Dots, not feathers

Even a brief sojourn in this zesty Indian marinade transforms lean turkey breasts into tasty meat.

turkey meat 88  (photo credit: Courtesy)
turkey meat 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With Thanksgiving coming up, many Americans are thinking about turkey dinners. But not everyone feels like spending all day roasting a huge bird. I like to buy turkey parts and prepare them in easy meals, to enjoy the holiday spirit and the healthful turkey meat without much effort. With turkey breast slices, the cut Israelis call schnitzel, the entree couldn't be faster cooking. To prevent the turkey from being dry, I cook it briefly. Before cooking, I marinate it in a richly flavored, Indian-inspired marinade. Like traditional tandoori marinade, it is seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, cumin and red pepper, but this kosher marinade is enriched with a spoonful of mayonnaise instead of the classic yogurt. Even a brief sojourn in this zesty marinade transforms lean turkey breasts into tasty meat, but for an even more delicious result and to get ahead with the recipe, marinate the turkey overnight - it will gain extra flavor and be moister and more tender. Basmati rice dotted with cashews and green peas makes a festive partner to the turkey in this low-fat menu. As an additional accompaniment, serve steamed zucchini, carrots or green beans with a hot coriander dressing. To go with the Indian theme, mangoes make the perfect dessert, as India is the world's largest mango producer. If you don't have mangoes, serve any special-occasion fruit, like fresh pineapple or the season's best persimmons, on their own or paired with sorbet or parve vanilla ice cream. TANDOORI TURKEY You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the turkey in this recipe, they take a little longer to cook. Instead of broiling the turkey, you can heat a little oil in a skillet, and sauté the marinated turkey for 1 or 2 minutes on each side. 2 large garlic cloves, peeled 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped, peeled fresh ginger 2 tsp. vegetable oil 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise 11⁄2 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground cumin 1⁄2 tsp. turmeric 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper 1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1⁄2 tsp. salt 450 gr. turkey breast slices, about 6 mm thick Lemon wedges In mini food processor, process garlic and ginger until finely chopped. Add oil and process to blend. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in mayonnaise, spices and salt. Put turkey in a shallow dish and pour marinade over it. Rub marinade into slices. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes up to overnight. Preheat broiler with rack about 7.5 cm from heat; or heat ridged stove-top grill. Remove turkey from marinade with tongs and set in broiler or on the grill. Broil or grill turkey for 2 minutes. Turn over and continue broiling about 2 minutes, or until just tender and no longer pink when pierced with a sharp knife; do not overcook. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings. BASMATI RICE WITH PEAS AND CASHEWS I cook the frozen peas together with the rice so I don't need an extra pot. If you substitute regular long grain rice for the basmati rice, you do not need to rinse it. 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1⁄2 cup chopped onion 11⁄2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed and drained 3 cups hot water 1 cup frozen peas about 16 to 20 toasted cashews or almonds (for garnish) Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add rice and continue sautéing, stirring for 1 minute. Pour hot water over rice and stir once. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer, without stirring, 12 minutes. Scatter peas over top of rice in 1 layer. Cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until rice and peas are tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff rice gently with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with cashews. Makes 4 servings. STEAMED ZUCCHINI WITH HOT CORIANDER DRESSING If you have yellow squash, you can mix it with the zucchini. To steam a medley of carrots and zucchini, cut the carrots in sticks and steam them for about 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. 500 gr. zucchini or pale green- skinned squash (Hebrew: kishu) 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil 1 Tbsp. strained fresh lemon juice 1⁄4 tsp. hot sauce, or to taste 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander Salt and freshly ground pepper Halve zucchini lengthwise, set cut side down, and halve lengthwise again. Cut each piece in half crosswise. In a small bowl whisk oil with lemon juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Bring at least 2.5 cm. of water to a boil in base of steamer. Boiling water should not reach holes in steamer rack. Place zucchini on steamer rack above boiling water. Sprinkle with salt, cover tightly, and steam about 5 minutes, or until just tender. Stir once or twice. Transfer zucchini to a shallow serving dish. Stir dressing, spoon it over zucchini and sprinkle with coriander. Makes 4 servings. Faye Levy is the author of Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home and 30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes.