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Turkey Mussalam

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Turkey Mussalam
  • Chef:
  • Recipe Servings: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Chef Crystal Mendonce shares an authentic recipe of the popular Thanksgving dish, Turkey Mussalam.


  • 1 turkey
  • 4 onions (medium)
  • 8 green cardamoms
  • 5 sticks cinnamon (1")
  • 8 black cardamom
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 liters clear chicken stock
  • 40 gm butter for basting

  • The Marination:
  • 250 gm yoghurt
  • 60 gm garlic paste
  • 60 gm ginger paste
  • 15 gm red chilly powder
  • 15 gm salt

  • The Filling:
  • 500 gm chicken mince
  • 5 gm black cardamom powder (coarsely ground)
  • 50 gm clarified butter
  • 16 flakes garlic
  • 15 gm ginger
  • 2 green chilly
  • 2 red chilly (fresh)
  • 20 gm roasted pistachio
  • 20 gm almonds
  • 10 gm royal or black cumin seeds
  • 5 gm black pepper powder
  • 5 gm green cardamom powder
  • 5 gm mace powder
  • 10 gm salt
    The Gravy:
  • 75 gm clarified butter
  • 30 gm garlic paste
  • 20 gm ginger paste
  • 250 gm yoghurt
  • 6 gm coriander powder
  • 3 gm red chilly powder
  • 3 gm turmeric powder
  • 10 gm salt
  • 60 gm almond paste
  • 30 gm char magaz/ melon seed paste
  • 60 gm fried onion paste
  • 1.5 gm green cardamom powder
  • 1 gm Mace Powder
  • 1 gm Saffron
  • 10ml Rose Water

  • The Garnish:
  • 3 eggs, boiled and shelled.
  • 12 toasted pistachios
  • 12 cashew nut halves                                         
  • 16 toasted almonds
  • 0.25 gm saffron


  1. The Turkey: Clean, remove the neck and the skin. Make small gashes on the entire surface.
  2. The Marination: Whisk yoghurt in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, mix well. Evenly rub the turkey with this marinade and set aside for at least an hour (preferably overnight).
  3. The Filling: Wash green and red chillies. Slit, de-seed and finely chop. Heat ghee in a kadhai/wok, add the garlic and ginger pastes and bhunno/stir-fry over medium heat until the moisture evaporates.
  4. Add the mince and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Remove, cool, add the remaining ingredients, mix well.
  5. The Stuffing: Stuff the abdominal cavity of the turkey with the filling and the eggs from the tail end, then double up the legs, ensuring that drumsticks cover the opening through which the filling was stuffed and tie firmly with string.
  6. Gently twist the winglet bones to make the bird more stable when placed on its back.
  7. The Mire Poix:  Peel, wash and slice onions.
  8. The Gravy: Whisk yoghurt in a bowl, add coriander, red chillies and turmeric and salt, mix well and keep aside.  Crush the saffron threads with a pestle or the back of a spoon, soak in rosewater and then make a paste.
  9. The Garnish: Dissolve saffron flakes in lukewarm water and when the water turns saffron, put almond flakes to enable them to acquire a saffron hue.
  10. The Oven:  Pre-heat to 375 F.
  11. Cooking:
  12. Spread the onions in a large handi/pot. Sprinkle both the cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves, arrange the stuffed turkey on top.
  13. Pour the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat.
  14. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove and arrange the turkey on a greased roasting tray and reserve the jus for the gravy.
  15. To prepare the gravy, heat ghee in a handi/pan, add the garlic and ginger pastes,    bhunno/stir-fry until the moisture evaporates. 
  16. Remove handi/pan from heat, stir-in the yoghurt mixture, return handi/pan to heat, bhunno/stir-fry over medium heat until specs of fat leaves the sides. 
  17. Then add the almond and char magaz pastes, bhunno/stir-fry until the fat leaves the sides, add the fried onion paste and bhunno/stir-fry until the fat leaves the sides. Add the reserved jus.
  18. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. 
  19. Remove and pass the gravy through a fine-mesh soup strainer into a separate handi/pan.
  20. Return gravy to heat, bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer until of sauce consistency. 
  21. Sprinkle the cardamom and mace powders, stir, add the saffron, stir, remove and adjust the seasoning.

  22. The Finishing:

    Pour the gravy over the turkey arranged in the roasting tray and cook in the pre-heated oven, basting with butter at regular intervals for 20-25 minutes or until the turkey is fully cooked and the gravy becomes brown. 
  23. Remove, untie the turkey and reserve the gravy.

  24. To Serve: 
  25. Carve the turkey on a clean chopping board.
  26. Scoop a dollop of the stuffing on a plate and arrange 2-3 slices of the turkey on the stuffing.
  27. Pour some gravy on the top.
  28. Garnish with egg slices, pistachio, cashew nuts, toasted almonds and saffron threads and serve with pulao rice or any bread of your choice.