Spice up Thanksgiving leftovers with the Indian flavors of Kerala

Spices for chef Asha Gomez's Kerala Turkey Stew (styling by Asha Gomez )

Credit: Renee Brock

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Spices for chef Asha Gomez's Kerala Turkey Stew (styling by Asha Gomez )

Credit: Renee Brock

Credit: Renee Brock

Several years ago the AJC asked local chef Asha Gomez for some recipes that would spice up Thanksgiving leftovers. They’re still pretty darn good!


With imagination and some fragrant, flavorful spices, Indian chef Asha Gomez transforms the basic elements of the American Thanksgiving dinner into homey dishes with a touch of the exotic. Even better, they’re a snap to make and easy to adapt to all kinds of leftover meats and vegetables. Find spices for Kerala cooking, and other ingredients, such as coconut oil and grated fresh frozen coconut, at Indian markets throughout metro Atlanta.

Kerala Turkey Stew

Serves: 4

Hands on: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

This is a classic stew derived from ancient Portuguese influences. In Kerala, this dish is traditionally a comforting addition to family gatherings on Sundays and can be made with almost anything, including chicken, beef and a variety of vegetables.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

8-10 curry leaves

4 cloves garlic, julienned

1/4 pound pearl onions, divided

2 serrano chilies, chopped

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 cups chicken broth

2 pounds cooked turkey, cubed

¼ pound potatoes, medium dice

¼ pound carrots, medium dice

¼ pound green beans, ½ inch slices

1 cup coconut milk

In a heavy bottom stock pot add the canola oil and heat on medium until shimmering.

Add the ginger, curry leaves, garlic, half the pearl onions, serrano chilies, black peppercorns and turmeric powder and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add turkey, cover with lid, lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrots and green beans and remaining pearl onions and return pot to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add coconut milk and reduce heat. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes.

Per serving: 621 calories (percent of calories from fat, 61), 46 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 44 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 122 milligrams cholesterol, 227 milligrams sodium.

Green Bean and Carrot Thoran

Serves: 4

Hands on: 10 minutes Total time: 20 minutes

A traditional Kerala coconut-flecked stir-fry that can be infused with any seasonal vegetable, including peas or squash. The addition of fresh coconut perks up the flavor of traditional Thanksgiving vegetables like carrots and green beans and adds a global flair.

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

8-10 curry leaves

1 pound green beans, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and diced small

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup grated fresh frozen coconut, available at Indian markets

3 garlic cloves

1 serrano chili

Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add the cumin seeds. Add curry leaves and fry them for 1 minute.

Add the beans, carrots, turmeric powder and salt and stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the coconut, garlic and serrano chili in a mortar or blender.

Add the coconut, garlic and chili mixture to the beans and carrots and mix well. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.

Per serving: 188 calories (percent of calories from fat, 63), 3 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 14 grams fat (12 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 557 milligrams sodium.

Cranberry Chutney Inspired by the Flavors of Kerala

Serves: 4

Hands on: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutes

Chutneys are generally served as a supplement to main dishes, accenting and contrasting the flavors. This version using fresh cranberries lends a delicious piquancy to any dish it accompanies.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

10 white pearl onions, peeled

3 fresh bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

4 star anise pods

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 pound fresh cranberries

In a small pan, add the vegetable oil and heat on medium until shimmering.

Saute ginger and pearl onions in the oil until they are golden brown. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, paprika, salt and sugar, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 10 minutes.

Per serving: 191 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 1 gram protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 635 milligrams sodium.

For more ideas about gifts, decorating, where to eat and what to do, check out our complete Atlanta Holiday Guide.