Leftover Turkey Curry

Leftover Turkey Curry Recipe (4)

Christmas is over for another year and though I expect most of you will already have snaffled up any leftovers, there may be just a little turkey still lurking in the fridge/freezer. We always make far too much food at this time of year – it can be quite difficult to judge – but it’s always nice to enjoy cold meats and stuffing in the days following Christmas. Indeed, having Leftover Turkey Curry has become something of a tradition in our house and for good reason! This is a creamy and fragrant curry that packs quite a punch and brings out the best of a meat that can often be quite dry.

Being so large, turkey is a bird that requires quite come cooking. Accordingly, it is considerably less succulent than chicken and can be rather unpleasant when eaten cold. However, turkey does have a good flavour and works well in the right sort of dish. This leftover turkey curry recipe, for instance, makes use of coconut milk and has a great deal of sauce, which serves to keep the meat moist. A generous cooking time is also vital as this will allow the juices and flavour of the coconut milk to penetrate the large chunks of meat.

Leftover Turkey Curry Recipe (3)

When using leftover meat in a dish like this I find it best to use the largest chunks possible. Be mindful that during the cooking process small pieces of turkey are more likely to break apart, their meatiness lost. Of course, chicken would also be appropriate here and it needn’t even be from leftovers. Indeed, if using raw chicken simply add the meat around 20 minutes before serving so as to retain any succulence.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are quite prepared for New Year revelry.

Leftover Turkey Curry

Serves 6


• 3 tbsp oil

• 6 cloves

• 10 cardamom pods

• 10 peppercorns

• 2 onions, finely sliced

• 2 tsp cumin seed, ground

• 1 tsp coriander seed, ground

• 1 tsp turmeric

• 1 tsp red chilli flakes

• a large thumb of fresh ginger, minced

• 2 tomatoes, minced

• 3 bay leaves

• 400ml full-fat coconut milk

• 700g leftover turkey

• 1 tsp garam masala

• 5 cloves of garlic sliced

• 200ml water

• 1 tsp salt

• A handful of fresh coriander

• 1-2 red chillies


1. Heat the oil in a large, thick-based pan and gently toast the cloves, cardamom pods and peppercorns. Tip in the onions and cook until translucent and golden brown.

2. Scatter in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes before incorporating the ginger, tomatoes and bay leaves.

3. Pour in the coconut milk, followed by the chunks of turkey. Cook this gently for 30-40 minutes before stirring through the garam masala, garlic, water and salt. Cook for a further 30 minutes, reduce a little if too watery.

4. Finely chop some fresh coriander and red chilli together. Serve the curry with rice or flatbread, scattering over the coriander and chilli.

Leftover Turkey Curry Recipe (2) Leftover Turkey Curry Recipe (1)

Cost: I never know whether to include the price of leftover ingredients in the cost of a dish. On the one hand, it is food that would otherwise go to waste. On the other, many people buy too much food to ensure leftovers. In the interest of being as honest as possible I will include the price of the meat, but keep in mind that it is food that would otherwise have ended up in the bin. As such, this delicious leftover turkey curry should set you back no more than around £10.

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26 comments on “Leftover Turkey Curry

  1. Arthur in the Garden!
    December 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm


  2. Dr Dan
    December 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    That’s my kind of curry!

  3. Korena in the Kitchen
    December 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Looks wonderful and fragrant. Hope you had a great Christmas Nick!

  4. angelica | table twenty eight
    December 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    That looks really delicious… I happen to have the equivalent of my body weight in chicken leftovers and now I think I have a solution to this problem. Cheers!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Well, I hope you find time to make it at some point – it’s a wonderful dish.

  5. chef mimi
    December 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Love the addition of the red chile peppers! Beautiful!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      It’s good to get plenty of colour into a dish, makes it far more attractive!

  6. Misky
    December 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I nearly wish I’d roasted a turkey this year. Did ham instead, most of which is gone now. But curry sure sounds good, Nick.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      We did both, as usual. So much food! Glad I made this to get rid of it all!

  7. Conor Bofin
    December 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Good use of the leftovers Nick. We avoid the turkey on the grounds that we don’t enjoy the dry sandwiches and other such like. It looks really lovely.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      My family sort of insist on it, though I’d rather not have it. Still, this does the meat proud.

  8. Stephanie
    December 30, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Looks delicious! A nice alternative to the usual post-Thanksgiving turkey casseroles, although I do love those too. 😀 Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I’m not such a casserole fan, I have to say! Happy New Year!

  9. Kim Bultman
    December 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This sounds much more flavorful than my post-holiday creamed turkey over baking powder biscuits. Thanks for your creative ideas and Happy New Year to you, too!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Well, I’m glad you think so! Happy New Year!

  10. Karen
    December 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Your curry looks delicious…will have to do it with chicken.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Delicious – make sure to use big chunks 😀

  11. Chica Andaluza
    December 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    It looks so beautiful and I have some leftover goose in my freezer just waiting to be turned into someting like this!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      That sounds like a wonderful, delicious idea!

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