Go Back
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.


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 grated
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 pound venison hindquarter cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound turkey breatst cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 fresh red chiles sliced

For Masala

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for browning the meat
  • 4 tablepoons butter divided
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 fresh red chiles
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 cup cliantro 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, crish in the garlic, and peel and finely grate in the ginger. Add the 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 brown 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).