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Deboned Tandoori Turkey

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Tandoori Turkey

This one is a winner! I promise.

In order to make this recipe, you will first need to debone your turkey. Here’s how I did it.

Over the years I have tried hundreds of turkey recipes. I’ve brined them, marinated them, fried them, smoked them, injected them, pretty much done everything with them.

This year I decided to do something different. Tandoori chicken is a real favourite around my house but my chicken recipes never seemed to work well with a turkey. That was until I made this deboned and tied version. If you like your spice, you’ve got to give this a go.

My friends at Farmer’s Choice sent me a couple of free range turkeys to experiment with this year and the one above was put to good use. The other is still in my freezer so watch this space.

With this recipe I wanted to really get into the meat. This is something that is difficult to do with a normal turkey but after deboning mine, it became a delicious reality.

The turkey marinated for 36 long hours before I stuck it in my wood burning oven. If you happen to have one, use it for this. If not, a normal oven will do just fine. There is so much flavour in this bird.

One optional ingredient is ancho or California chilli paste. Ancho and California chillies are mild but have a lot of flavour. They are very popular in the US and Mexico and they are also available here in the UK! If you can find them, you’ll want to add this paste to your marinade. Here’s how to make it:

Making tandoori turkey

Look for dried Ancho or California peppers

Making tandoori turkey

Destem and remove the seeds. Then dry fry until fragrant pressing down on them so they roast evenly.

Making tandoori turkey

Soak in boiling water for 30 minutes and then blend with about 4 tablespoons of the water.


By the way, when it comes to rolling up your turkey, you could use normal knots but tying butchers knots will be even better. After watching the following excellent video by Scott Rea, I have become the official local butcher knot king! Thanks Scott.


My turkey was four kilos (8 lbs) in weight. For your information, a turkey needs to be cooked for 15 minutes per 500g (1 lb) and then an additional 30 minutes.

Tandoori turkey

Turkey marinating in lime juice and salt.

Tandoori turkey

Making slits in the meat for the marinade and to equal out the surface.

Tandoori turkey

Mixing the marinade!

Tandoori turkey

Don’t forget to make lots of little holes in the meat to help the marinade get into it.

Tandoori turkey

Massage the marinade right into the meat.

Making Tandoori Turkey

Tie it all up good and tight.

Tandoori turkey

If you have some tandoori paste on hand, be sure to spread it all over the skin.

Making tandoori turkey

Once marinated, place it covered in your oven.

Tandoori turkey

The turkey soaked up the marinade. I’ll be doing this again!

tandoori turkey

I can honestly say this was the best turkey ever!

Tandoori turkey

Dig in! Make this and you deserve it.




Yield: 8 - 10

Deboned & Tied Tandoori Turkey

Deboned & Tied Tandoori Turkey
Prep Time 1 day 12 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 1 day 15 hours


  • 1 x 4000g deboned free range turkey (weight before deboning)
  • 450ml plain yogurt
  • 125g melted butter
  • 2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika or red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid powder
  • 3 teaspoon flaky salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 quantity Ancho/California chilli paste (optional)
  • Juice of three limes
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori paste
  • 500ml turkey or chicken stock
  • 300ml sour cream
  • More salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place your boned turkey (meat side up) on a clean work surface and squeeze the lime juice all over it. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so flaky salt and allow to sit while you make your marinade.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, garlic and ginger pastes, butter, tandoori powder, chilli powder, turmeric, citric acid powder, cumin powder, garam masala, the rest of the salt and the ancho chilli paste if using.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make about fifty small holes in the meat. You should also make a few large slits in the breast meat and try to make the surface of the turkey equal. If you have any small pieces of meat from when you deboned your turkey, place them on top.
  4. Sprinkle the surface with the chopped coriander and then massage about half of the marinade into the meat. Retain the rest for the gravy.
  5. Tie the turkey into a tight roll and allow the marinade to do it's job for 24 to 36 hours.
  6. When ready to cook, take your turkey out of the fridge and let sit until it is at room temperature. For a little added spicy deliciousness, rub tandoori paste all over the skin.
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 250c (480f)
  8. Cover your turkey with foil and place in a roasting pan in the centre of your oven.
  9. Reduce the heat to 180c (360f) and cook for two hours, basting the meat regularly.
  10. Remove the foil and increase the temperature of your oven to 250c (480f) to brown the skin. Watch the turkey carefully so that you don't burn it and continue cooking until the internal temperature is 70c (160f).
  11. Remove from the oven to rest for a good half hour and a carving board. During this time, the turkey will continue cooking and will rise in temperature to 74c (165f).
  12. Meanwhile, make your gravy. Skim any excess fat from the roasting tray and place over medium heat on the hob (that's a stove for my American friends) and then stir in the turkey/chicken stock.
  13. Bring to a simmer and then add the remaining marinade one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously. It is important not to add too much of the yogurt based marinade at once or it will curdle.
  14. Continue whisking and then add the sour cream one tablespoon at a time. Check for seasoning and keep warm.
  15. Carve your tandoori turkey and top with the spicy gravy. We're talking food heaven here!

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