Traditional recipes

Christmas leftovers turkey curry recipe

Christmas leftovers turkey curry recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Curry
  • Turkey curry

A hearty turkey curry that makes the most of all your Christmas leftovers. Everyone will love this on Boxing Day.

445 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 300g cooked turkey, cut into pieces
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g mashed potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 100g frozen garden peas
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute. Add the turkey and stir well to coat with the spices.
  2. Pour chicken stock and tinned tomatoes into the pan. Add mashed potatoes, and stir to combine and break up the mashed potatoes. Continue to cook on medium-high for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add sweet potato, peas and carrots to the pan. Bring just to the boil. Stir in salt, sugar and cayenne. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer until carrots and sweet potatoes are cooked but still firm, approximately 30 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(8)

Reviews in English (8)

this is a super curry I tried it because I had not previously thought of mashed potatoe in a curry but it works and its really good. the turkey broke down so that there were no lumpy pieces of curry, the flavour was superb as we like curries. You can take part out and make it hotter or by adding yoghurt make it more Korea like but as recommended it works and as a curry lover I recommend it-29 Dec 2012

Very tasty and easy to prepare! Can vary the 'hotness' to suit the family's tastes. Great to be able to 'sneak' in veggies for the younger ones too. Will definitely make again!-30 Dec 2012

A hit in our family. Sweet tasting, great recipe, kids enjoyed too-31 Dec 2012


How to make the perfect turkey curry

Boxing Day backstop: Felicity Cloake’s perfect turkey curry. Photograph: The Guardian. Food styling: Jack Sargeson.

Boxing Day backstop: Felicity Cloake’s perfect turkey curry. Photograph: The Guardian. Food styling: Jack Sargeson.

All that leftover turkey traditionally calls for curry – but what’s the best recipe for one that doesn’t require many fresh ingredients, or too much work?

I n my family, the turkey curry is as much a part of Christmas as the big roast itself – creamy pies and overstuffed sandwiches are all very well, but after the joyous orgy of bread sauce and roast potatoes on the 25th, our palates cry out for something a little more lively. You could go for Nigella Lawson’s bang bang turkey, or novelist Kamila Shamsie’s delicious-sounding biryani Naomi Duguid’s zingy, Thai/Lao-style turkey salad or the jambalayas, Mexican moles and other festive favourites suggested by Twitter correspondents, but, for us, leftover turkey calls for curry of the vaguely Indian variety.

I say vaguely, because, just as roast turkey isn’t a big deal in India, having leftovers of this kind to use up isn’t the norm, either as chef Maunika Gowardhan tells me, when she was growing up, “homes didn’t always have ovens in India, so roasting meat wasn’t a common practice … if tikkas were made, they’d be reheated and served with chutney and roti”. One of my Twitter field reporters, Piya Sengupta, agrees: “Where I am from, this would be rare. Meat preparations are generally in a sauce to begin with. Leftovers might involve changing the gravy a bit, but you seldom have relatively plain cooked meat to cover with sauce to reuse.”

In short, this will always be a very British kind of Indian-ish curry: a true fusion of culinary, if not festive traditions. It should be fairly quick and easy to make, too, and not require much in the way of fresh ingredients, fridge space being at a premium at this time of year. Using up other likely leftovers will score extra bonus points. So what’s the best way to make it?


“Waste not want not” – Avoiding Food waste – Food Planning for Christmas Day and Making the Most of Leftovers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and unfortunately the most wasteful in terms of the amount of food that is bought, cooked and ultimately disposed of. Christmas is a costly time for the majority of consumers, with last year’s average spend on food, drink and festive treats stacking up to a gigantic estimate of £19.5bn.

With the equivalent of 4 million Christmas dinners thrown away each year, it might be time to consider just how much food we actually need over the festive period. By over-purchasing, over-portioning and throwing away what we don’t use, we are also wasting our own hard-earned cash. So, what can we do as savvy consumers to save wasting food and our money?

Plan for Success

Planning is key to reducing food waste. This doesn’t just apply to Christmas but can be considered throughout the year. Making a list before going to the supermarket is a top tip to save on unnecessary purchases, reducing the chances of buying unnecessary goods.

Shopping after you have had a meal also works. Heading to the shops on an empty stomach may increase the chances of buying produce that we don’t particularly need, just because it looks appealing at that time.

In the modern world, neither option is always possible. Sometimes we end up in the supermarket by accident and over-purchasing items, taking the buy-one-get-one-free offers, or picking up an item on special offer that we don’t particularly need.

The alternative is to take stock of the excess that we have and repurpose it. In our article published in November (Available HERE), we looked at the on-trend brand of upcycled clothing and the benefits it has for the consumer and the environment.

In circumstances where there is food leftover after cooking for the family on Christmas Day, think of alternative recipes that could put an interesting spin on your traditional dishes. The traditional turkey curry or sandwiches can be replaced with ‘pulled-turkey burritos’ or a ‘turkey Korean rice pot’. Think of it as an opportunity to be creative and do something different with your Christmas leftovers.

A Shining Example

Mary lives with her son Arran and embraces remaining creative with her leftovers all year round. Throughout the year, Mary uses vegetables and meat from other meals to make delicious soups, curries and other dishes that she can freeze or give to friends and neighbours. This not only saves money, but dramatically reduces food waste. It’s always worthwhile to help neighbours, friends and family out through sharing.

Mary & her son, Arran & Mary’s delicious roast vegetable soup – made with leftover vegetables

“You can use any vegetables you have left over and herbs and spices that you might have at home to season it. The good thing is that you can find a recipe somewhere for almost anything…”

Mary uses social media channels such as Facebook to regularly share what she has cooked to show just how easy it is to make a healthy, balanced meal using the ingredients people usually have at home already.

Health & Safety

Always consider health and safety when repurposing and reusing food, especially with meat products or when the item has previously been frozen. When reheating food, special attention should be made to the core temperature of the item. Ensure that this reaches a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius and holds this temperature for two minutes. Food which is not reheated correctly can potentially lead to serious illness.

The NHS have an excellent online resource which promotes positive food safety. This is available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-prepare-and-cook-food-safely/.

‘Throw-away culture’ seems to become more apparent each day, with advertising and social media encouraging us to purchase, consume and throw-away with items when we are done. By making small changes to our spending patterns, we can save money and have a positive impact on the environment.

At consumeradvice.scot, we have put together our top tips for saving money by using Christmas leftovers sensibly –

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – Reduce waste by not buying as much in the first place. Make a shopping list before you go and don’t be tempted into unnecessary purchases by the shine of deals such as Buy One Get One Free – ‘BOGOF’

Reheat sensibly – Cooked food that has been frozen and removed from the freezer should be reheated and eaten within 24 hours of defrosting. Any longer than this would make it unsafe to eat!

Check the temperatures – Remember that when reheating food, it should reach a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius for at least two minutes. This kills potential bacteria and could save you or your loved ones from becoming ill.

Portion-positive – Ensure that you dispense leftovers into portion sizes before freezing. This allows you to keep the food for longer in the freezer and not have to defrost the full dish. You should only take out what you intend to use over the next 24 hours.

Soup for the soul (and the wallet) – Soups can be made from leftover vegetables and meat. You can ‘save by soup-ing’. You can find many innovative (and tasty) recipes online!


Turkey Stew

You can't go wrong with a good Turkey Stew to warm up the winter evenings between Christmas and New Year's Eve and it's a great way to use up a leftover turkey leg or two. Plus, the ingredients in this BBC recipe are so simple there's no need to do a special shop as you'll most likely have everything in your cupboard.

1 turkey leg (about 700-800g/1lb 9oz-1lb 12oz)

1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock, made from stock cube

500g/1lb 2oz potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped

Heat a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the oil, season the turkey leg on all sides and brown in the hot pan for 7-8 minutes, turning now and again to ensure that all sides are coloured.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, garlic and carrots and stir.

Pour in the stock, mixing well to combine. Reduce the heat so that the stock is simmering gently.

Cover with a lid and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Once the turkey leg is cooked, remove it from the stew and leave to one side to cool slightly. Add the potatoes to the stew, cover again and continue to cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the turkey and use a fork to help shred the meat, discarding any bones or sinew. Add the meat back to the pan with the cooked potatoes and stew mixture. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Once ready to serve, stir through the chopped parsley and serve hot.


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As well as the Christmas turkey, you can also use left-over vegetables like carrots and sprouts.

You will also need cumin, tumeric powder and chillis to give the curry its kick.

The perfect turkey curry recipe

Preparation time : 5 minutes

Cooking time : 3 – 4 minutes

1 tsp rapeseed oil or other cooking oil

1 finely chopped small green chilli

4 cm ginger finely grated or chopped

0.5 tsp turmeric powder (can be replaced with fresh grated turmeric)

220g (3 cups) leftover cooked Christmas vegetables (eg. Carrots, sprouts, parsnip, potatoes)

120g (1 cup) cooked turkey (cut or tear into strips)

Fresh coriander for garnish

1. On a medium to high heat add oil, cumin seeds, chilli and ginger into a heavy based pan or wok and stir fry for 20seconds.

2. Add turmeric and salt and stir for another 20 seconds.

3. Add turkey and vegetables, mix, add a dash of water and keep stirring on a high heat until heated through


Leftover Turkey Curry – Turkey Korma

A great way to use your Christmas leftovers &ndash make this crowd pleasing leftover turkey Korma curry and serve with golden rice.

After all the Christmas feasting is done, I find myself unwilling / unable to cook. I simply want to laze about, eat any chocolates or dessert not hoovered up by the kids and watch old musicals on TV &ndash after all it&rsquos not Christmas until there&rsquos a Sound of Music sing-a-long.

But there&rsquos a silver lining &ndash there&rsquos usually plenty of leftovers to keep us fed for a few days with minimum effort. If you, like us, happen to find yourself with lots of turkey leftover this super-easy mild curry is an excellent way to use it up.

My favourite way to serve this mild curry is with aromatic golden rice &ndash basmatti cooked with a little turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom which is delicious enough to simply eat on its own!

My kids are, sadly, still very suspicious of any food they deem as &lsquoexotic&rsquo (i.e. any food they don&rsquot reguarly eat) but this recipes somehow pleases even them which makes it a real winner in my book!

Have you made my leftover turkey curry?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #supergoldenbakes. I can&rsquot wait to see your take on it!


Spices for a turkey leftover curry

This easy turkey curry uses our homemade curry powder, which makes it taste amazing.

I usually make up a big jar of this curry powder and keep it in my store cupboard so it is always on hand every time I want to make a curry. This way I don't have to measure the spices every time.

It is very quick to make and definitely worth having in the cupboard.

If you don't have all the ingredients for the curry powder and don't want to buy them all in one go, you could substitute the curry powder with 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and 2 teaspoons of garam masala.

Or just use a shop bought curry powder, especially if you have found one that you love the flavor of.

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Leftover turkey recipes

Without fail, turkey fear strikes us all every year when we come to order it. Convinced that a sensible sized turkey won't be enough, some strange impulse forces our hands upwards into the next weight bracket resulting in a mammoth beast that we can only just squeeze into the oven (after the odd bit of hacking, of course). No one goes hungry, that's for sure, but there is inevitably a substantial amount of turkey remaining after everyone has valiantly done their best to eat their fill.

This is no bad thing - after all, Boxing Day wouldn't be the same without leftover turkey. There are many fantastic uses for cold turkey, whether it's curried, pressed, fried or simply used for salads and sandwiches. Take a look at our collection of leftover turkey ideas - just don’t forget to make a gorgeous stock out of the carcass.

A turkey curry is now almost as entrenched in festive tradition as the Christmas meal itself, and Galton Blackiston's Fruity turkey curry recipe is mild enough for all the family to enjoy. For something a little spicier, Vivek Singh's Turkey stir fry with curried yoghurt carries enough of a punch to cut through the uneasy feeling of post-Christmas indulgence. For a fantastic Christmas leftovers recipe that'll help you get through a few of the jars in your fridge as well as the turkey, try Alyn Williams' Boxing Day turkey toastie, loaded with cranberry sauce, sprouts, red cabbage and cheese.


If you can get Cirio tomatoes okay they are a little bit on the expensive side.

But once you try them you will be converted. I only buy them in Tesco or Waitrose when they are half price, which is actually quite often and then I stock up!

Straight after Christmas (sometimes on Christmas eve), you can almost always buy a frozen turkey at half-price and then you can cook it and freeze it.

But before you freeze your leftovers, don't forget turkey sandwiches are most certainly the way to go for Boxing day lunch!

Once the onions, chilli, garlic and spices have cooked nicely, add the tomato puree and cook for a minute more.

Now add the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Cook to reduce a little before adding the cooked turkey.


Turkey Curry

There is often leftover turkey, especially around Christmas time, so this delicately spiced curry is the perfect recipe if you have any to use up!

How to safely store leftover turkey:

It&rsquos imperative you keep your leftover cooked turkey in the fridge or freezer. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers within 90min of cooking it and make sure it&rsquos covered, either in an airtight container or wrap well with cling film. You can keep your turkey refrigerated for up to two days, and frozen for up to 1 month.

How to defrost frozen turkey:

Defrost your turkey in the fridge overnight. You can't refreeze cooked meat more than once, so it&rsquos best to freeze in portions in order to only defrost as much as you need.

Reheating cooked turkey:

Make sure that when you&rsquore reheating leftover turkey, that it&rsquos piping hot throughout and never reheat cooked turkey more than once.

This recipe would also work well with leftover chicken, lamb shank or shoulder or a vegetarian alternative, such as Quorn.

Here we advise you on how to store any other Christmas leftovers you might have.


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