Tandoori turkey, anyone?

Just recently, we had the privilege of being featured in The Journal's Bon Appetit magazine! With fantastic national names like Kirsty Allsopp, and local treasures like Rachel Green for company, the pressure was certainly on.

I have been eagerly waiting to do this fantastic Indian twist on a traditional roast dinner. Tandoori flavours are a house favourite here at Masala Masters, and it seemed only right to play to our strengths. The smoky, chargrilled flavour of tandoori spices is balanced out by subtle hints of seasoning and herbs that are scattered across the accompanying vegetable dishes, bringing the entire meal together in an explosion of tastes.

The star of the show, of course, is the whole roasted bird. Turkey or chicken, when it has been given a fair chance to absorb that delicious marinade, roasting it just brings out the best a bird can offer. Regularly basted with ghee or butter, the roast acquires that perfect balance of a crisp outside and succulent inside.

If you'd like to create your own Indian Christmas dinner, here are the recipes that featured in ours:

Whole Tandoori chicken or turkey with tikka sauce


Whole chicken or turkey weighing approximately 1.5kg, skin removed

200g cream cheese

2-3 tbsp Dijon mustard

2-3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

4 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

2tbsp oil or butter

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

juice of 1 lemon

salt to taste.

For the tikka sauce:

2 red onions finely chopped

2-3 vine tomatoes chopped in chunks

2tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

fresh coriander to garnish.


Preparing the chicken

In order that the marinade infuses the chicken well, it is important to prepare the bird correctly.

Make deep gashes over the legs and breast, making sure to make slits on the fat lines between the thigh and drumstick.

For the first marinade, apply 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, half the ginger garlic paste, some salt, and all the lemon juice to the chicken. Rub in well and set aside for 30 minutes.

For the second marinade, mix together cream cheese, mustard, oil/butter, the remaining chilli powder and ginger garlic paste, turmeric, garam masala, and salt in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. Apply this second marinade to the chicken and rub it in well. Ensure all the gashes and slits are coated well. Ideally, allow the chicken to rest for 1-2 hours in the second marinade.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the bird on a wire rack in a roasting tin and pour 1 cup of water in the dish. Place in the middle of the oven, roasting for approximately one and a half hours. Remember to baste the bird every half hour to ensure a moist, succulent finish.

For the tikka sauce, heat 1 tbsp of butter in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to splutter, add the ginger garlic paste and roast until the raw smell or garlic disappears. Next, add onions and fry to a golden crown colour. Add tomatoes and cover to cook till tomatoes soften. Next, add the spices and stir well. Leave the sauce covered and simmering until the oil separates from the sauce. That indicates that the sauce is ready. If it’s too thick for your liking, add ½ a cup of water and adjust the consistency.

Check on the chicken. After approximately one and a half hours, the chicken should have a lovely charred appearance, and the meat should have started to come away from the bone.

Serve whole at the table, with piping hot tikka sauce.


Most Indian vegetable dishes can be put together quite simply by using some basic spices – chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, and ground coriander. If you want to add a slight twist to your weekly veg, a sprinkling of these basic spices will do the trick.

Minted lamb kebabs:


500 gm lean lamb mince

100 gm cream cheese

2 tsp ginger and garlic paste

1 chopped green chilli

4-5 sprigs of fresh mint finely chopped

salt to taste

oil for frying

3 tbsp gram flour.


Dry roast the gram flour on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, mash together all the ingredients to a smooth mixture. Grease your palms with a little oil and make little sausage shaped kebabs.

In a shallow pan, heat 4-5 tbsp of oil. Gently fry kebabs on medium high heat, turning carefully to cook on all sides. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they are fully cooked. It should take approximately 7-10 minutes for each batch of kebabs.

Serve on a bed of crunchy onions.

Cumin and Fenugreek roast potatoes

Par boil diced potatoes. Toss them with some oil, 1 tsp of cumin and 2 tsp dried fenugreek, some salt and black pepper, and roast alongside the chicken for 30-40 minutes, or until brown on top.

Garlic and green chilli Broccoli and French Beans

Thinly slice broccoli and French beans. Heat some oil or butter in a wok. If you have black mustard seeds at hand, add 1 tsp to the pan. When they start to splutter, add chopped garlic and green chillis (as per preference). Toss in the vegetables and stir fry.

Lightly spiced carrots, swede, and peas

Chop carrots and swede into small cubes. In a pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add 1 tsp cumin, and some chopped garlic. When they start to splutter, add the veg. Add 1 tsp of ground coriander, 1-2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder, ½ tsp of turmeric and salt to taste. Mix well and cover to cook.

Fragrant basmati rice

1 cup of dry rice will serve approximately 3-4 people. Wash the rice 3-4 times in cold running water, until it runs almost clear.

The ratio of water to rice is crucial. For every 1 cup of rice, take 1 and ½ cups of water. Put the rice and water in a sufficiently large saucepan. Add an assortment of whole spices – small stick of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves of cardamom, 3-4 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 5-6 whole black peppercorns, 1-2 tsp of cumin seeds. With a dash of oil and a sprinkle of salt, set the pan to boil on high heat. When the water comes to a strong boil, turn the heat down to medium and cover to cook for 15-17 minutes.

Turn of the heat and leave the lid on for a further 20 minutes. The steam will finish cooking the rice.

To serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Do try this at home and let us know if you do!


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