Venison Turkey Masala

southern twist on tikka masala with venison and turkey

Ever since making Venison Turkey Masala for my family, it’s been a staple on our table. Heck, it has been the kid’s number one choice for birthday meals this year!  

The meat most often found in Masala dishes is chicken (Tikka Masala), but venison and wild turkey are perfect for this low-and-slow heat style dish. The most flavorful cuts of meat are usually the toughest cuts, but if marinated and cooked with low slow heat, just as this recipe calls for, you will end up with amazing flavorful and tender meat. I use the venison hindquarter roast and wild turkey breast in this recipe.

southern twist on classic tikka masala with venison and turkey

The flavor combinations in the spice blend of Masala lends itself to wild game, without overpowering it. You can buy Masala, or you can make your own with spices you most likely already have on hand. You will be using the spices in the marinade and in the sauce.

Masala is the perfect make-ahead dish and is perfect for the hunting camp or entertaining. It is best to make this dish a day ahead and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours and serve it the next day. Not only do the spices have time to distribute through the sauce, the meat becomes more tender.

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southern twist on classic tikka masala with venison and turkey

Venison and Turkey Tikka Masala

The meat most often found in masala dishes is chicken (Tikka Masala) but venison and wild turkey are perfect for this low-and-slow heat dish.
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 12
Calories 74 kcal


  • For the Marinade
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 lemons
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root peeled and grated
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 pound venison hindquarter cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound turkey breast cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 fresh red chiles sliced
  • For Masala
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for browning the meat
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 fresh red chiles
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stalks chopped
  • 28 ounces plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2 14 ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1 lemon halved
  • Greek yogurt for serving


  • In a small frying pan, add the first 8 spices and toast for one minute. Add the spices to a large bowl and finely grate in the zest of 1 lemon and its juice. Add the garlic, ginger, yogurt, venison, turkey, and red chili peppers. Cover with plastic wrap and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Heat oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven. When sizzling, add venison and turkey pieces in batches. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the meat until browned, but not cooked all the way through, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and add onions until browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and brown for about one minute. Add the sliced red chile pepper, coriander, turmeric and cilantro stalks and cook for about 3 more minutes. Give the mixture a stir and add the tomatoes. Add the turkey and venison to the mixture and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • In a processor, add almonds until chopped very finely. Add the almonds into the Dutch oven and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and halved lemon, then simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lemons and squeeze the juices into the sauce with tongs, and season to perfection. Dollop a few spoonfuls of yogurt and swirl through, then sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the Masala. Serve with Basmati Rice and Indian Bread (naan).


Serving: 12gCalories: 74kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 11gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 27mgPotassium: 232mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 609IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
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  1. Lorin Levine-Janovich says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. My hubby is deer hunting today coastal deer zone A in California along the coast. Sure hope he’s able to harvest one!

    1. Lorin, I sure hope he gets one. Please let me know. You will love this recipe! It’s great the 2nd day too!

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