Hara Masala Turkey Roast

Thanksgiving Dinner with a Desi Touch: a Hara Masala Roast Turkey

October is here, the Canadian Turkey month, and it’s time to think of Turkey dinners! If you have never roasted a whole turkey before, or are thinking of trying a new recipe, I have the perfect Thanksgiving dinner idea with a desi touch: a Hara Masala Roast Turkey!

I paired the hara masala turkey with sides such as tomato chatni, hara masala gravy and plain rice. They complimented the whole south asian/desi vibe of the dinner! Now, I know you’re thinking that there is a lot of work in roasting a whole turkey, but I have tips for you that do not involve brining plus super easy-to-follow steps.

Hara Masala Turkey Roast


Most places sell a frozen turkey so buy it at least 3-4 days before you’re planning to roast it. Leave in the fridge to thaw for 2-3 days. Place the frozen turkey in a dish or bag to collect any liquid. Marinate and place again in the fridge for another day at least. Roast in an oven bag, this keeps the moisture in and the turkey meat doesn’t get dry.

If you’re roasting a turkey for the first time and nervous about the results, I have another idea for you to tackle the performance anxiety! Roast the turkey a day before you’re expecting your guests and then just reheat the next day in the oven (all steps ahead). The taste stays just the same!

Turkey is a great source of protein. It’s hard to believe but with turkey, both white and dark cuts are lean. Turkey plays well with other flavours.  It has a hearty taste and texture that goes well with South Asian spices and marinades. It’s also a great way to feed a big group and delivers a lot of meat for the price. And then of course there are the leftovers! I have linked some great recipes in the end to make with Turkey leftovers!

Now let’s jump right into the recipe for the turkey. The one for the gravy and the tomato chatni are after this.

Ingredients for Hara Masala Roast Turkey:

One whole turkey      4.1 kgs

Onions                4

Lemons                5

Butter                1 Cup

Fresh coriander       4 bunches

Fresh Mint            1 bunch

Green chili           7-8

Garlic cloves          7-8

All-purpose flour      1 cup

Cumin powder           1 tablespoon

Salt                   1 tablespoon

Cornflour              2 tablespoons

Oven bag               1

Hara Masala Turkey Roast


How To Make the Turkey:

  1. Thaw the frozen turkey by placing in the fridge for at least 2-3 day.
  2. Take out and place on the counter to bring to room temperature while you prepare the marinade.
  3. Grind together 4 garlic cloves, 2 bunches of coriander, ½ bunch of mint, 7-8 green chilies, 1 tablespoon cumin powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water so that a nice paste forms.
  4. Keep aside two tablespoon of this marinade for the gravy.
  5. Wash the turkey and dry with paper towels. Take out the neck and liver pieces from inside the empty gut and put aside for the gravy. Remove any extra giblets from inside the turkey and discard. Keep the skin on. Make some cuts on the turkey.
  6. Melt half a cup of butter and add to the marinade.
  7. Now rub the marinade all over the turkey with your hands (they are the best tools). Get it in especially inside the skin and under the breasts. Put inside the crevice also.
  8. Place the marinated turkey in the fridge.Marinate for at least 24 hours to let the juices penetrate.
  9. When you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 350F. Take out the turkey and place on the counter.
  10. Tuck the turkey wings under it and tie the two legs with dental floss.
  11. Slice four onions into ½ inch pieces.
  12. Cut three lemons into ½ inch pieces.
  13. Stuff the marinated turkey with the onion and lemon pieces. Leave some aside.
  14. Glaze the top of the turkey with some more butter.
  15. Place one cup all-purpose flour in an oven bag and shake it will.
  16. Now place the oven bag in the roast pan you plan to use and open it wide. Now put the turkey inside the oven bag carefully. Add the rest of the lemon and onion pieces.
  17. Close the oven bag and make six ½ inch cuts around the top.
  18. Place the roast pan in the preheated oven and bake for two and a half hours.
  19. Using a thermometer to check, cook the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the thickest part of the thigh. Take turkey out of the oven. Cut and discard the oven bag. Use the drippings and the baked lemon pieces for the gravy. Use the baked onion pieces to line the bottom for the turkey.
  20. Serve decorated with fresh coriander leaves, mint leaves and lemon pieces around the turkey.

Number of servings: 10 people for a 4.1kg turkey

Cooking Time: 2.5 hours

Prep Time: 1 hour

Hara Masala Roast Turkey

How To Make the Gravy:

  1. When you place the turkey in the oven prepare the gravy by placing the neck and the liver in a pot with some water.
  2. Cook for around one hour on low heat so that a nice broth forms. Take out the liver and neck and discard.
  3. Add two tablespoon of the hara masala marinade to the broth along with some salt to taste.
  4. Take around ½ cup of the broth in a cup and mix well with 2 tablespoon of cornflour so that it thickens.
  5. Now add this thickened broth to the main broth in the pan. Continue cooking on low heat and stirring.
  6. Add the drippings from the roasted turkey to the broth including the roasted lemon pieces. Let it cook for 10 more mins.
  7. Strain the gravy and it’s ready to be served!

Suggested Sides:

Let’s talk about the all important sides! Since this entire turkey meal was South Asian/Desi inspired, I also used the same themes for the sides. So instead of traditional cranberry sauce I used a tomato-garlic chatni and plain pulao. You can make simple zeera pulao or vegetable rice. Garlic bread always goes well with turkey too.

Hara Masala Roast Turkey

Tomato-garlic chatni recipe:

Grind 6 cloves of garlic with 10 whole lal mirch pieces and a little water. Now add two chopped tomatoes and a few fresh coriander leaves and grind some more. Sprinkle a little salt on top. Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add one tablespoon of whole cumin. Fry a little and now add the tomato mix. Fry for a minute and it’s ready. Can be served cold. Will stay good in the fridge for upto a month.

Some Useful Tips:

  • It can be intimidating to roast a whole turkey for the first time! But don’t worry, there are lots of tips on canadianturkey.ca website
  • You can roast the turkey a day before if you’re worried about the whole process. Keep the roasted turkey in the fridge. Before serving the next day, preheat oven to 420F and add more butter on top of the turkey. Place the turkey in the oven for around 30-45 mins after covering with some aluminium foil so that it heats all the way inside.
  • Turkey leftovers are great to be used for recipes such as turkey roll paratha and turkey shami kebab!

Hara Masala Roast Turkey

Hope you enjoyed this Hara Masala Roast Turkey recipe. Do share the results once you make it! Happy Thanksgiving!

Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Canadian Turkey. All opinions are my own.