatoes and stir well. If using raw turkey and the pork koftas, you can add this now. If using cooked sausages and turkey, these can be added later.
  5. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then stir in 2 cups (500ml) water and again bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce the sauce down until it has thickened some and then add the leftover turkey or tandoori turkey tikka.
  7. Allow to cook until you are happy with the sauce consistency. It should be quite thick and coating the meat nicely.
  8. Adjust the flavours by trying the sauce and adding more chilli powder if needed and salt to taste.
  9. whisk in the yoghurt of leftover marinade one teaspoon at a time and then add the kasoori methi, garam masala and lemon juice. You can let the curry simmer over a low heat while you prepare the bacon.
  10. In a small frying pan over medium heat, add the bacon bits and fry until crispy. This should take about 10 minutes. You might need to add a little oil to the pan but they streaky bacon I purchase has plenty of fat on it to cook in its own fat.
  11. Serve the curry over rice, garnished with coriander (cilantro) and the bacon bits.

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I hope you enjoy this easy Christmas turkey curry recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 

Ross F

Saturday 4th of May 2013

I've been looking forward to trying one of your recipies for ages, this is the first one I made and I wasn't disappointed! This recipe is really easy if you do your preparation in advance which is great.

I left out the bacon to try and be a bit healthier. The marinated turkey was delicious even though I think I may have slightly over-cooked it.

The only thing I would say is that I thought the citrus fruit slightly overpowered all the other great tastes, so if/when I make it again I'll only juice one lemon for the sauce.

Can't wait to try another one :)

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 8th of May 2013

Thanks Ross

I'm really glad you liked the recipe. I am a citrus fan. LOL. I'm hoping to visit the restaurant that inspired this recipe again shortly for more recipes.

Thanks again. Dan

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