Turkey Balti – A Leftover Turkey Curry (low carb, keto)
Turkey Balti is an aromatic Indian curry of leftover turkey in a spiced tomato and pepper gravy.
Based on Indian Balti chicken, this inventive way of using up leftover turkey is low carb, keto, and paleo friendly.
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Seriously do it.
Every year after a holiday turkey, I love finding new ways to use up the leftover turkey like my leftover turkey chaffle melt with bacon jam. It almost always includes turkey curry of some sort, since curry is by far my favourite food.
Last year I did a very standard yellow turkey curry with the leftovers.
It was delicious. You should really try it..
This year, I made a very different type of turkey curry.
This recipe is based on the Indian Balti chicken curry, at least my families version of it.
About This Recipe
- A fragrant curry gravy with onions, garlic, ginger, peppers, and tomato finished with cream or yogurt.
- Leftover curry is added near the end to simmer briefly since it’s already cooked.
- Low carb and keto friendly with 8g net carbs per serving
- Pairs very well with roasted cauliflower rice or an Indian bhaji
- Balti is quick for a curry, ready in just 60 minutes.
What is Balti?
Balti is technically the large steel pan or dish that this curry is traditionally prepared and served in. So technically this isn’t truly Balti unless you prepare it in a Balti bowl. But that doesn’t dramatically change the dish.
Turkey Balti is a curry started with onions, garlic, and ginger, and contains tomato, peppers, and many aromatics and spices which give this curry incredible flavour.
Since the turkey is already cooked and tender it can be added to the gravy at the end for a brief simmer before serving making this a quicker curry than most.
What you Need To Know
Below are the key details you need to make this curry perfect every time. For full recipe directions jump to the recipe card.
Starting the Gravy
I always start my curries by frying onions, garlic, ginger, and spices until they break down into a paste. This can be achieved quickly with a technique I call water frying.
After frying everything until it’s golden brown and the spices are tempered. Water is added to the pan little bits at a time until it evaporates. This is then repeated until a thick paste is formed.
This is the base of your curry gravy.
Tips for water frying
- Begin the water fry only after frying the onions briefly in oil and cooking the spices. The oil with darken the onions and add colour and flavour that water frying won’t.
- Add water in very small amounts, 1-2 tablespoons at a time to avoid drowning and cooling the pan. Stir until the water has evaporated and only add more once the previous water has fried off.
- Keep water frying until the onions have broken down into a paste with the spices.
Simmering the gravy
Balti’s don’t usually simmer for that long. They are meant to a quick curry.
Since the turkey is already cooked and quite tender, only a brief simmer is needed to tenderize the tomatoes and peppers and let them meld into the gravy.
For this curry, a selection of both dark and light meat, without the skin chopped from a leftover turkey into bite sized pieces is used.
Can I use something other than leftover turkey?
Of course, this recipe works whether or not you use leftover turkey. You could buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use that, even leftover roast chicken.
Starting From Raw Meat
If you want to make this curry starting with raw meat, I recommend either fully cooking it in the pot beforehand and setting it aside while you cook the gravy in the same pot (adds flavour), then re-adding the cooked meat back to the gravy at the same time you’d add the turkey.
Or, add the meat raw after water frying, and cook until the meat is cooked through before adding the peppers and tomatoes. You should also add 15-20 minutes to the simmering time to tenderize the meat.
Leftover Turkey Balti (Low Carb | Keto)
- Knife and Cutting Board
- large pot/wok/fry pan
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro fresh, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon panch phoran
- 1 tablespoon garam masala ground
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon coriander ground
- 1½ teaspoons turmeric ground
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder or cayenne
- 1 cup water for water frying
- 14 oz canned tomatoes diced
- 1 large bell pepper diced
- 32 oz leftover turkey meat bite sized pieces, cooked
- ½ cup heavy cream
- cilantro for garnish
- salt to taste
- Fry onions, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Thinly slice onions, and mince the garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Add to the pot, season with salt, and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning until the onions begin to brown on the edges.1 medium onion, ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons ginger, 4 cloves garlic
- Add the spices and cook. Make a well in the onions to expose the bottom of the pot and add the panch phoran, garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder. Allow everything to fry for half a minute or so until the panch phoran begins to pop and sputter then combine everything in the pot.1 teaspoon panch phoran, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1½ teaspoons turmeric, 1½ teaspoons cumin, ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
- Water fry until a paste forms. Begin the water frying process by adding water to the onion mixture 1-2 tablespoons at a time being careful not to drown the pot. Stir and fry until all the added water has evaporated and then repeat by adding another 1-2 tablespoons of water. Continue repeating this process until the onions and spices have broken down into a smooth paste.1 cup water
- Cook tomatoes and pepper until tender. Next add the diced tomatoes and bell pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally until the tomatoes and peppers have become tender.1 large bell pepper, 14 oz canned tomatoes
- Add the turkey meat and simmer. Cut the cooked turkey meat into bite sized pieces and add it to the pot. If the pot is very dry, add some water until about half the turkey meat is covered. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.32 oz leftover turkey meat
- Add heavy cream and simmer. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer uncovered for an additional 5 to10 minutes. Salt to taste, and serve garnished with fresh cilantro, hot chilies, and lemon juice over roasted cauliflower rice or a low carb vegetable bhaji.½ cup heavy cream, cilantro, salt
What to Serve with Leftover Turkey Balti
There are many sides and garnishees that pair well with curry.
For garnish I like to add fresh chopped cilantro, green chilies, lemon juice, and pickled onions.
(The same pickled onions I used in my Chimichurri steak fajitas!)
Here are some great low carb side dishes for curry
Quick Tips to Master This Recipe
- Take your time water frying the onions To get a good start of your gravy. It will only enhance the flavours of the curry.
- Always cook your spices! This is crucial at all times, after adding the spices, let them cook and fry on the bare pan for around a minute to remove bitterness and distribute the flavour throughout the dish.