I have a confession to make. I love Christmas!
From a dressed-up tree to shiny ornaments, the carolling even the late-night present wrapping doesn’t thwart me. I’m one of those people who get excited when decorations go up in stores in late October! I take it as a sign that our lights can go up. Who am I kidding…our lights have been up since Diwali in the fall
MAKING NEW TRADITIONS
I grew up in India where Christmas ranked well after Diwali, Holi, Lohri and Eid. The last quarter of the year is already packed with festive celebrations and so Christmas tends to draw the short straw. In India.
Not in Canada!
My husband and I moved from India to Canada almost 15 years ago and in this time we have made new friends, put down roots, and pulled them back up only to move across the country and back again. Over the years we have made tons of memories and new traditions especially since the kids came on the scene. Celebrating Christmas and the holiday season at the end of the year has become one of our family’s favourite new traditions.
GATHER AROUND THE DINNER TABLE
Celebrations in India often take place around food and drink. Christmas in Canada is no different. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends and celebrate, and take a breather.
Along with making new traditions, life in Canada has brought about two big changes in our lifestyle and our kitchen.
Our food preferences have changed over the years. I love experimenting with fresh Canadian ingredients and incorporating them into traditional Indian recipes. Our diet restrictions have also changed. A lot of the food I make today is allergy-friendly to accommodate a number of food sensitivities in our family.
TRADITIONAL INDIAN DISHES
Recently when the people at Canadian Turkey reached out to me to share with you one of my family’s favourite recipes, I jumped at the chance.
Chicken Makhani or Butter Chicken as its commonly known is a “special meal” in many South Asian homes. In the past, I rarely made this dish at home because of the multiple steps and the time it takes to put together. The word “makhani” means “of butter,” and yes, there’s traditionally tons of butter and ghee and cream in the gravy. But the reference is to making the sauce “smooth as butter – makhani,” and that takes time. Once the Makhani sauce is ready you can add the protein of your choice, normally it’s either chicken or paneer. But as you’ve gathered by now I’m not one for hanging onto old traditions for the sake of it. I’m not one for standing for hours in the kitchen making recipes the traditional way.
So here’s my dairy-free makhani recipe using Canadian turkey – a healthy and robust protein that is easy to cook and holds up really well to bold Indian spices. I hope you like this dish. It comes with my shortcuts and healthy tweaks so that we can make this traditional Indian dish even on a crazy weeknight!
TURKEY MAKHANI RECIPE
This recipe, like all the others on my site has been tried and tested on my family of four picky eaters. I tend to use fewer spices to accommodate my kids’ palate. This dish though has bold flavours which can be mellowed down with coconut milk.
Prep Tips From My Kitchen
- Roast and grind the spices beforehand. Use double the quantity or even more if you intend to make this dish again and again. The spices will store well in a cool, dry cupboard for more than 6 months.
- With this recipe, you will end up with more sauce than you need. Pour the remaining out in a mason jar and freeze. You have another Turkey Makhani in your near future.
- Marinate and cook extra turkey strips. Freeze what you don’t need today, and that next Turkey Makhani can be made on a crazy busy weeknight. You can thank me in the comments below!
- If you’re hesitant about cooking with turkey, it may be a new protein for you, see these tips from Canadian Turkey.
Making new traditions in our home often starts around the dining table. This new family recipe uses Canadian-raised turkey meat in a traditional Indian dish - Turkey Makhani made dairy-free and delicious.
- 1 lb Turkey Strips
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili powder (You can use paprika powder )
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed powder
- 1 tsp Chopped Ginger
- 1 tsp Garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Amchur (dried mango powder)
- 1 tsp Roasted and Ground Spices See Note below
- 1 tbsp melted Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp whole Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp whole Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 tsp black Peppercorns
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Dried Red Chilli (Optional)
- 2 cups roughly chopped Tomatoes Approx. 5 tomatoes
- 1 cup roughly chopped Onions (I refer red for Indian dishes)
- 3 Green Chillies (stems popped off)
- 5 Garlic cloves
- 1 small piece of Ginger
- 1 dried Red Chilli
- 1 tsp of roasted spice blend
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 - 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves
- 3 tbsp Coconut oil in total for dish
- 3 Green Chillies
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together along with a tbsp of coconut oil. Rub into the turkey strips and leave aside for a couple of hours - min 30 mins. Add more minutes to the "Prep Time" if you're adding time here.
Roast for a few minutes in a dry pan. Grind in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder but you can't use it for coffee again - the aroma will remain).
Add everything in a pan with a lid with a tiny space for steam to escape. I have a saucepan with a lid with a hole. If you don't prop the lid up with a wooden spoon.
Cook on medium heat for 30 mins while you get the turkey ready.
Blend with an immersion blender to a velvety smooth texture.
Freeze half for a meal another day.
While the Makhani sauce is bubbling away on the stove, get a pan ready with a tsp of coconut oil.
Fry the turkey strips in batches and put them aside.
Double the quantity and you can freeze half the strips.
Add a teaspoon of coconut oil in a hot pan.
Turn the pan to medium and add a couple of green chillies. You can skip these if you're faint-hearted - you know I'm talking about my hubby here.
Add a cup of cooked turkey strips and toss them in the oil.
Add a cup of Makhani gravy. Simmer for a few minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of whole Coconut milk. Stir and simmer for another couple of minutes. Add some more coconut milk if you end up with a thicker gravy than you like or if you are serving with rice.
Rub the teaspoon of fenugreek leaves on your palm and add in the curry.
Serve with a swirl of coconut milk and a sprinkle of the spice blend alongside naan or rice.