Saturday, 14 September 2013

Cyrus Todiwala Talks Turkey: Turkey Tikka recipe by the Incredible Spice Man

Have you been watching BBC TV’s current cooking programme “The Incredible Spice Men”? I certainly have! It’s been wonderful watching Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, the renowned chef at London’s Café Spice Namaste and Tony Singh, the kilt wearing Chef-Director of Oloroso and Tony’s Table in Edinburgh, travel round the country doing what they do best: cook. Their mission is simply to enhance and bring a modern twist to classic British dishes by adding spice. The recipes have been innovative, look fantastic and are both achievable and simple, the different landscapes of Britain have been delightful… And then there is the interaction between Cyrus and Tony; jocular, fun, warm and genuinely friendly. 

I have seen Cyrus give a cooking demonstration before at the Real Food Festival on London’s South Bank (writeup can be found here: So it will be no surprise that I was delighted when I was invited to Café Spice Namaste to a British Turkey Masterclass. Cyrus’ love of great British produce has been evident during the Spice Men series, and his mission for the evening was to convince us that turkey is for more than just Christmas dinner.

I was sceptical, but happy to put myself in the hands of such a talented chef and show a little trust. My experiences of dry and bland turkey at Christmas had put me off using turkey in my home cooking. Cyrus was going to have an uphill task convincing me that I could make fabulous, spicy, flavourful meals with turkey!
Snigdha meets Cyrus

Cyrus prepared a number of ingenious creations combining spicing, marinading and currying techniques. He showed us how to make several dishes during the course of the evening, ranging from slow cooked curries, omelettes, and masalas.
Snigdha meets Mrs Todiwala - the lovely Pervin

The Khari Gurdun dish demonstrated how the neck of the turkey can be slow cooked in a casserole or curry sauce base to become tender and tasty. Because the neck has such well developed muscle, it is seen as being tough and chewy, meaning it is often discarded. This was an eye-opener for me, since as we head into Autumn and Winter, I like to change my cooking style to more comforting braised and slow cooked dishes, and Khari Gurdun is just the sort of food I crave in the grey cold weather.
Khari Gurdun
Cyrus made a very quick turkey liver spicy stir fry, a sort of dry curry. The turkey livers themselves are quite strong flavoured, so this would be a good dish to serve in small quantity to give a different texture and mood to an overall meal.

Cyrus demonstrated two types of dish using turkey eggs. One was a simple omelette with lots of coriander, tomato, spring onion and spice, the other more substantial type of scrambled egg dish, containing marinaded strips of turkey.

Here is the simple omelette:

Here is Cyrus making the turkey strip scrambled egg stir fry:

The finished dish:

We had some minced turkey koftas:

Trio of turkey starters
The three dishes were:
A turkey sheek kavaab omelette roll (turkey minced with fresh ginger, garlic, chillies and spices formed over a skewer, chargrilled and served rolled in a turkey egg omelette)
Mini turkey masala pie (diced turkey cooked with chopped shallots, tomato and spices, filled in mini pastry cases)
Bhuna turkey dosa (rice and lentil pancake filled with diced turkey cooked in a traditional Bhuna masala)

Turkey chilli fry
Turkey strips, tossed in typical Goan style with sliced shallot, spring onion, chilli, ginger and garlic with cumin in a light sauce

Potato dosa bhajee
A simple South Indian style potato preparation flavoured with cracked mustard seeds, white lentils and curry leaves. 

Gently spiced but not bland, this would be a wonderful filling in a masala dosa. It would also be a colourful accompaniment to sausages if you wanted to serve an Indianised Bangers N Mash!

Leeli Kolmi Ni Curry
Light green curry with fresh coconut and cashew nuts simmered with sustainably sourced Red Sea king prawns.

Saffron ginger and cardamom crème brulee and fresh fruit salad cup
Just as the Incredible Spice Men have spiced up British classics, here Cyrus has spiced up a typically French dessert. Simply delicious!

The dishes I had were all so tasty, that I left Café Spice Namaste completely stuffed. Some dishes were ones that I had to have second helpings of…. Cyrus was only too pleased to let me have some more. Although he did have the audacity to comment with a cheeky “Madam, your size is somewhat misleading, it belies your appetite!”

One of the treats we sampled was a trio of “turkey tikkas” – marinaded and grilled cubes of turkey. Cyrus was kind enough to allow me to share the recipe of one of them with you. 

You will want to try this recipe, it was moist, flavourful and delightful. It is simple and nothing about it is difficult – you just have to remember to marinade the turkey overnight.

Cyrus Todiwala’s Turkey Tikka


800g British turkey breast                          
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste (white pepper powder is best)
150g Plain yoghurt                                                 
40g Ginger                                       
4-5 cloves Garlic                                         
½ tsp Cumin Powder                                  
½ tsp Coriander Powder                
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder                
2 tbsp Lime Juice                            
½ tsp Garam Masala Powder                    
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil           
Knob of Butter for basting 


  1. Cut the turkey breast into “Tikka’s” or cubes large enough to be skewered roughly 1 ½” X 1 ½”.

  1. Rub salt, pepper and turmeric into the meat and set aside in the refrigerator.

  1. In a blender add all the other ingredients and half the yoghurt and blend to a smooth paste.

  1. When all the spices are mixed in well, remove to a bowl and whisk in the remaining yoghurt.

  1. Check here for spice levels to suit your requirements. Add more chilli only if you so desire.

  1. Mix in the turkey well.

  1. The marinated turkey is best set aside overnight in the refrigerator or at least four to five hours.

  1. The cooking process now can be two fold.  The tikka can either be chargrilled on the barbecue or under the grill and finished in the oven.

  1. Either way it needs to be basted for that juicy appearance.

  1. Under the grill if wishing to cook right through ensure that the grill is not too high and that the meat is on a wire mesh with a drip tray below.

  1. Only if there is no option use a very hot oven at around 190 to 200 degrees C

  1. The Tikka’s will cook well in approximately in eight to ten minutes. Turn them once over if you like for an all-round colour.

I would like to thank Café Spice Namaste and British Turkey for inviting me to the British Turkey Masterclass with Cyrus Todiwala.


  1. Oh wow, love The incredible spice men, and you are so privileged to have met Cyrus. Nice Tikka

    1. Dear Janice,

      It is amazing who you get to meet as a blogger every now and then. I do count myself as very fortunate that I've been able to meet so many food heroes.

      Hope you liked the post. The tikka tastes superb, so I do hope you will give it a go. Let me know how you get on!

      Thanks for reading and for commenting! I really appreciate it!

      lots of love

  2. Sounds like a great day, love the turkey recipe

    1. Dear Laura,

      Thank you very much! I am delighted that you like the turkey recipe! If you give it a go, please do let me know how you get on!

      Thanks for the address of your own food blog. I will enjoy having a look at it in my spare time!

      Many thanks!

      Very best wishes
      Snigdha (Snig of Snig's Kitchen)

  3. Great post! Really captured the evening. And great pics too. I'm definitely cooking the turkey tikka soon.

    Annie x

    1. Dear Annie

      It was a pleasure to meet you at the Turkey Masterclass.

      I really enjoyed your writeup. How kind of you to give a mention to all the people you met!

      The Turkey Tikka was lovely - and the recipe is simple and do-able. What a shame that Autumn has arrived, as it was crying out to be cooked on the BBQ! :(

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

      very best wishes
      Snigdha (Snig of Snig's Kitchen)

  4. The food looks absolutely divine! Did you get to try the omelette? I wonder if the eggs taste very different? Also, if you track the number of clicks on to your blog, I'll confess that about 5 of them will be from me today. I first opened it at 9.15am and then a few more times throughout the day but have only just had a chance to read it!

    1. Dear Anjali

      Glad you liked the look of the food, although obviously, very little for a vegetarian!

      I don't eat much egg, I have always disliked it (I am told it is because I am partially allergic). So whilst I tried the omelette and thought it was nice in small amount, I couldn't compare to regular eggs.

      The turkey eggs are larger and had very white shells. I hear that you can buy them in Waitrose.

      I'm delighted that you WANTED to check this 5 times in a day! Your support is appreciated!

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment, Anjali!

      with love