Spice Up Leftover Turkey With Curry For A Uniquely Flavorful New Take

Nothing says "the holidays" like a fridge stuffed full of leftover turkey ... again. It can be tough to repurpose those protein-packed morsels into meals you won't get sick of, so on that note, allow us to introduce you to Thai curry paste. If you've never worked with it before, Thai curry paste (aka prik gaeng) marries a complex cornucopia of pulverized aromatics. It typically involves some spicy-sweet combination of shallots, ginger, garlic, chiles, and shrimp paste, but other flavorful ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves are common.

Your cooked leftovers can technically last a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer without spoiling, but turkey is notorious for drying out in the fridge. This flavorful paste can do the extra heavy lifting when your leftover turkey has lost a lot of its moisture, flavor, and overall quality. Thai curry paste's sweet-spicy profile makes a fitting pair for sweet and savory turkey, and its texture makes it easy to incorporate with your shredded meat. Just toss it all together in a bowl until thoroughly coated. Plus, you can keep a jar of Thai curry paste on hand in the fridge for use in future recipes. A little goes a long way with this punchy ingredient; start with just a tablespoon or two, and gradually add more to taste.

Toss up your turkey Thai-style

As you brainstorm curry turkey recipes, keep in mind that different Thai curry pastes offer varying degrees of intensity. Massaman, Panang, and yellow curry pastes are less spicy, while red and green curry pastes pack more heat. All of them are available at a wide variety of retailers from specialty Asian grocery stores to Whole Foods Markets. Different grocery stores like Trader Joe's also carry Thai curry sauces, which would totally work as a flavorful condiment for tossing with your leftover turkey. Bonus points if you make your own Thai curry paste at home!

These flavorful pastes work with both hot and cold recipes, and if you find that you've gone a little overboard in quantity, you could always add a little mayo to temper the spiciness. Alternatively, depending on your recipe, you could stir in a splash of coconut milk to help dial down the spice factor and add a complementary hit of sweetness.

Your curry turkey would be killer in a chili, or a reimagined curry chicken salad using fork-shredded poultry, Thai curry paste, Kewpie mayonnaise, diced red onion, celery, yellow apples, and halved green grapes. To get the most mileage out of your leftovers, whip up flavorful curry turkey sandwiches on hoagie rolls with crunchy red cabbage slaw, a smear of mayo, and some freshly squeezed lime juice.