Here's an easy recipe for a juicy and crisp Tandoori Turkey Breast that's a real showstopper! This Indian-inspired turkey can be prepared in the Instant Pot or Oven, with plenty of homemade gravy and cilantro lime crema to pass around.
Prepare marinade: In a medium bowl, combine oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, yogurt, and all the spices, and mix well. Keep aside.
Pat turkey dry: Using paper towels, wipe and pat dry the turkey breast. At this point, you can remove the skin if you like.
Marinate turkey: Place the turkey in a gallon size ziplock bag (for easy clean-up). Pour the marinade in the bag, then close the zip. Ensure the bag is sealed, then massage the turkey breast with the marinade so it coats it well. Let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at least for 8 hours.
Cooking Method 1: Pressure Cook in Instant Pot
Add aromatics: Turn on the Instant Pot and add chicken broth, butter, chopped onion, and garlic. Give it a stir. (Note: If not making gravy, you can skip the butter).
Place turkey in the pot: Place a trivet with handles in the Instant pot. Place the turkey breast on the trivet.
Pressure cook: Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Select manual or pressure cook and set 18 mins (follow 6 minutes per pound).
Release pressure: Once cooking is done, wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, after which release the remaining pressure manually. Open the lid after the pin drops.
Check for doneness: To ensure that the turkey breast is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone. Turkey is cooked if the temperature reads 165°F or higher. If not, pressure cook for another 3-5 minutes.
To Make Gravy: Remove turkey from the pressure cooker. Turn on saute to make gravy. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and heavy whipping cream, and whisk until smooth. Add this mixture in slowly, while stirring the gravy. Continue to simmer for a few minutes until the gravy thickens. Check for taste, then cancel saute and transfer to a gravy boat for serving.
Crisp skin in oven: Place the cooked turkey breast on a lined baking tray, breast side up. Adjust the top rack of the oven such that the turkey breast is about 3-4 inches under the broiler plates. Brush oil over the turkey and broil on high for about 5 minutes, until most of the skin is browned.
Cooking Method 2: Roast in Oven
Marinate turkey: Marinate turkey as per instructions above. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pull out the turkey breast from the ziplock bag, shaking off excess marinade. Place it meat-side up on a wire rack placed in an aluminum-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up).
Bake turkey: Roast turkey for about 1 hour in the oven or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165°F or higher. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Make stovetop gravy: While the turkey is resting, make stovetop gravy by sauteing the onions and garlic in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and heavy whipping cream, and whisk until smooth. Add this mixture in slowly, while stirring the gravy. Continue to simmer for a few minutes until the gravy thickens. Check for taste and transfer to a gravy boat for serving.
How to Slice Turkey
Slice turkey: Pinning down the cooked turkey with a fork on one end, hold the knife at a 45° angle, and slice turkey breast into ½-inch thick slices. Serve with sides of your choice.
Cilantro Lime Crema
Blend ingredients: In a powder blender jar, combine all ingredients for cilantro crema and blend until smooth. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.
Remove or keep skin: This is a personal preference, so pick whatever you like.
Marinate: Marination helps develop flavors and infuse the turkey. I recommend marinating for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight. Don't skip this step.
Spread marinade under the skin: If you like a more prominent tandoori flavor, loosen the skin and spread the marinade under.
Use a tall trivet: Ensure that the trivet is tall enough so the turkey doesn't touch the liquid This ensures even cooking.
Crisp skin: For crispy skin, broil the turkey in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
Check for doneness: Turkey is done when the temperature in the thickest part, not touching the bone, reads >165°F.
Color: Homemade tandoori meat never turns out 'red'. If you want that picture-perfect color, simply add 2-3 drops of red food coloring to this marinade.
Adjust spice level: Replace Kashmiri red chili powder with regular paprika for a mild taste.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and do not include gravy and cilantro lime crema. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.