5 Indian Dishes to Make using Christmas Leftovers

Wondering what to do with your leftover Christmas dinner? Here are some delicious Indian dishes to make using Christmas leftovers.

a harmonious blend of Indian and holiday flavours

Christmas is a time to enjoy delicious food but what about Christmas leftovers?

As the joyous Christmas feasts unfold, the aftermath often leaves us with a refrigerator brimming with delectable leftovers.

In this gastronomic adventure, we invite you to embark on a journey where the aromatic spices of India meet the remnants of your festive spread.

Say goodbye to conventional reheating and join us as we explore innovative ways to transform Christmas leftovers into vibrant and mouthwatering Indian dishes.

From succulent turkey biryani to spicy cranberry chutney, discover a symphony of flavours that will elevate your post-holiday dining experience to new heights.

Let your taste buds savour the fusion of traditions as we unravel the secrets of turning Christmas leftovers into a delightful Indian culinary celebration.”

Turkey Biryani

Indian Dishes to Make using Christmas Leftovers - biryani

Turkey biryani is a flavourful and aromatic Indian dish that combines leftover turkey with fragrant basmati rice and a blend of spices.

The shredded turkey is typically marinated or cooked in a spiced yoghurt mixture before being layered with partially cooked rice.

The layers are then slow-cooked together until the rice is fully done, allowing the spices and juices from the turkey to infuse the dish with rich flavours.

The result is a harmonious blend of Indian and holiday flavours, making it a delightful way to use your Christmas leftovers.


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 4 Cardamom pods
  • 300g leftover roast turkey, cut into chunks
  • 300g basmati rice
  • ½ cup frozen sweetcorn
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 550ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • A handful of baby spinach
  • Lemon slices
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place an ovenproof casserole dish over a medium flame and add oil. Fry the onions until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and spices, continuing to cook until the onion is tender.
  4. Incorporate the turkey and rice into the spice-infused mixture, ensuring the turkey is well-coated.
  5. Pour in the stock and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the stock.
  6. Integrate cranberry sauce, spinach, peas, and corn, adjusting the moisture with a little water if needed.
  7. Return the dish to the oven for an additional five minutes. Serve promptly, squeezing lemon over the dish before serving.

This recipe was inspired by Fuss Free Flavours.

Turkey Curry

Indian Dishes to Make using Christmas Leftovers - curry

A turkey curry is perhaps the most common way to use your Christmas leftovers.

Often shredded, the turkey absorbs the rich blend of spices, herbs and seasonings, creating a delicious and satisfying main course.

The curry sauce may include ingredients like tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and various spices, imparting a distinctive Indian flavour profile to the dish.

The result is a fusion of tender turkey and a well-seasoned curry.


  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 thumb ginger, finely grated
  • 2 Red chillies, finely chopped
  • 6 Cardamon pods
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 Black peppercorns
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 4 pinches of salt
  • 500g turkey, diced


  1. In a covered saucepan, fry the onions in butter for five minutes until softened and fully cooked.
  2. Remove the lid and proceed to cook until the onions begin to caramelise, stirring occasionally until they are evenly golden. Continue browning the onions for an additional five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring for 30 seconds until the raw smell is gone.
  4. In a separate frying pan over high heat, gently toast the spices for a minute. Remove from heat and grind them into a fine powder.
  5. Combine this spice blend with the onions and spices, cooking for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the tomato tins and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and stir.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, allowing it to simmer until it reduces by a third.
  8. Add the turkey, cover and leave on a low heat for at least 15 minutes.
  9. When ready to serve, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  10. Serve the turkey curry with basmati rice.

This recipe was inspired by Raymond Blanc.

Cranberry Chutney

Indian Dishes to Make using Christmas Leftovers - chutney

If you have leftover cranberry sauce, how about turning it into a vibrant and tangy cranberry chutney?

The chutney typically features the tartness of leftover cranberry sauce harmoniously blended with a medley of aromatic spices.

The concoction undergoes a tempering process with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and other aromatic spices, imparting a depth of flavour to the chutney.

The result is a sweet and savoury condiment with a hint of warmth from spices, making it a versatile accompaniment that can elevate the taste of various dishes.


  • 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander


  1. In a pan, heat vegetable oil.
  2. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds (if using), and fennel seeds. Let them splutter.
  3. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  4. Stir in minced garlic, grated ginger, and chopped green chillies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  5. Pour in the leftover cranberry sauce and mix well with the tempered spices.
  6. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
  7. Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This helps the flavours meld together.
  8. If the chutney is too thick, you can add a little water to achieve your desired consistency. Adjust salt and spice levels according to your taste.
  9. Once the chutney reaches the desired consistency, stir in vinegar or lemon juice to add a bit of tanginess.
  10. Garnish with fresh coriander.
  11. Allow the chutney to cool before transferring it to a jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Christmas Vegetable Samosas

It is not just the turkey you can reuse, vegetables can also be repurposed to create delicious Desi dishes.

A great idea is to use your potatoes and any other leftover vegetables to make samosas.

All you need is curry powder and pastry.


  • Leftover Christmas vegetables
  • Pastry (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ Lemon, squeezed
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. With vegetables of your liking, chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a pan, heat some oil then add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and onions. Fry until the onions have softened.
  3. Add the curry powder and stir to combine.
  4. Mix in the chopped vegetables, ensuring they are well-coated. Cook until heated through.
  5. Season with salt and add the lemon juice. Stir, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  6. If using store-bought samosa pastry, follow the package instructions for thawing. If making homemade pastry, roll out the dough and cut it into triangles.
  7. Take one piece of pastry and form into a cone. Seal the edges with a mixture of flour and water.
  8. Spoon the cooled Christmas vegetable mixture into the cone, ensuring not to overfill.
  9. Seal the open edge of the samosa by pressing it together with the flour-water mixture.
  10. Heat oil in a wok to around 190°C.
  11. Carefully place the samosas into the hot oil, frying until they turn golden brown and crispy.
  12. Once fried, place the samosas on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  13. Serve the samosas with chutney or raita.

Turkey Chaat

This dish will be a crowd-pleaser on Boxing Day.

Using your leftover turkey and roast potatoes, you can create an innovative chaat.

Either a brunch or ‘help yourself’ dish, this turkey chaat is all about texture.

So as well as the roast potatoes and onions, you could sprinkle some crispy fried onions for an extra crunch to this flavourful meal.


  • 300g leftover turkey meat, diced
  • 400g leftover roast potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp tandoori paste
  • 1 tin of green lentils
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 1 Red chilli, sliced
  • ½ Red onion, thinly sliced
  • A pinch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Olive oil


  1. In a large pan, heat the tandoori paste on a medium heat until fragrant.
  2. Drain the lentils then add to the paste and mix. Pour in the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. In another pan, heat 15ml of oil and add the garam masala. Gently heat until warmed through.
  4. Add the roast potatoes. Fry until crispy. Remove from the pan and mix in salt, pepper and chopped coriander.
  5. On a large plate, place the turkey in the centre and the potatoes around the edge. Top with the daal mixture.
  6. Garnish with coriander, red chilli and red onion.

This recipe was inspired by Christmas Turkey Leftovers.





As we conclude this culinary journey through the fusion of Christmas leftovers and Indian flavours, we find ourselves not only savouring exquisite tastes but also celebrating the art of reinvention in our kitchens.

The marriage of festive remnants and vibrant spices has given birth to a symphony of aromas and tastes that transcends traditional boundaries.

From the fragrant masalas enveloping roast turkey to the sweet and tangy dance of cranberries in chutneys, each dish tells a tale of cultural harmony.

As we bid farewell to the remnants of Christmas, let this flavorful rendezvous with Indian cuisine linger in your memory, reminding us that the joy of cooking knows no limits.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Images courtesy of Fuss Free Flavours, Raymond Blanc, Christmas Turkey Leftovers

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