Taj Mahal Turkey Curry


Sure, I could have just called this “Leftover Turkey Curry,” but where’s the fun in that?!

In my search for worthwhile things to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, I found this recipe on Feed52, then messed with it to make it even tastier and paleo approved. Kind of like Country Captain Chicken, this dish combines curry, raisins, and poultry to make a meal that’s comforting and a little spicy, so in less than 40 minutes, you can distract yourself from the fact that you’re eating turkey. Again.

Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to share some Taj Mahal Fun Facts:

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It took 20,000 workers 22 years to complete its construction, a number commemorated in the11 mini tombs in front and 11 mini tombs in back of the Taj, and the 22 steps leading to its entrance.

Construction was completed in 1653, which is represented by eight blocks of gardens on each side of the Taj and 53 fountains on the surrounding grounds.

Workers used 1000 elephants to transport building materials — and 28 different types of semi-precious and precious gems were used to decorate the Taj.

The color of the Taj seems to change based on the light at different times of day and night. According to some stories, that’s meant to depict the different moods of a woman.

Surprisingly, there’s no indication if anyone involved with the Taj Mahal ever enjoyed a curry made from leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Taj Mahal Turkey Curry

Serves 2-4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 30 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (I like Maharaha Curry from Penzeys.)

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 pound leftover cooked turkey (or chicken), diced (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • cooked spaghetti squash

  • optional garnishes: sliced almonds, minced cilantro


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add onions, pepper, and bay leaf. Toss to coat veggies with oil and sauté until tender and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the curry powder, thyme, and tomato paste. Stir vigorously to blend the fat in the pan with the curry and tomato paste. Fry about 3 minutes, then add the turkey, raisins, tomatoes, and apple sauce. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, 20-30 minutes until sauce is thickening and flavors meld.


Add the coconut milk; stir to combine and heat through. Serve on top of spaghetti squash and sprinkle with garnishes.

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  • AKM says:

    Oh, this looks great, Mel. I don’t have any leftover turkey, but I may buy a pound of it (or chicken) just to make this. Thanks!

  • carmen davis says:

    looks like a good way to use leftover pork too. guess what’s for dinner tomorrow.

  • catlady says:

    sounds great

  • Alyssa says:

    This looks great! And I love how all your recipes are automatically Whole30 compliant (: Like AKM, I have no leftover turkey, but will be buying some just to make this!

  • rachael says:

    yum! had this tonite for dinner. hearty and delicious!

  • Jessie says:

    Just had this for dinner. A – mazing! It’s going into heavy rotation. Thanks!

  • Ann says:

    Wow, I just made it tonight and it was SOOOO GOOD! My husband was raving about it! Thank you for this amazing creation!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! I’m glad you liked it! I have some leftover chicken in the fridge, and I think I know what I’m doing with it 😉

  • Brenda says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was so delicious! The sauce is very velveety. I will be making this recipe again soon! Thanks for another amazing recipe Mel!

  • Vanchi says:

    I’m a bit behind on the news 😛 but this is awesome. Made it three times so far, used ground turkey and omitted the onions/garlic due to FODMAP issues – still tastes awesome.

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Mel!

    I’ve been reading your blog and lurking on your site in anonymity for a few months now. Have decided to do a whole30 (after a particularly sugar-filled celebration weekend, headache- and stomachache-city!) starting today. I made this curry and some spagetti squash for the very first time… sooo delicious! I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow and checking out more recipes over the next 30 days!

    Thanks for such an awesome site!!

    • Mel says:

      So glad you found me — thanks for commenting and letting me know you’re here!

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing. I hope you have a great month! Glad you liked this recipe! It’s really comforting and gloopy-good, right?

  • BikramJen says:

    I started my first Whole 30 yesterday, and have been looking at recipes for my leftover turkey. Will be making this later, for dinner. Thank you!

  • BikramJen says:

    Should have included this in last post. Do you think this will freeze well, minus the spaghetti squash? Thanks.

  • Tamara says:

    I will have to try this. My favorite way to eat turkey is with Awesome Sauce! I love that stuff. Well Fed 2 is my go to. Thanks for sharing and for the awesome recipes.

    • Mel says:

      YAY! Glad you like the Awesome Sauce. I made myself giggle for a few days when I got that idea. *I* think I’m really funny; Dave just rolls his eyes 🙂

  • Gale says:

    I have mad the Taj Mahal chicken and it is awesome!

  • Hala says:

    Melissa says make Taj Mahal Turkey, and I make Taj Mahal Turkey! Had this for dinner tonight – YUM! Thanks Melissa, I was seriously worried my leftover turkey would end up going to waste. 🙂

  • Mel says:

    Really glad you guys are enjoying this recipe! It’s a nice change from the Thanksgiving flavors that I crave on Turkey Day — then can’t get rid of fast enough on Saturday 🙂

  • Drea says:

    My trainer has challenged me to try the Whole30, and linked me to your website for recipes and food ideas. And THIS is definitely on my list of things I am making. I can’t wait. 🙂

  • Darla K says:

    Hi Mel, I made this curry for my family last evening and I was shocked that my 12 & 14 year old sons loved it! It is so simple and tastes better than any curry I’ve had in restaurants. Just received Well Fed 2 in the mail today. Looks great!

  • Jaime says:

    Anything I could sub for the tomatoes and tomato paste? Devastatingly, I’m allergic. This looks incredible and I sooooo want to try it!

  • Jane Andrews says:

    I made this the other night for dinner…OMA (A is for Amaterasu :D) this was FANTASTIC!! and so simple to make. It was even better the next day for lunch…

    • Mel says:

      Right on! So glad you liked it! And I love when recipes taste better on Day 2. Most tomato-based sauces do that, and it is magic.

  • Becky Castilleja says:

    This looks so yummy! Going to the store now to purchase some of the items I don’t have in my pantry. Can’t wait to start cooking this for tonight’s supper!!

  • Teri says:

    Sadly, my husband and son do not like curry. Is there a replacement for it or should I just leave it out?

    Also, I am so in love with your site. This is my 2nd Whole 30 and you are always my #1 resource!

  • mommymessups says:

    Thanks for your terrific site & books! I haven’t gotten through them yet but excited to. Q about this curry: could I do it in slow cooker with uncooked chicken? Thanks!

    • I haven’t tried making it that way, so I’d be guessing, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. You might want to reduce the liquid so it doesn’t get too watery. My biggest complaint about the slow cooker with stews/braises, is that for me, they get too watered down. I recommend that if you try this, you brown the chicken first, or it will be gray and unappetizing after sitting in the slow cooker.

  • Divya says:

    I made this last night. From Well Fed 2. I have to say it was a HUGE hit with my 3 year old son and my husband. This will definitely be showing up on my regular dinner rotation. Thank you Mel!

  • Madison says:

    I’m on day 6 of Whole30 and was hunting around for some good recipes to try. I came across this and thought I’d give it a try (I LOVE Indian food). I did substitute chicken and did not add raisins or the tomato paste (didn’t have any in the house), and it seemed to turn out fine.

    Within 5 minutes of cooking, I had three roommates standing in the kitchen looking at the pot, sniffing. Let’s just say they realllyyyy wanted to try some. 🙂 I’ll definitely be making this regularly!

  • Tara says:

    Hmmm… sort of odd directions. I must be missing some liquid? There doesn’t appear to be any added liquid in the recipe but it calls for boiling and letting sauce thicken. The canned tomatoes had a little liquid but nothing you could bring to a boil.?

  • Lynn Peters says:

    Just made this again, the first batch seriously saved me from throwing in the Whole 30 towel! Last time I didn’t have thyme on hand so I subbed winter savory (summer farmer’s market find.) Definitely different flavor, can’t really describe it but maybe richer than this batch? The thyme is delicious too, but will use savory the next time. Also not a fan of raisins so I used currants. Thanks so much!

  • Hailey says:

    Have you ever tried this over cauli-rice? I’ve loved it as-is, but I just used up all my spaghetti squash and thought it might work. I’ve never made cauli-rice so hopefully it will work ok!

  • Annie says:

    Do you think this would work with pear sauce instead of apple sauce? We have an apple allergy here. Thanks!

  • Jess says:

    Ok Mel, I’ve made quite a few of your recipes, and they’ve all been huge winners, but tonight is the night I post a reply! (I know, I totally should have posted replies for the others)
    My husband and I just started Whole 30 last Monday and I went in hoping to find that one recipe that no matter what would get me through because it’s so freaking awesome. THIS is that recipe! Indian is my one of my favorites, and this is quick, easy, and sooooooooo yummy! Thank you so much, you’re like, the flavor maven!

  • My Primal Adventures says:

    This was awesome! Truly easy and delicious–we served ours as suggested with roasted cauli-rice and lemony spinach. The sweetness was surprising and delicious.

  • Denise says:

    Just made this tonight for the first time, and it is ridiculously delicious!!!! I had to control myself to not keep eating. This one is a keeper like all of them! Amazing!!!

  • Louise says:

    I just made this for lunch again today… it is so quick to make with pre-cooked chicken and very forgiving as you say. I realized at the last minute I was out of coconut milk and used almond milk instead. Still good! One of my favorite dishes ever.

  • Coco says:

    Just made it and didn’t completely read the recipe before I started. Used a whole can of paste instead of 1 tblsp? Still tastes pretty good though. Added more apple sauce, curry, thyme and chicken broth. Looking forward to making it the right way next time. I love your expert use of spices. And I’ve found no one who explains how to cook the recipe as well as you….I just need to read it correctly! ?