Tandoori turkey, anyone?

Parveen the Spice Queen
Parveen the Spice Queen

Here’s a question. What does an Asian housewife like me cook (Parveen the Spice Queen) on Christmas Day? Well tandoori turkey of course, but I use the word “turkey” in the loosest possible sense. So loose that for many years I cooked a tandoori roast chicken and called it a tandoori turkey - allow me to explain.

When my youngest son Cyrus was about 4 years old and was really into anything Christmassy, he loved making Christmas cards, decorating the tree and watching the best Christmas movie ever made. No... I don’t mean It’s A Wonderful Life (which is mine)... for him it was Home Alone of course - must be a generational thing. So, naturally he would look forward to his Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

I find turkey is a little dry and I am not a fan, so I would cook an extra big roast chicken on Christmas Day. Not wanting to upset my little boy, I told him it was turkey. JOB DONE!!...Or so you would think. The rest of the family knew it was chicken, but we had to keep up the pretence, so we spent most of the meal saying “please can you pass the chi-t turkey!” Unwittingly, we had set a precedent, so for several years we had to keep all reference to the tandoori chicken as turkey for Cyrus’s sake. Until one Christmas, Cyrus admitted he had twigged that it wasn’t turkey when he was 8! What can I say, he was a clued-up little boy, and is now a clued up 21 year old, who by the way loves a good roast chicken, or should I say turkey!

Anyway, back to my original question, what does an Asian housewife cook on Christmas day? Well me, I make a quintessentially traditional British Christmas dinner but I like to add a little spice of course. I make tandoori roast chicken, turmeric and cumin roast potatoes, plus sprouts sprinkled in chilli flakes. C’mon, did you expect anything less from the Spice Queen?

TANDOORI CHICKEN MARINADE

Ingredients: 3 tbsp oil, 3 tbsp plain yogurt, 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste) 2 tsp paprika or tandoori powder, 1 tsp mild chilli powder, 3 tbsp lemon juice.

Method: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Apply to the chicken skin and cook as you would usually do. If you are actually using a turkey, then double up on the ingredients and apply inside and out.

TURMERIC & CUMIN ROAST POTATOES

Method: Just add 2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp to 1 kg of potatoes, mix well and roast as you would usually do.