Turkey Tikka Masala for National Curry Week

Turkey Tikka MasalaAs it's National Curry Week, I'm going to share one of my favourite curry recipes. My Turkey Tikka Masala is a variation of a James Martin recipe which can be found on the BBC Food website.

I’ve never particularly liked turkey. My family stopped having it for Christmas lunch years ago.

On the journey home from a holiday in Devon, my parents and I stopped for coffee. Flicking through the pages of the Sunday Times Style magazine we spotted a recipe for roast rib of beef. Drooling over the photograph of a sumptuous looking joint, we agreed we’d rather have that for Christmas lunch than a boring old turkey.

During our trip to Devon, we’d visited Wild Beef, a company based at Hillhead Farm in Chagford. They produce fantastic beef from fine old breeds of cattle which freely graze the wilds of Dartmoor. My father had discovered Wild Beef at a Farmers’ Market in Kent and was so impressed he decided to buy from them directly as we were in the area.

Fortunately, Wild Beef deliver all over the country to your door, so that was our Christmas lunch sorted. We had one of the best Xmas meals ever with our roast rib of wild Dartmoor beef. Next time I get round to ordering again, I’ll include a wild beef recipe on this blog, possibly a beef stroganoff.

Back to the curry. I can’t remember why I ended up using turkey rather than chicken, possibly I was being cheap (have you seen the price of chicken breasts these days?) or it may have been all that was left on the supermarket shelf. The main thing is; it worked exceptionally well and ended up being one of the best tikka masalas I’ve cooked. The lean turkey meat absorbs the flavours of the ginger, garlic and chilli nicely. I cubed the turkey and then mixed it by hand with the oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic and chilli – be careful not to touch your eyes, or any other sensitive areas, until you’ve thoroughly washed all traces of chilli from your hands!

In certain recipes, I’ve found cream can make the dish a little too rich and in these cases I experiment by using natural yoghurt instead. This is something I’ve done with Beef Stroganoff, and it worked well, giving the beef a fresher and cleaner taste.

I tried natural yoghurt, instead of double cream, in this recipe and found it made the curry much lighter, but just as tasty. More by accident than design, this curry turned into a much healthier version of the original recipe.

Since using turkey in this dish, I’ve discovered just how healthy it is – it’s one of the leanest meats around, low in fat, a great source of protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. I’m a turkey convert and will be trying some of the recipes on the British Turkey website.

National Curry Week 2012 runs from 8 to 14 October and raises money for The Curry Tree Charitable Fund.

If you're now in the mood for some Indian cookery, here are some of my favourite spicy recipes:

Aloo Gobi
Slow Cooker Beef Curry
Spicy Indian Curry With Yoghurt
Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
Coconut Beef Madras
Tarka Dhal
Chickpea Curry
Turkey Korma