Turkey Coconut Milk Curry With Basmati Rice 4.000

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Jan 15, 2014

A homemade turkey broth is preferable, to boost the turkey flavor in this dish, but a good store-bought brand of turkey broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth may be used instead. See the NOTE, below.

Make Ahead: The curry can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (Freeze the rice separately.)

Where to Buy: Kaffir lime leaves add an unmistakable, bright note to this light curry; there is no real substitute. They are available at Indian markets; we've seen them turn up at some Whole Foods Markets, as well.

4 - 5

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-5 servings; makes 8 1/4 cups

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey thighs (fat trimmed), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup finely diced Spanish onion
  • 1 medium rib celery, cut into small dice
  • 1 small carrot, scrubbed well then cut into small dice
  • 2-inch piece peeled ginger root, minced
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder (may substitute a blend of 1 teaspoon coriander seed, seeds from 1 green or brown cardamom pod, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed, 1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium turkey broth (see NOTE)
  • 14 ounces canned low-fat coconut milk (well shaken)
  • 1 cup raw basmati rice, rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup fresh kaffir lime leaves (optional; see headnote)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Lightly season the turkey all over with salt and pepper.

Heat enough of the oil to coat the bottom of a large braising or saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add as much of the turkey as will fit in a single layer; cook just until opaque on the exterior and lightly browned in spots. Transfer to a bowl; add the remaining turkey and repeat the cooking and transferring (no need to add more oil).

Add the onion, celery, carrot, ginger and garlic to the pan, stirring to coat; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant and barely tender. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant, then add the broth, coconut milk and all the turkey, stirring to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring a few times and reducing the heat as needed. The turkey should be pull-apart tender.

While the curry's cooking, prepare the rice according to the package directions.

Uncover the curry and stir in the kaffir lime leaves, if using, half of the lime juice and all of the cilantro. Turn off the heat; the curry should sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Divide the rice among individual wide, shallow bowls.

Discard the kaffir lime leaves, if using. Spoon the curry over the top of each portion. Sprinkle with the remaining lime juice. Serve right away.

NOTE: To make 4 cups of turkey broth, roast 3 turkey necks, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot and 1 rib of celery on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a pot over medium-high heat; make a space at the center to add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and cook for 1 minute before stirring to coat the vegetables. Cover with 4 cups of water and bring just to a boil, skimming off any foam or scum that rises to the surface, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Strain out the solids.

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Recipe Source

From Nick Palermo, executive chef at the Old Angler's Inn in Potomac.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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