Turkey Curry


A spiced, tomato-based turkey curry is the perfect use for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. The blend of spices, like mustard seeds and cumin, meld with dried chiles, garam masala, and fresh garlic and ginger for a warming, richly flavored dish finished with a touch of cream. Inspired by the flavor profile of butter chicken, cooked chicken can be substituted for turkey. For a vegetarian version, try with paneer, tofu, chickpeas, or beans.

Turkey curry with rice and naan
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds

  • 2 small dried red chiles (such as de árbol chiles)

  • 1 medium-size (10 ounce) yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (from 6 garlic cloves)

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • ¾ cup water, plus more if desired

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 4 cups shredded cooked turkey (bones and skin removed) (1 pound)

  • ¼ cup dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) (optional)

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Cooked basmati rice or naan


  1. Melt ghee in a Dutch oven over medium. Add mustard seeds and dried red chiles; cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard seeds are mostly done popping, 2 minutes, 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring often, until aromatic and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili powder, garam masala, and coriander; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  2. Add crushed tomatoes to Dutch oven, and scrape bottom of Dutch oven to loosen any browned bits. Bring mixture to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is deep red and very thick, 30 to 35 minutes.

  3. Remove and discard dried red chiles from sauce in Dutch oven. Stir in water, cream, salt, and black pepper. Stir in turkey. Increase heat to medium; gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until turkey is heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste, and, if needed, add additional water desired consistency. Remove from heat. If desired, stir in dried fenugreek. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve alongside basmati rice or naan.

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