It’s the season for holiday get-togethers, and for me that means it’s also the season of obsessively over thinking dinner menus. I generally host at least a few holiday gatherings with both friends and family, and am always looking for new, interesting, and crowd-pleasing recipes.
When it comes to my family though, “crowd-pleasing” isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. The grand kids are always after something traditional like a turkey roast, and the grandparents are craving take away from their favourite desi joint. (Me, I’m the crush generation – I live for mac & cheese and aloo paranthas – go figure.) Well this year I’m pleased as punch, because I think I’ve cracked the recipe that will satisfy both sides of the spectrum – Nimbu Turkey (Lemon Turkey).
This recipe for Nimbu Turkey is a sort of blend of lemon chicken (with tharka) my mom makes, the lemon pepper tofu I make, and a nimbu chicken recipe I saw on one of Sanjyot Kheer’s, My Food Lab videos. It’s made without onion or tomato – which is a shocker coming out of a Punjabi kitchen! It doesn’t have any haldi or red chili powder, but it still packs a spicy peppery taste, and most importantly, it’s finished with fresh lemon juice & kasuri methi which gives it a warm citrus flavour.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I love re-inventing my family’s favourite recipes with turkey because it’s a lean & health protein. I’ve worked with a lot of different cuts and types of turkey like – keema (ground), turkey breast, bone in drumstick, and even a whole turkey, but for a proper Indian curry, my favourite is boneless skinless turkey thighs. The dark meat adds so much to the flavour of our dishes, and pairs really well with fresh masalas.
As much as I love doing a whole turkey over the holidays (I am cooking one on Christmas Eve), using different cuts lets me make a variety of dishes in way less time! That’s something I really appreciate around the holidays. Also when you make a gravy based dish, the leftovers are so easy to pack up for work lunches, or to reheat the next day for dinner. And the best part about this Nimbu Turkey is that it just gets better with time.
If you have any hesitation about cooking turkey, using cuts is the perfect way to get started, but there are also a lot of tutorials and recipes on the Canadian Turkey website that can help. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Enough talk, let’s get to the good stuff now, my recipe for Nimbu Turkey. If you make it, leave me a comment and let me know how it turns out, or tag me in a pic on Instagram!
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless turkey thighs
¼ cup water
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1 tbs coriander powder
½ tbs cumin powder
1 tsp ground black pepper powder
½ tbs lemon juice
salt to taste
1 cup yogurt
1 tbs oil
1 tbs butter
1 ½ tbs garlic chopped
1 inch ginger chopped
3 whole green chilies (with slits) – adjust to taste
pinch of ground black pepper
½ tbs ground kasuri methi
1 ½ tsp garam masala
3 tbs lemon juice – freshly squeezed
1 tsp lemon zest
Soak cashews and almonds in boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove from water, grind into a paste – add up to a ¼ cup of water to thin out the paste as needed. You don’t want a runny consistency, it should be a paste.
Mix the turkey thighs with nut paste, ginger garlic paste, coriander, cumin, black pepper, lemon juice, salt, and yogurt. (As listed under marinade).
Heat the oil & butter, then add in the garlic, ginger, and green onions – brown lightly on medium heat for 1-2 minutes to create a tempering.
Add marinated turkey to tempering, stir continuously and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
Uncover and add black pepper, kasuri methi, garam masala, lemon zest & juice, as listed under finishing spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Plate & garnish with dehydrated lemon slices (optional). Serve with naan, lacha parantha, or fresh rotis to soak up the delicious nimbu turkey gravy.
*This post is sponsored by Canadian Turkey, all opinions are my own.