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Easy Leftover Turkey Curry

Spice up your Christmas leftovers with my Easy Leftover Turkey Curry. A delicious aromatic curry of cooked turkey, onions and peppers in a creamy, spicy masala sauce.

It’s a great way to use up leftover roast turkey from Christmas or Thanksgiving. Easy, quick and made from scratch with pantry staples.

This spicy treat can be on your Boxing Day table in just 40 minutes.

A bowl of Easy Leftover Turkey Curry in a balti bowl with naan.

The secret to the best leftover turkey curry is to cook the spicy masala sauce first. After that, just add the cooked turkey and yogurt and heat through for 5 to 10 minutes. The result is succulent tender pieces of turkey as you’ve removed the risk of toughening the meat through over-cooking.

Start by softening the onion, add the Indian spices and then simmering the tomatoes and peppers. Add the creamy Greek yogurt and leftover turkey chunks and heat through until piping hot. And there you have it.

Easy leftover turkey curry, a real crowd pleaser and the perfect answer to what to do with turkey leftovers.

A casserole of creamy masala turkey curry and a spoon with naan.

We love creamy turkey curry with homemade naan bread from our stash in the freezer. Any leftover roast potatoes ? Give them my easy Bombay Potatoes treatment and you’ll have a Boxing Day Indian feast.

After all the rush and prep beforehand and then Christmas Day itself, we like to enjoy a relaxing Boxing Day. That includes easy, quick comfort food to enjoy whilst watching a Boxing Day film.

A casserole of creamy masala turkey curry.

We take it in turns to choose the menu, the only stipulation being that we use leftovers. Last year OH chose Leftover Turkey and Ham Pie – with a side of homemade oven chips and half a naan !

Why you’ll love this recipe

Here’s why this is the best leftover turkey curry recipe.

  • The masala sauce is made first so you don’t overcook the succulent leftover turkey and turn it into tough meat.
  • Made with pantry and fridge staples.
  • It’s adaptable – add a bit more heat or tone it down with more or less chilli flakes. And if you haven’t got the individual spices, use a couple of tablespoons of curry powder.
  • Each generous serving comes in at just under 300 calories.

What equipment do I need ?

  • Shallow casserole pan – I used an enamelled cast iron shallow casserole which enables the curry to cook quicker.
  • Digital cooking thermometer – Optional: I used my Thermapen to check the temperature of the cooked turkey.

What ingredients do I need ?

Pepper, yogurt, passata, onion, vegetable oil, salt, leftover turkey, spices, ginger garlic and tomato paste measured out on plates.
  • Onions – I’ve used brown onions, diced.
  • Bell pepper – I’ve just used one red pepper sliced
  • Leftover turkey – I like to use the lower fat content breast meat but leg or thigh meat works too.
  • Garlic, tomato paste, salt and fresh ginger form the body for the spicy tomato based sauce.
  • Indian spices – ground cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric, chilli flakes, black pepper and garam masala. If you don’t want to buy all the individual spices just to make this curry, there is an alternative. You can simply add 2 tablespoons of medium curry powder instead.
  • Passata – sieved tomatoes give a naturally thick and smooth sauce with no need for additional thickeners.
  • Greek yogurt – use regular Greek yogurt. Low fat or fat free yogurt will split the masala sauce.
  • Coriander/ cilantro – optional but adding a vibrancy to the finished curry.

How to make Easy Leftover Turkey Curry

  • Heat oil in a shallow casserole dish and add diced onions and salt.
  • Cover with lid and leave the onions to soften.
Softening diced onions with oil and salt in a shallow casserole pan.
  • Add the spices, ginger, garlic and tomato puree before frying gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in passata and sliced red bell pepper and simmer.
Making masala sauce step by step, onions with spices, garlic, ginger and tomato paste. Adding passata and sliced peppers..
  • Add yogurt and leftover cooked turkey and bring back to a simmer. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the turkey is piping hot all the way through.
Adding yogurt and cooked turkey breast chunks to masala sauce.
  • I like to use my digital cooking thermometer to check the turkey is thoroughly cooked. The temperature reading should be at least 70 C / 158 F when inserted into a chunk of turkey meat.
Thermapen inserted into a chunk of turkey showing 79.2 centigrade.
  • Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve.

How To Serve Easy Leftover Turkey Curry

Serve with homemade naan bread or rice.
For a full-on homemade takeaway night why not try our Bombay Potatoes with your Easy Leftover Turkey Curry ?

A casserole of creamy masala turkey curry with naan.

Recipe FAQs

Can you reheat leftover turkey curry ?

No. Food safety guidelines advise against reheating leftovers more than once because of the real risk of food poisoning.

Can you freeze curry made from leftover turkey ?

No. I wouldn’t recommend freezing Leftover Turkey Curry because the meat has already been reheated. To then freeze, defrost and reheat again goes against the advise of not reheating leftovers more than once.

More Indian Style Curry Recipes….

Beef Madras Curry
Slow Cooker Chicken Balti
Slow Cooker Chicken Jalfrezi

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A bowl of Easy Leftover Turkey Curry with naan bread and curry being made in a pan.
A bowl of creamy masala turkey curry in a balti bowl with naan.

Easy Leftover Turkey Curry

Spice up your Christmas leftovers with my Easy Leftover Turkey Curry. A delicious aromatic curry of cooked turkey, onions and peppers in a creamy, spicy masala sauce.
It's a great way to use up leftover roast turkey from Christmas or Thanksgiving. Easy, quick and made from scratch with pantry staples. This spicy treat can be on your Boxing Day table in just 40 minutes.
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Course: Main
Cuisine: British Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • Shallow casserole pan I used an enamelled cast iron shallow casserole
  • Digital cooking thermometer Optional: to check the temperature of the cooked turkey.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed / Canola oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree / paste
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 440 g passata / sieved tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 200 g Greek yogurt
  • 500 g leftover cooked turkey meat cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander / cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a shallow casserole dish and add diced onions. Add salt and stir.
  • Cover casserole with lid and leave the onions to soften for 5 minutes on a gentle heat.
  • Add the spices, ginger, garlic and tomato puree and fry gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in passata and sliced red bell pepper and simmer for 25 minutes with the lid on.
  • Add yogurt and leftover cooked turkey and bring back to a simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. The turkey needs to be piping hot all the way through. If using a digital food probe thermometer, select a large chunk of turkey meat to test. The temperature reading should be at least 70 C / 158 F.
  • Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve with rice or naan breads.

Notes

  • Substitute 2 tablespoons of medium curry powder instead of individual spices.
  • Use regular Greek yogurt. Low fat or fat free yogurt will split the masala sauce.
  • Not suitable for reheating or freezing. Food safety guidelines advise against reheating leftovers more than once because of the risk of food poisoning.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 792mg | Potassium: 1033mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1715IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 5mg

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