Authentic Indian Tandoori Turkey in Your Oven
Preferably buy an organic Bronze Turkey for its wonderful flavour: about 15 to 18 lbs. You will pay more, but the taste will be fantastic. This is an authentic Indian recipe and actually doesn't taste as hot as you'd imagine.
Below is a tandoori spice rub that you can use on turkey, chicken, paneer or cauliflower. The rest can be stored away in an airtight jar kept in a dark cupboard. Indian spices improve with age, so you could always double the amounts below for another recipe.
¼ cup whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
½ tbsp whole black pepper
½ tbsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds (optional)
3 x 2 inch sticks of cinnamon
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp dried ground garlic
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground turmeric
Marinate the night before:
1. In a non-reactive bowl mix 6 tablespoons of the tandoori spice to 2 cups of whole milk yogurt and 3 tbsp each of fresh ginger and garlic and sea salt according to your taste.
2. Whisk it all together, keep ¾ cup away (very important), and then marinate the bird inside out. Leave it overnight in a refrigerator.
2. Put a few onion halves, lemon halves and ginger slices inside the cavity of the bird.
3. In the oven, lay out a few unglazed ceramic tiles or pizza stones at the bottom shelf. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and cook for 3 to 3.5 hours, continually basting with Indian ghee (or butter) for the first hour and then with the au jus that collects at the bottom of the pan.
4. When you have checked the bird is cooked (180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast), remove the bird from the oven, apply the rest of the tandoori mix we had saved on the outside and let it stand, till we get our oven ready.
5. Crank the heat of the oven up to the highest temperature of the oven – mine goes up to 500C – for about 30 mins. The tiles in the oven retain and radiate heat, like a traditional tandoor. Put the bird back in the oven and cook just enough to create that beautiful crimson charred coating on the outside (about 15 mins).
6. Remove the bird from oven and let sit for 10 mins. Rub lemon juice on the entire bird. Remove the onions, ginger and lemons from the cavity and carve the meat along with the crimson charred skin.
Serve with naan and garnish of chopped onions, tomatoes and lemon juice and sprigs of fresh mint and coriander leaves.
This splendid tandoori turkey would pair well with a good Spanish Reserva or a good beer of your choice.