Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s

Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

The three of us recently spent a week at a lovely beach house in Malibu with our friends Raj and Aparna and their two kids. The house had a huge backyard that overlooked the sea and was so beautiful that we ended up cooking most of our meals on the outdoor grill and canceled many of our dinner reservations. We all had recipes we tried- more of those coming later- but the grande finale to our cookfest was these tikki’s. Tikki’s are basically mini-patties, but you can actually shape these any way you like. They are an old family recipe of Aparna’s and were so good that I made a double batch of them within two days of returning from our trip.

Her recipe uses ground lamb, but I substituted ground turkey breast to make them more Tablespoon friendly. Granted, the grinding of the spices takes a few extra minutes, but once you finish this step, the rest is very fast. And, the roasting gives these a completely different flavor profile than the Turkey Kebabs I posted several weeks ago. The only thing missing when I made them at home was Raj and Aparna’s good company that we so enjoyed the first time around.     ~Shivani


1 pound ground turkey breast or, for a moister kebab, substitute in 1/3 pound of dark turkey meat for the breast meat
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 to 4 green chillies chopped- small Thai or Indian green chillies (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
A handful of chopped cilantro


You can use an oven or nonstick grill pan. If using oven, preheat it to 350 degrees.

Roast and grind poppy seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Bring the meat to room temperature and marinate with the spices, coriander and onions for at least 2 hours.

Divide the mixture into 12 to 14 small portions and form into patties, almost like a mini-burger size.

In oven, roast for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, making sure to turn over the patties halfway through the cooking. If using grill pan, warm it up over medium heat and lightly mist with cooking spray. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Be sure to turn over the patties halfway.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck into a whole wheat pita and top with onion slivers, coriander or tamarind chutney, mango chutney or ketchup. For side dishes, any steamed or lightly sauteed vegetable will do, but if you want to keep with an Indian theme, try My Mother’s Gobi or the Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans. Or, serve these patties as an appetizer with toothpicks tucked in.