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Recipe for Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey breast

Indian spices flavor this Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey breast.

When my husband Ted traveled to Tanzania last summer to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, he ended his trip with a few days of rest and relaxation on the island of Zanzibar, famous as a crossroads of the spice trade. And because Ted has lived with me for a whole lot of years, he never once considered not taking a tour of a spice farm. For months I've been having fun cooking from the packets of curry powders, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and more that Ted bought from Butterfly Farm. This Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey recipe pays homage to the Indian, Arabic and African fusion cuisine on the island. Tandoori masala, which you can find in Indian markets, colors the marinade a beautiful pinkish-red, and my photos don't do justice to the resulting color of the grilled turkey. Make friends with your butcher, and ask him (or her) to butterfly the turkey breast for you. Then, serve with some homemade tomato nectarine chutney or dried cranberry and pear chutney, and imagine yourself on a Zanzibar beach at sunset, watching the dhows float across the horizon. Oh, my.

Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey breast, on The Perfect Pantry.

Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey breast {gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: yogurt, garlic, ground ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, hot curry powder, honey, black pepper, olive oil, lemon, kosher salt.

Serves 8.


2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
4 large cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp tandoori masala (or garam masala)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
3-4 lb boneless turkey breast, skin removed, butterflied


In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the turkey, and stir well to combine. This is the marinade.

Dunk the turkey breast in the yogurt marinade, turning it over and over to coat all of the surfaces of the meat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to cook, heat a grill on high heat. Shake off excess marinade, and set the turkey flat on the grill (make sure to "open" all of the flaps of the meat).

Grill for 10 minutes. Turn, and cook for an additional 8 minutes. The meat should be firm to the touch, but the easiest way to tell if it's done is to remove it from the grill and make a small cut in the thickest part of the meat. Or, use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat is 165°F (the turkey will continue to cook off the grill to 170°F).

Remove the turkey from the grill and set it on a tray. Cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More Indian flavors:
Tandoori-spiced grilled lamb, from The Perfect Pantry
Saag aloo/potatoes with spiced spinach, from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled curried chicken skewers with spicy peanut sauce, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Baked curry chicken with tomatoes and cilantro raita, from Andrea Meyers

Zanzibar tandoori spiced boneless, skinless turkey breast cooks quickly on the grill, and feeds a crowd!

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Lydia, this sounds delicious. I don't have the imagination to imagine myself on a beach in Zanzibar (though I adore saying that name over and over, it sounds so cool) but I'll settle for around our dinner table with my family with rice and cooling sides.

Though imagining being on a beach is a lovely thought for a cold January day at a sled hockey tournament . . .

This sounds so delicious and now I'm wondering why I have never grilled turkey breast!

Kirsten, just imagine the beach part -- these cold winter days really call for some imagination!

Kalyn, I have another recipe for grilled butterflied turkey breast coming. If I can get my butcher to do the work of butterflying the turkey, I just pull off the skin, marinate, and grill quickly. It's a great way to have sliced turkey on hand all year.

This looks so good. My husband hates turkey so we never have it. But I'm willing to bet that this would entice him.

Tandoori masala sounds amazing! I'm off to search the web for some.

What is butterflied turkey breast - what does the butcher do?

wow I am transported to a "journey of the mind" with this post! I seem to always forget about turkey between holidays - must try something like this soon!

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