Easy Tandoori Turkey recipe for Thanksgiving

Tandoor” is clay oven fired by wood charcoal that people believe exists in every household in India (another misconception, although not as interesting as snake charmers!) But we will use a regular oven and create the same magic!

“Tandoori Spice” is a mix of spices that are applied to the traditional Tandoori Chicken.
“Tandoori Turkey” is my desire to make everything spicy and interesting (We brought spices to wine tasting… so how could we leave turkey behind!)
So here goes… An Indian recipe for your Thanksgiving table!
Locate a LOCAL YOUNG Turkey – about 15 to 18 lbs. I get mine from Nature’s Touch in Atascadero! A good-nurtured, previously unfrozen bird, makes a huge difference.

SPICE ITMaking the Tandoori Spice
Two ways to do it:
a) MAKE IT YOURSELF: This is a tandoori spice rub that you can use on Turkey, Chicken, Paneer or Cauliflower. So make some and store away…
½ cup mild red chillies
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, 2 inch sticks of cinnamon
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp dried ground garlic
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground turmeric
Spice Rub
Roast all the whole spices in a hot, heavy pan until each of the spices smell heavenly. . (DO NOT ROAST NUTMEG!)
Cool the spices down, mix the ground spices and blend - you can use a coffee blender. This recipe makes around 1 cup of tandoori masala
b) We will have a tandoori mix available for you. More on that below..

MARINATE ITLetting the bird get yummier overnight!
In a nonreactive 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 kosher salt according to your taste.

Whisk it all together, keep ¾ cup away (very important), and then marinate the bird inside out. Leave it overnight in a refrigerator.
Tandoori Marinade
Cooked Turkey 
COOK ITAs you did every year!
Remove the bird from the refrigerator, one hour before it goes into the oven.

Put a few onion halves, lemon halves and ginger slices inside the cavity of the bird.

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.

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 “Tandoor” ready!
“TANDOOR IT”Creating tandoor Magic in your kitchen!
This is where we convert the oven into a tandoor- well, sort of!
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).

“FLAUNT IT”Play with the cuts and colors and flavors
Remove the bird from oven and let sit for 10 mins. Collect Au jus in a separate bowl. 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 Mint and Cilantro. And, of course, the Au Jus.

WINE PAIRING! the “Umami” of it all!

The whole idea about paring wine is to pair with the seasonings and the sauces, not the protein (a common mistake). Regardless of whether you make this recipe or not, please use this principle to pair the wines for your Thanksgiving table.
As for the Tandoori – what better than a LXV Rising Tempo to complement the spiciness and savoriness! And the smokiness and tobacco notes of Tempranillo complement the “tandoor” style!

To purchase LXV 2012 Rising Tempo and the tandoori spice (made fresh for you), click here - OVERNIGHT SHIPPING guaranteed!

And if you have any questions about the pairings for your Thanksgiving table – Tandoori or not – please feel free to email me at neeta@lxvwine.com
Rising Tempo 
NEXT MORNING!the best part of Thanksgiving !
When the last car leaves, remove the left over turkey and try these recipes:
  • As tacos with wheat tortillas, a layer of egg (like an omelet), turkey pieces, and a garnish of mint chutney.
  • Put some mozzarella on the left over naans, add the turkey, some fresh bell peppers, and stick it in the oven for a flatbread
  • Turkey panini?
  • Heat oil, fry some cumin, cooked basmati rice and turkey
  • You can always drop off left overs for me at the Lounge :)
JOIN US  – Sunday Tandoori luncheon at LXV Barn !
Sun, Dec 7th, Noon to 3PM

There will 30 mins of LXV Wine tasting, while we will discuss "tandoor" styles, followed by a family style luncheon. You can buy wine by the glass or by the bottle for the table. 
Buy tickets at: http://bit.ly/1v3h1tI 
Or contact us at info@lxvwine.com | 805-296-1902


  1. as thanksgiving is just around the corner i am going to hoard lots of interesting recipes and try out the best from it. i really like this one it is very different. keep posting more

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