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+ servings
Yogurt-Marinated Turkey with Cumin, Coriander, and Garlic
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 55 mins

A wonderfully aromatic yogurt marinated turkey recipe featuring garlic, fresh ground cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cardamom, and pepper. Yogurt and spice rub recipe adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha.

Recipe Type: Dinner
Makes: 12 servings
Author: Brooklyn Supper, Spice Rub adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha
For the Spice Rub, adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha
  • 5 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons cardamon pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 25 black peppercorns
  • 20 cloves whole
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 8 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 14 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
For the Turkey
  • 12 - 16 pound whole turkey, giblets removed and trussed
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, as needed
  1. Working 1 - 2 days ahead, make the spice rub.
  2. Place cumin and coriander in a medium skillet over medium heat. Shaking pan frequently, toast just until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove spices from hot pan and set aside.
  3. With the flat side of a knife or a mortar and pestle, crush cardamom pods and collect seeds from inside each pod. Reserve seeds and discard pods.
  4. Next, break up cinnamon sticks with a knife or mortar and pestle so you have the tiniest shards possible. Place cinnamon shards in a spice grinder (aka a clean coffee grinder), and pulse to break up; continue processing until completely ground. Working in batches (if you have a small grinder), reduce the cumin, coriander, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves. Mix in turmeric and sea salt. Place spice rub in a sealed jar.
  5. The night before, pulse to combine spice rub, onion, garlic, and yogurt in the bowl of a food processor. Process and scrape down sides until you have a smooth, slightly lumpy, paste. Reserve 1/3 of the paste in a small bowl or jar in the fridge.
  6. Set turkey in a large dish or roasting pan, and remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity. Truss turkey by tying feet together and tying wings down with butcher's twine. (More on trussing here.) Rub turkey all over with spice rub, being sure to get all the folds and indentations. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  7. The day of, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Place turkey breast side down in roasting pan and slide into oven. Cook 1 hour (or 1 1/2 hours for a larger bird) then flip turkey. To flip, set out two dish towels and wear two oven mitts. Grab turkey on both sides using dish towels and carefully flip end over end, rotating it so that the juices inside pour out the bottom cavity and not the neck. Keep hands, arms, and other body parts clear, because the liquid is scalding hot. After you've flipped it, apply some of the reserved spice rub to give the breast side an even coating if any of the rub came off while the turkey was breast side down.
  9. Put turkey back in oven and continue cooking at 375 degrees.
  10. Melt butter in a small saucepan for basting. Check turkey every half-hour and baste with butter. If breast begins to brown too much before the bird is up to temperature, place aluminum foil gently over breast to shield it from direct heat.
  11. After about an hour and a half, check the temperature by inserting a thermometer deeply into the space between the leg and the bottom of the breast. Cook until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F, 2 1/2 - 3 hours total (or longer for a larger bird). Pull turkey and allow it to rest 15 - 20 minutes. Carefully remove it to a cutting board.
  12. To carve turkey, first remove trussing twine. Then remove drumsticks and thighs by slicing through the skin that joins the thigh to the breast and then cutting downward until you reach the joint. Push down on the thigh to expose the joint and then cut through it. Separate drumstick from thigh cutting at the joint. Cut thigh meat away from the bone and slice into serving portions.
  13. Next, remove wings by slicing through the joint, then set them aside. To carve breast, cut slice from the sides roughly parallel to the center of the breast. Place the meat on a platter and serve. For a smaller dinner, consider just serving the breast and thighs and keeping the drumsticks and wings as leftovers.