Leftover Turkey: Tikka Masala
This Turkey Tikka Masala recipe features:
- Great way to use leftover turkey for an Indian inspired dish
- This warm spiced dish ensures your turkey doesn’t just taste like Thanksgiving leftovers!
- 30 minutes total time
The problem with most leftover turkey dishes is that the resulting dish still tastes like Thanksgiving dinner. We like to feature international recipes that can utilize the containers full of leftover turkey in the refrigerator, using flavorful spices.
In fact, this same recipe can be used with leftover chicken (like rotisserie chicken) or leftover grilled shrimp. We’ve even threw in already-cooked cocktail shrimp for a delicious meal.
We adapted the recipe from Takeout Kit, an innovative meal delivery service that specializes in pantry-friendly meal kits. We’ll be doing a full review on their product very soon. Their kit includes everything you need to cook this dish, except for the leftover turkey!
All the ingredients in this recipe can be found in most large supermarket chains, which makes this Turkey Tikka Masala recipe so friendly for anyone to try.
Tikka Masala Seasoning
You can find this spice blend at Walmart and most large grocery stores, either in the spice aisle or in the International section. Or, you can make your own, if you have a full spice cabinet.
The Tikka Masala seasoning can come dried in powder form, like most ground spices. Or in a concentrated paste that comes in a small jar.
You can also find a Tikka Masala ready-to-eat sauce, which is called a “simmer sauce.” The simmer sauce includes nearly all of the ingredients you’ll need in the recipe, and transforms this into a 7-minute dish (but you’ll still need to cook the rice, which takes about 20 minutes). If you’re using simmer sauce, sauté the onions, garlic in the recipe. Add in garbanzo beans, the simmer sauce. Cook for a few minutes. Stir in the cooked turkey to warm through. If you are serving four hearty eaters, make sure you get enough simmer sauce. Sometimes the jar is small and I find that I really need to use 2 jars. I like my Tikka Masala really saucy.
All week long, we’ve been creating and testing “leftover turkey recipes.” Rather than cook a turkey from scratch…and then having to cook another one for Thanksgiving dinner, we received a whole, already-roasted turkey from Diestel Ranch (you can find their turkeys at Whole Foods or purchase them online). Diestel Family Turkey Ranch is a fourth-generation family company – they’ve been raising turkeys humanely and sustainably since 1949 at their farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Yosemite. If you want to see how their turkeys are raised, watch their video – which is halfway down this page. They sell uncooked whole turkey, turkey sausage, uncured turkey breast, smoked whole turkey, and more. We wanted to thank Diestel family for sending us a perfectly roasted bird for our recipe testing!
How to Make Leftover Turkey Tikka Masala
Start with making the basmati rice. Adding spices, like the cinnamon stick, whole cloves and whole cardamom is optional – but it really does enhance the flavor of the rice.
Throw in the rice, spices, salt into a saucepan. Add water, bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes, turn off heat. Leave it alone for 5 minutes. Remove spices.
The Tikka Masala comes together really quickly, so while the rice is simmering away, make the Tikka Masala.
Sauté onion and garlic in butter or ghee.
Add in the Tikka Masala seasoning, salt, sugar.
Crushed tomatoes, garbanzo beans.
Coconut milk and dried fenugreek leaves (totally optional)
Simmer for a bit.
Last step is to stir in diced leftover turkey.
Serve over rice.
Leftover Turkey: Tikka Masala Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
2 cups raw basmati rice
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 whole cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon kosher/sea salt
FOR THE TIKKA MASALA
1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons tikka masala seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher/sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
2 cups cooked, diced turkey
1. Make rice: Rinse and drain the rice 3 times, until the water is just barely cloudy. In a medium saucepan with tight fitting lid, add the drained rice, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods and salt. Pour in 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Immediately cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, let sit, undisturbed for 5 minutes.
2. In the meantime, cook the Tikka Masala: In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the butter. When it begins to bubble a bit, add in the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Stir in the Tikka Masala spice, cayenne (if using), salt and sugar. Cook for another minute, stirring.
3. Add in the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, coconut milk, and fenugreek leaves (if using). Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 3 minutes until sauce has a gravy-like consistency. Stir in the cooked turkey, and cook for an additional minute.
4. When rice is finished cooking, fluff with fork and remove rice spices. Serve with the Tikka Masala.