Let’s not grumble too much about the weather. Simply: It is cold. And when it’s cold—so much so that I have to rub my hands together really fast just to get my deft fingers ready for typing—meals should be as warming as they are fueling. This recipe from Hai Hospitality (Loro, Uchi, Uchiba) VP of culinary operations Jack Yoss ticks both boxes. Yoss shares his recipe for turkey coconut curry.
The recipe calls for a pound and a half of turkey meat, but you could as easily use leftover meat from a rotisserie chicken, or, heck, go vegetarian and throw in some cubed tofu. The beautiful thing about curries is how versatile they are. Got some veg on the edge? Throw it in the pot! I made a pot of chickpeas recently that is begging to be tossed into a soup, stew, or this curry dish right here.
Turkey Coconut Curry
1.5 pounds leftover turkey meat
4 Tbsp curry paste (see below for homemade recipe)
3 cups water
1 can of coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
10 pieces of whole clove, toasted
10 cardamon pods, toasted
5 pieces star anise, toasted
Shallot, sliced and fried (to taste or about 1 Tbsp per portion; at least two shallots-worth)
2–4 Tbsp fish sauce, or to taste
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Oil, for sautéing
Makes enough for recipe and then some (10 portions).
10 ounces peeled shallot, sliced
5 ounces peeled garlic cloves, sliced
10 ounces big red chile pepper, seeded and sliced (if you prefer less spice, adjust accordingly)
3.5 ounces fresh galangal Fresh, chopped
3 ounces fresh ginger, chopped
3 ounces fresh turmeric, chopped
2 ounces candlenut, roasted and chopped (can substitute macadamia nuts)
1 Tbsp coriander seed
3.5 ounces lemongrass, chopped
5 pieces salam leaves (can sub curry leaves)
5 pieces makrut (a.k.a Thai) lime leaves
1 cinnamon stick
6 pieces star anise
8 pieces clove
10 cardamon pods
1 piece of nutmeg
Make the curry paste: In a dry skillet, toast all spices on medium-low until fragrant, about five or so minutes, watching that they don’t burn. Stir frequently. Set aside. In a saucepan, sauté shallot and garlic until golden brown. Then add galangal, ginger, chiles, turmeric, candlenut, coriander seed, lemongrass, and leaves (if using fresh leaves). Cook until tender and the fragrance makes someone comes into the kitchen and say, “Mm, smells good in here.” Transfer to blender with spices and process until smooth and paste-like in texture.
Make the coconut curry: In a large sauté pan or dutch oven, brown curry paste in a little oil with toasted spices (clove, cardamom, star anise). Add water and coconut milk, and simmer. Toss in your cinnamon stick. Cook until fragrant and sauce starts to reduce slightly. Once mixture reaches your desired curry consistency, fold in turkey and bring to a simmer again. Season with salt and fish sauce. Garnish with fried shallots, cilantro, some fresh tomatoes if you want. Serve with rice and lime wedges.