Indian-Spiced Turkey Kebabs

My friends host superb wine-tasting potluck parties. They have a kit consisting of little black bottle-suits to shroud the bottles in mystery, tags for labeling, and checklists of flavor and aroma descriptions. All this so that we tasters can so pensively and confidently decide just how we feel about each wine, blurrily throwing around words like “grassy,” “smoky,” and last night: “dusty” (Kelley wasn’t loving that one). We take a moment to declare our favorite, nod approvingly at those who share a kindred palate, then reveal the labels and pour another glass. Or four. It’s really quite a ball!

the mystery...

When invited to a “Pinot Party” this weekend, I wanted to contribute a fun, tasty, not-super-ordinary dish. I recently found Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking at my local library–she’s sort of responsible for introducing Indian cooking to the United States; I thank her!–so I decided to open it up and be inspired. I plan to try many of her recipes, but the one for Turkey Kebabs was actually the first one I turned to.

Kebab‘ here refers to ground meat patties served as a stuffed sandwich in pita bread. Any ground meat could be used, but I really enjoyed the dense texture of the turkey patties, and the bold spices complement the turkey quite well. Speaking of spices, you have to buy some Garam Masala if you love Indian flavors–it makes this dish. The whole coriander seeds in the meat mixture also give it exotic pizzazz.

The meat patties themselves are full of flavor, but the condiments here–a Fresh Coriander Chutney and Curried Yogurt Sauce add tangy, spicy kick and gorgeous color to these little pita sandwiches, which work great as assemble-yourself appetizers or a meal. Just make the patties and cut the pita pockets accordingly.

the spread at the potluck--all you need to make a delicious little sandwich!

Spiced Ground Turkey Patties
inspired by Indian Cooking
makes 25-30 small patties

1 pound ground turkey
10 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, divided
1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
¼ cup finely chopped fresh tomato
¼ red onion, chopped fine
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine

In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, and all other ingredients. Put the remaining 6 tablespoons of bread crumbs on a plate. Form the ground turkey into patties (size depends on your preference–I used walnut-sized balls and pressed them into 2-inch patties), then dip each patty in breadcrumbs to coat. There should be a thin layer of crumbs covering each patty. Refrigerate the patties until ready to fry. In a large frying pan, heat enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat, then add the patties in a single layer. Cook on each side until patties are browned and cooked through (6-7 minutes per side). Serve in pita bread with fresh tomato, red onion, Fresh Coriander Chutney, and Curried Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce.

Fresh Coriander Chutney*
inspired by Indian Cooking
makes about 1/4 cup

3 handfuls fresh coriander (cilantro)
small handful fresh spinach leaves
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil

Pulse everything in a food processor until smooth (or roughly smooth).

Curried Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
juice from half a lemon
½ tbsp dried mint (or fresh)
1 tsp Madras curry powder
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
half a cucumber, peeled and sliced thin

Stir it all up!

*Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe for this chutney uses only coriander leaves–I added spinach to mine to fill it out a bit, and I added olive oil (which is not in her recipe) to get everything to blend. Hers also calls for a fresh hot chili, which I didn’t have on hand and replaced with red pepper flakes. This chutney is very perky and quite spicy; I recommend smearing just a bit on the inside of the pita pocket.

Also appearing at the Pinot Party: Cheese Curds with Dill!Sausage-stuffed Mushrooms!Pretty wine-y Cupcakes!

Cheese curds made by local Mennonites!

There's Cabernet in both the cake and icing! (Cupcakes by Sweet Sallie's Bakery and Cafe in Cookeville)


Wine and Food again soon! Thanks Daniel and Kelley for delicious party times!