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Nick Nairn Shares His Recipe for Christmas Turkey Curry

Nick Nairn Shares His Recipe for Christmas Turkey Curry

Christmas is just around the corner and, while many of you will be preparing to cook the infamous Christmas dinner, we’ve got a recipe that’s great for using up any left overs. Make the curry base ahead of time and store it in the freezer so, when you come to use it, all you have to do is defrost it and add the turkey. This non-fussy recipe requires minimal effort so you can spend more time with friends and family.

Turkey Curry

Nick says, “This lovely spicy curry is the perfect change from the roast-style dinners we eat over Christmas. I’d make it for the day after Boxing Day.”

Malay Turkey Curry

Serves 6


For the spices

2 tbsp. coriander seeds

1 tbsp. cumin seeds

1 tbsp. fennel seeds

6 black peppercorns

6 cloves

5cm piece cinnamon bark

¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp. turmeric

For the onion paste

3 medium onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

6 red chillies

1 tsp. sweet paprika

2 tbsp. chopped or ground almonds

3 sticks lemongrass, chopped

For the curry

Leftover turkey meat

5 tbsp. vegetable oil

400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 large carrots, peeled and cubed

300g new potatoes, halved

1 medium aubergine, cubed

1 tsp. Maldon salt

400g can coconut milk

4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

1 large bunch coriander, chopped


Combine the coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a heavy frying pan and dry roast over a medium heat until you can smell the aroma. Don’t let them change colour or the flavour will change too and become bitter. Tip the whole lot into a spice grinder )or pestle and mortar) and grind down. Stir in the turmeric and set aside.

Throw the onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, paprika, almonds and chopped lemongrass into a food processor. Add about 3 tablespoons of the oil and blend to a paste. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture. Don’t worry if you add more, it will evaporate during cooking.

Heat the rest of the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion paste and fry for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the spice mixture then the pumpkin, carrots, potato and aubergines, coating with the onions and spices. Fry until the onion begin to turn brown then add the salt and 500ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and tomatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are very tender.

With 5 minutes to go add the cooked turkey and mix well to ensure it heats through. Scatter the coriander over the curry and serve with flat breads or basmati rice.

 The Kailyard

...Or book yourself a table at The Kailyard by Nick Nairn and let us take care of the cooking!