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I might be biased but this really is the best Leftover Turkey Curry you could hope to make. It’s totally creamy with coconut milk and double cream, punchy with spices, garlic, chilli and ginger and is gorgeously relaxing to make. A little bit of chopping, a stir here or there and you’re done.
The main reason that my mum advocates for having turkey every year for Christmas lunch is so we can have Leftover Turkey Curry for Boxing Day dinner. I’m more than happy to comply as not only is it absolutely delicious but it’s also my favourite meal of the year to make. The soothing job of lightly chopping and stirring is a perfectly relaxing Boxing Day task. The promise of Leftover Turkey Curry is the reason that we always get a turkey which is way bigger than we actually need.
This is a curry for a special occasion. Rich, creamy and delicious, after all we’re still celebrating Christmas. It’s a great meal for the whole family and you can amend the chilli heat depending on the age of your youngest contingent.
Why is this Leftover Turkey Curry the one you should make this year?
- It’s so creamy. Using both coconut milk and double cream, this curry is rich and delicious.
- Punchy spices, garlic, chilli and ginger give this curry a tasty kick.
- Roast potatoes – do you add potatoes into your curry? No? Oh my gosh, you need to get on that!!
- It feeds a crowd really well if you still have all your family staying.
- You can make huge batches of this curry for storing in the freezer for cold January nights.
How do you make Leftover Turkey Curry?
- Heat onions on a low heat for 15 minutes to gently caramelise.
- Add spices, garlic, fresh chilli, fresh ginger, tomatoes and chutney.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until pulpy.
- Add the turkey, coconut milk and double cream and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the roast potatoes and cook for a final 15 minutes before sprinkling with fresh coriander and serving.
- Peeling the tomatoes – this sounds fiddly but it’s really easy and if you don’t like bits of tomato skin getting stuck in your teeth then it’s worth the extra step.
How do you peel tomatoes?
Cut a small cross at the base of each tomato and submerge in just boiled water for 5 minutes. The small cut naturally elongates in the heat and creates a split down the sides of the tomato peel. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Leave until cool enough to handle and the skins should peel off pretty easily.
More Pro Tips
- Spices - Dry-fry the whole spices before crushing so they can release a delicious toasty flavour. To crush the spices you can use a pestle and mortar but I have had great use out of my spice grinder (often bought as a coffee mill) and really recommend them.
- Chilli – I love to add the seeds in here as for the adults it give a delicate amount of heat. If you are serving to children you can omit the seeds which is where the real heat lies, or even the red chilli entirely. To be honest I usually just mix my toddler’s portion with extra yoghurt.
- Chutney - It’s totally optional but I recommend adding a tablespoon of chutney to the curry. The sweet vinegary flavour really punches up the curry up a notch. You can use mango chutney but I usually use an open jar of the chutney we used on the Boxing Day cheeseboard. Usually this Boxing Day Ale Chutney.
- Roast Potatoes – If you’re like us you will have tonnes of roasties left over from your Christmas lunch. You will find that adding them to this curry is the best culinary decision you made all year.
Best way to serve Leftover Turkey Curry
How do you make dairy-free Turkey Curry?
Just replace the double cream with coconut cream or more coconut milk.
So obviously here you’ll leave out the turkey. Replace it with any pre-roasted vegetables you have to hand. Butternut squash, pumpkin, cauliflower or carrots would be so delicious here. Switch out the double cream for more coconut milk too.
Can you freeze Leftover Turkey Curry?
Absolutely. We make huge batches of this curry and freeze in portions for enjoying on wintery January nights. In fact this past summer I discovered a forgotten Tupperware of Leftover Turkey Curry in the freezer and was utterly delighted with my unseasonal treasure.
For more ideas on using up Christmas leftovers have a look at these recipes:
If you make The Best Totally Creamy Leftover Turkey Curry then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own leftover creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
The Best Totally Creamy Leftover Turkey Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - or coconut oil or ghee
- 1 large onion
- 8 to matoes - peeled and chopped *
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 1 red chilli - diced with seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 inch fresh ginger - peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon chutney - mango, ploughmans or ale chutney
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 400 g leftover turkey meat
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 300 ml double cream
- 200 g leftover roast potatoes - halved (optional)
- Handful fresh coriander
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large flat bottomed pan.
- Add the diced onions and cook very gently for 15-20 minutes until transparent.
- Dry fry the caraway, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan over a low heat for about 45 seconds – 1 minute. Keep a close eye so they don’t burn. Then pound them in a pestle and mortar until finely crushed.
- Add the crushed seeds along with the turmeric and garam masala into the onions. Also add the chilli, garlic and fresh ginger. Stir in for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chutney (if using) and salt cook on a gentle simmer for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes and spices have reduced to a pulp.
- Add the coconut milk, double cream and turkey meat. Stir together well. Turn up the heat to bring the curry to boil, then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the roast potatoes (if using) but do not stir in too heavily or the meat and potatoes will break up too much. Cook for a final 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the fresh coriander just before serving.
- Peeling the tomatoes is totally optional. I really dislike cooked tomato skin so it’s always an extra step I take but if you can’t be bothered then don’t worry. To peel the tomatoes cut a small cross at the base of each tomato and submerge in just boiled water for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and the skins should peel back pretty easily.
- You dry fry the spices because it releases a toasted flavour so it is worth the effort.
- The red chilli adds a slight heat to the proceedings but if you would like your curry ultra mild then discard the seeds.
- The chutney is optional but well worth it if you have an open jar lying around.
If you want your curry dairy-free then substitute the double cream for coconut cream.
- Instead of the roast potatoes, or alongside them you could also add any leftover vegetables. Squash, cauliflower, parsnips and carrots work the best.
- Serve with basmati rice, cucumber raita and naan bread.