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)


Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup

Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup

Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 lbs chicken, cleaned (legs/thighs)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 carrots, cubed
  • 1 medium potato, cubed large
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • pinch black pepper, freshly ground
  • pinch Italian seasoning (Club House)
  • pinch Greek seasoning (Club House)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  1. Place all the ingredients except for potatoes in a pressure cooker without the lid and bring to boil.
  2. Once boiling begins, reduce heat to medium, add cubed potatoes and cover with the cooker lid.  Continue to boil until the cooker begins to whistle.  Then reduce to med/low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the cooker to release its pressure before opening.
  4. Then open to see if the meat tender.  If so, add heavy cream and boils for 5 more minutes. Then turn heat off.

Serve warm with bread or garlic bread.


Fluffy Pancake Mix


I’m tired of using the boxed pancake mix. Not only is it expensive, it’s also full of ingredients I don’t want my family consuming. So, I finally created a recipe which was just to my liking. Even if you switch all your ingredients to organic (and free-run eggs), it’ll still be a fraction of the cost of any boxed mix.

You can even do what I do – quadruple the recipe for the dry ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Whenever you feel for pancakes, just pull out 2 cups of the dry mix and add the wet ingredients listed in the recipe. It’s so convenient.

Go on and give it a try.  You’ll never want to turn back!

Fluffy Pancake Recipe
2 cups        all-purpose flour
2 tsp           baking powder
1/2 tsp        sea salt
4 Tbsp        cane sugar
1 2/3 cup    milk
1/3 cup       vegetable oil
2                  eggs

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Then mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  2. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until well blended.  
  3. Preheat the frying pan or skillet.  Add a few drops of oil and cook your pancakes. 
  4. Makes about 10-12 large pancakes.  

Serve with pure maple syrup or homemade strawberry sauce!


Cheese-Filled Buns

Cheesefilled Buns

I’ve always found breadmaking rather daunting.  I didn’t grow up in a household in which we made traditional homemade breads found in a western home.  Roti was our staple “bread”.  So, I didn’t know where to start.  I tried a few recipes before but they always came out too hard or too dense.  I wanted a recipe which produced a thin crispy outer crust, and an inner bread that is tender and fluffy.  So, one day after making pizza, a small ball of dough remained with some shredded marble cheese.  I decided to make experimental cheese-filled buns and see what happens.  Well, the result was rather impressive.  I surprised myself with this one!

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Cheese-Filled Buns
Makes 10-12 buns

1 batch     Honey Pizza Dough
1 cup        shredded marble cheese
1               egg
1/4 cup    milk
1/4 cup    sesame seeds
1 tbsp       Italiano seasoning (I use Club House brand)

  1. Gently beat the egg and milk together.  Set aside.
  2. Make the pizza dough according to instructions.  Divide dough into 10-12 small balls.
  3. Flatten one ball into a 6″ patty in diameter.
  4. Place about 2 Tbsp of cheese in the centre of the dough and fold the cheese in so that the ends of the dough are tucked in at the bottom.
  5. Place the dough on a prepared baking tray or cookie sheet.
  6. Repeat Steps 3-5 for the remaining balls of dough.
  7. Using a pastry brush, apply the egg-milk mixture to the tops of the buns.
  8. Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds and Italiano seasoning.
  9. Place in a warm oven and let rise for about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Remove tray from the oven.  Heat oven to 400 F.  Then place tray back in the oven.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  12. Enjoy while hot!
Variation:  You can substitute the cheese with any kind you like!  I would definitely like to try feta next time.  Also, you can add some finely diced jalapeno peppers or olives to the cheese mixture for added flavour.

Honey Pizza Dough

Pizza with Mr Chef

I got in a bread-y kinda mood one day and decided to make some pizza. Nothing can beat fresh pizza made from fresh handmade dough…yum! I’ve had this recipe for 14 years when I first started cooking on my own. It’s the only recipe I use and it’s super easy. The crust comes out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Currently, I make this dough in my Kitchenaid mixer however you can always use your hands to knead the dough.  There is really no difference aside from a little extra exercise!

So by popular demand, here it is:

Honey Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes 1 large pizza crust

3 1/2 cups       unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup           olive oil
1/2 tsp             salt
1 cup               warm water (100-120 F)
2 Tbsp             quick rise yeast (I use Fleischmann’s)
2 Tbsp             honey

  1. Turn the oven on at about 250 F for about 2-5 minutes and then turn off.  The inside of the oven should be warm but not hot because you will be placing the dough in here to rise.  If it’s too hot, the dough may begin to bake – which is not what you want!  If you feel that your oven is too hot, simply open the door for a moment to let the heat out. 
  2. In a heat-safe mixing bowl, add flour, oil, and salt.  Set aside.  (The heat-safe bowl will be placed in the oven).
  3. In a separate bowl, add warm water, yeast and honey.  Stir until blended and let sit for about 10 minutes until it foams.
  4. Gently stir the liquid mixture and pour over the flour mixture.  If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, using a kneading hook, mix for about 2-5 minutes until the dough is formed and leaves the sides.  The dough should feel soft, smooth and elastic.  It should not be firm or too sticky. If you follow the recipe exactly, it should be okay.  If you do not have a mixer, simply knead with your hands until the same consistency is achieved. 
  5. Before removing the dough from the bowl, coat hands with a little bit of olive oil.  This will prevent it from sticking to your hands and fingers.  Then remove the dough from the mixing bowl. 
  6. If you used a mixer, I like to knead the dough a few times with my hands and form into a ball. I feel that the natural bacteria and oils in your hands helps the dough rise better…but then again, I may be wrong…lol.  Just a theory.  
  7. Coat the inside of bowl with a little oil and place the dough back into the bowl. Rotate it a few times until the entire ball is also coated in the oil. 
  8. Cover the heat-safe bowl with a lid.  I usually use a metal plate, Corningware plate or a metal lid from one of my pots.  Place the bowl into the warm oven and let dough rise for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. 
  9. Turn the oven on at 400 F. 
  10. Remove the bowl from the oven and punch down the dough.  Knead a few times.  Then roll out using a rolling pin until it is slightly larger than the pizza pan. 
  11. Place the dough into the pan.  Spread with pizza/pasta sauce, favourite toppings and shredded marble cheese onto the crust.  Place into the pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden and cheese is bubbling and slightly golden. 
  12. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes until cheese settles. 
  13. Cut into even slices.

Serve while hot with some refreshing salad and perhaps wings!

TIP:  For a larger family or company, double the recipe to make 2 large pizza crusts.  For a family of 5, I always double this recipe and we save leftovers for lunch the next day.


Irresistible Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon buns

The smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns is heavenly.  Warm fragrances of brown sugar and cinnamon can be simply irresistible. However, with previous failed attempts of making cinnamon buns, I wondered, why try again?  The thought of wasting that much bread again was rather distasteful. But I became a little brave one time and decided to give it one last try. This time, I mashed two separate bread recipes to create this sweet cinnamon bun recipe.  The final product turned out delicious and I was finally satisfied! 

Give it a try.  Do not be intimidated by yeast.  It won’t bite…promise!

Perfect Cinnamon Buns
Makes 30 large buns

1 cup        warm water (100-120 F)
4 Tbsp      quick active yeast (I use Fleishmann’s)
2 Tbsp      honey
1 cup        milk
8 cups      unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup    melted butter
2               eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup        sugar
3/4 tsp     salt

1 1/2 cup   brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp    cinnamon powder
1/2 cup      butter, softened

  1. Heat the oven to about 250 F for only 2-5 minutes.  Then, turn it off.  Be sure it’s not too hot or else the dough will cook while rising.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add warm water, yeast and honey.  Stir until blended.  Let sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam at top.
  3. Add milk and stir.  Set aside.
  4. In a separate heat-safe mixing bowl, add flour, butter, eggs, sugar and salt.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and knead.  If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, using a kneading hook, blend for about 5 minutes until the dough as formed and leaves the sides of the bowl.
  6. Coat your hands with a little bit of oil (so the dough doesn’t stick while working) and remove the dough from the bowl.  Knead for a few times and form a ball.  Coat the bowl with some oil and place the dough back in.
  7. Place the dough into the warm oven to rise for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  8. In the meantime, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  9. Remove dough from oven and punch down.  Knead for a few times and divide dough into 2 balls.
  10. Using one ball, roll out with a rolling pin.  Form a large rectangle about 12″ x 15″ or until the down is about 1/2″ thick.
  11. With a spatula, spread half of the butter over the surface of the rolled out dough.
  12. Generously spread half of the filling mixture over the butter.  Do not worry if it seems too much.
  13. Carefully begin to roll the dough lengthwise to form a log (you will be rolling along the shorter side so that the log remains 15″ long).  Once rolled into a log, gently pat it so the log is even in width. If the ends are more narrow than the centre, simple press the ends inwards with your palm and gently pat down the centre.  NOTE:  Check this out for a nice step-by-step guide with photos on how to roll up the dough.
  14. Now, using a knife, lightly mark 1″ lines along the log.  This is where you will cut the log to form buns.
  15. Carefully begin to cut out the buns and place them in a prepared cookie sheet or baking tray.  Keep about 1 inch apart.
  16. Once all the buns are cut out and placed on the tray, place back in the warm oven to rise for about 30-40 minutes.  In this time, they will double in size and the sides will begin to touch one another to appear like one large loaf.
  17. Remove the tray from the oven and heat the oven to 350 F.  Once fully heated, place the tray back into the oven.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden on the top.  Be sure to keep an eye on them near the end of the baking time to ensure the sugar filling is not burning at the bottom.
  18. Once baked, remove from the oven and serve warm.

Serve hot as is or drizzle with your favourite icing or glaze.