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A Touch of India

September 09, 1998|DONNA DEANE | Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

If you like Indian dishes but are trying to cut fat from your diet, turkey tenderloins are a good alternative to meats normally used in curries. They have 1 gram of fat per 3-ounce serving, a substantial fat reduction when compared to cubed lamb shoulder, which has 7 1/2 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving, and whole cut-up chicken, which has 8 ounces of fat for the same size serving.

The base of the following curry recipe is made with fresh tomatoes and onions cooked with Indian spices. Most curry recipes call for onions to be sauteed with a large amount of oil. But we use a seasoned iron skillet or nonstick pan which requires less oil than other pans--a light film of nonfat cooking spray and just 2 teaspoons of oil.

Flour tortillas lightly browned over a gas burner or on a grill make an inauthentic but close approximation to the Indian flat bread naan that is often served with curry. Not all of us have access to a tandoori oven.



Garam masala is one of the most popular spice blends in Indian cooking. It's made with black cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns, and can be made at home or bought already mixed at Indian grocery stores and many supermarkets. To "season" a new iron skillet, wash the new pan, rub it with cooking oil, heat the pan and wipe it with a paper towel. The more the pan is used, the better-seasoned it becomes. Never wash a seasoned skillet; wipe it clean with a dry towel.

Nonstick cooking spray

2 teaspoons oil

2 large onions, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

2 serrano peppers, seeded and minced

4 tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper plus more to taste

2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste

2 cups water

1 1/2 pounds turkey tenderloins

Chopped cilantro, optional

Lime wedges, optional

Heat seasoned skillet or nonstick pan filmed with nonstick cooking spray and oil. Add onion and saute over medium heat until onion is tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add cumin, coriander, ginger and serrano peppers. Saute until onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper and 2 teaspoons salt. Saute 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in water. Simmer 10 minutes.

Season turkey tenderloins to taste with salt and pepper. Sear in skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray until browned on all sides, 7 to 9 minutes. Add turkey tenderloins to curry sauce, spooning sauce over top. Cover and cook until turkey is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove turkey to cutting board and slice. Simmer sauce until slightly reduced and thickened to desired consistency. Spoon over turkey slices on platter or serving plates. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with wedges of lime.

4 servings. Each serving:

215 calories; 1,061 mg sodium; 77 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 32 grams protein; 1.29 gram fiber.

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