“Mama are we really really having a feast today?!” exclaimed my 4 year old when she saw this big gorgeous bird on the table. My 8 year old ran out and followed suit with an enthusiastic “woohoo Thanksgiving!” Since we are all friends here I will freely admit that this didn’t exactly happen on Thanksgiving since I am sharing this recipe with you a few days before! It did however give me a serious pause and I began to wonder why it is that although Canada Day, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc have so naturally become part of our lives we had yet to adopt the tradition of a Thanksgiving dinner. We value family and spending together, we teach our kids to express gratitude for blessings big and small. Yet, yet…
And you know what I think? I actually think it comes down to the Turkey. I think it is the idea of putting together this meal that is so daunting. Eid parties we have done and seen done our whole lives, we know the tips and tricks. But this mama would not have ventured forth on this new culinary adventure had it not been for the support of her amazing SIL (Hey Renae!) and all the fantastic resources on the Canadian Turkey site.
There is something about a Turkey and about our preconceptions regarding Thanksgiving meals with their cranberries sauces and stuffings that we struggle to wrap our heads around. So let’s take a breath shall we?
Imagine something utterly delicious, like the flavours of a Lahori Chargha, a moist delicious chargha, with those pungent spices and the bonus of crispy charred flavour laden skin. There is the familiar lachha paratha, that spicy green chutney, perhaps a drizzle of your favourite tamarind sauce thrown on. Some rice on the side, a little salad, and the satisfying fizz of your soda of choice. Now that is an experience we can all get behind, right?
Here is some good news. It is so entirely doable. So, this Canadian Turkey Month, get over the nerves and just make this Desi Roast Turkey.
What do you need to do? Three simple steps. 1.) Brine the turkey in a sugar-salt mix to amp up it’s natural flavours, 2.) Marinade for 24 hours and 3.) Roast for about 2.5. Big bonus? Turkeys are big (and reasonably priced) which makes it a frugal main that you won’t have to make twenty of to feed your large immediate family. Even bigger bonus? When you look at that impressive bird and take your first bite of it’s juicy dark meat you will feel like the Boss of Thanksgiving. Bring on the Feasts friends, bring them on.
Desi Roast Turkey with Lahori Chargha Masala and Green Chutney
- 12-14 lb Canadian Turkey
To Brine the Turkey:
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- Enough water to completely submerge the turkey
For the Turkey Marinade:
- 150 g chargha masala
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 4 tbsp ginger
- 4 tbsp garlic
- 6 tbsp butter softened
- ½ cup + 1 cup yoghurt
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- ½ clove garlic
- ¾ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp cumin seed powder
- 5 green chillies
To Brine the Turkey
- Two days before roasting the turkey place the turkey in a large pot or container big enough to submerge it. Ensure that the giblets have been removed and the cavity is clean.
- Warm a cup full of water and mix the brown sugar and salt into it. Add enough water to cover the turkey. Cover and set aside for 12-24 hours
- Take the brined turkey out of the fridge, drain the brine and pat the Turkey dry.
- Place the turkey in a dish – you can use the roaster you will roast it in as well.
- Whisk the marinade ingredients except the butter in a bowl. Reserve the squeezed lemons for later.
- Stir in your softened butter
- Now with clean hands (or gloves) lift the skin at the bottom of the turkey breast, it will separate from the breast meat. Stuff about ⅕ of your marinade mixture into each breast half.
- Shmear the rest over the back, legs, and wings of the turkey. If using butter it may not go on like a smooth even paste but that's fine!
- Spread any remaining marinade on top of the turkey breasts
- Stuff the cavity with the juiced lemons.
- Leave uncovered in the fridge.
- The day you are going to roast the turkey pull it out of the fridge a few hours before roasting to bring it to room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 450F, place the oven tray on the last rack.
- Roast the Turkey till the top is a gorgeous brown colour, some of the masala will look charred and that is delicious. This will take about 30 minutes
- Drop the temperature to 350 F, tent the turkey with foil and roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 170 degrees F, this took me another 1 hour and 50 minutes over and above the initial bake time.
- Let the turkey meat rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
- Serve with the green chutney, parathas, and a simple sabzi pulao.
- Blitz half a cup of yogurt, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, the salt, red chilli powder, green chillies, and garlic in a food processor till smooth. Pour into a bowl and whisk in an additional cup of yogurt.
- You can sub any neutral oil for the butter in the marinade recipe, it will give you a smoother paste. However I do suggest basting with a little melted butter then right at the end for optimal flavour!
Ready to become a Desi Roast Turkey boss, but need a little more info?
It's okay, I get it! Below are three links that will make you feel like a Turkey expert before you even put that Turkey in the oven!
- Here you can learn more about the health benefits of this delicious protein.
- Here is a host of tips and tricks for roasting a whole bird
- And finally, a Thanksgiving guide, with a ton of planning suggestions!
So what do you think? Are you ready to #TryTurkeyToday?
My Halal foodies if you’re wondering where to buy halal turkeys then your butchers are happy to order them in for you, and grocery store chains like Freshco and Superstore are carrying them as well! Go and get yours so that you can start cooking a Desi Roast Turkey too!
Disclaimer: This post is #sponsored and part of the Canadian Turkey #TryTurkeyToday campaign. The opinions and love of masala-licious turkey are entirely my own.
If you want another desi friendly Turkey main then here's an easy Turkey Biryani that we love!