What’s With The Controversy? A Desi Turkey Recipe With A Story

Image from tabasco.com

Okay so it’s Thankgiving in Canada this long weekend. And, well over a decade ago I started a bit of controversy when I began to make my traditional desi turkey on these weekends.

Once upon a time before Mina Halal came along, we only had halal turkeys available this time of the year…and they would finish really soon and were only available by special order so you had to grab one fast if you really wanted to try halal turkey that year. We liked our bird fresh and not frozen, so I would marinate it for a few days as soon as we would get it and we would just so happen to roast it on thanksgiving weekend (because, well, you cannot let it sit in the fridge too long before it spoils..).

The controversy started when the “haram police” came along asking us why we’re making turkeys and couldn’t it have been another time…? Well, like I said, we like our turkeys fresh. We actually went to a farm over an hour away every year, picked out our turkey and had it slaughtered by hand. There was no reason to go and freeze it when we could just have it in a few days, fresh. So, despite the flapping of wings of some upset folks, my husband and I would host a grand turkey dinner – gravy, stuffing, sides galore, homemade pies and all the good stuffsss

It’s really the intention. We simply intended to feed people (we’d get 60+ people coming over at once) and get together for a wonderful time on a cold autumn evening. Well, alhamdulillah, those same individuals who protested upon my turkey dinners, now enjoy them…lol. I guess times change, people change I had the same reaction when I began bringing home pumpkins for homemade pumpkin pies in autumn, too…lol. (What’s up with this anti-western thing…??)

Anyhow, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for my desi turkey recipe so here it is. The reason it’s “desi” is because I loaded it with masalas and robust flavours It was inspired by my dear Guyanese friends who first taught me to make turkeys (and not be intimated by it’s size), plus a punch with our traditional paki spices.


NOTE: This recipe is made for every 2 lbs of meat. So, if your turkey is 14 lbs, you’ll need to multiply this recipe 7 times to get the right proportions. An oven bag is a genius product found in most local grocery stores (No Frills, Loblaws..). It helps cut the roasting time by more than half. I never roast without it and always keep spare packages in my cupboard for thick cut meats…

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, granulated
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 oven bag
1 roasting pan or large foil pan

1. Clean your turkey and remove any excess fat. Loosen the skin from the meat using a wooden spoon and carefully make deep cuts in the breast, thighs and legs. (This will allow the spices to get into the meat really well).
2. Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl except for water. Slowly add water until all spices become a uniformed, thick paste.
3. Using your hands, apply the paste under the skin and into the slits and cuts. Rub the paste on the skin as well. Rub it in well.
4. Cover and place into the refrigerator overnight.
5. When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and let sit.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
7. Prepare your pan and place an oven bag in the center. Carefully open the bag and slide the turkey into the oven bag. Follow manufacturer’s directions and seal closed with the provided tie. You will have to cut a few tiny slits on the top of the oven bag for steam to escape.
8. Place in the oven and roast according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Note: it usually takes a 14 pounder to roast to perfection in about 1.5 to 2 hrs, HONEST!).
9. Place the roasted turkey in a nice pan, cover and place on the side.
10. Remove the excess turkey juice from the roasting pan, discard the fat drippings and place in a sauce pan. Let simmer on stove on medium.
10. In a small bowl, add some cornstarch with cold water. Mix until uniform.
11. While stirring, add the cornstarch paste into the sauce pan. Cook until the gravy becomes thick and dark. Serve with your turkey!

Have a great weekend!

(photo from tabasco.com)


My 500 Words For 31 Days


Deep Breath.

I’m going to take on a new challenge. I’m not very good at these things as they require steadfastness.  And, well, in my world of unpredictable surprises, I rarely am able to do this. However, I figured, I’ll give it a try. Despite all my grammar mistakes and frequent typos, no one will shoot me, and if they are sincerely offended by my errors, they can simply turn the other way. No harm. So here it goes. I’ll give this 500 Words for 31 Days challenge a try. If you find it worthwhile, come join us and we’ll make mistakes together. I’m sure it wouldn’t feel as bad then.

(that’s 110 words already! woohoo!)

The reason why I’m going into this little personal project is to simply get my noggin churning, and get my flow of writing and ideas moving. This year has been an incredibly blessed one as I have had numerous opportunities to write for various publications I look up to so very much – My Halal Kitchen, Productive Muslim, Halal Foodie and others. When 2014 began, I had this strange little premonition that this was the direction my year was going to go. This was going to be the year of writing for me. I think I had even make a small public declaration of that somewhere on social media. I didn’t know how it was going to materialize but I was quietly excited to see what fate would throw at me. So, as the opportunities began to roll in, I took them in wholeheartedly. At times, I was a little worried my lack of grammar skills would lead me to my ultimate mortification, but I carried on.

I invite challenges. I love risks. Besides, you’ll never know if you can do something until you try. So, when I plunged into writing, I realized how much I love it!

Writing for me is intended to feed my soul. It’s my calm within the storm of my life. Being a full-time mom, wife, and businesswoman & artisan, I needed something that would force me to slow down and actually become an observer for once. It was a time for me to stop all my craziness and just make observations, make connections and put those thoughts down on paper…or computer for that matter.

I have always loved writing but I never took it seriously as something I could do for an audience. I didn’t think I was capable of doing so. Plus, I didn’t know how to go about finding an outlet. Nearly 14 years ago, my husband urged me to write. I guess he saw something in my writing I never did. He said I had a power in my words but I didn’t really believe him. He said I had a passion when I wrote which, again, I didn’t believe. Even when I didn’t have faith in myself, he did. Every so often, he would nudge me to start with cycles of me denying it. Finally after years of ignoring his encouragement, opportunities began to knock on their own and I realized this was my silver lining. I am truly grateful for everything that has transpired since the beginning of this year. Alhamdulillah.

So as I wrap up my first set of ramblings, I’ve actually reached nearly 550 words already. Not bad. You know what? I may actually enjoy doing this!

(560 words!)