Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We are having Asian Lemongrass Roast Turkey this Thanksgiving day!
I apologize for not updating this blog since February. 2021 has been a whirlwind of a year! Luke’s two-and-a-half now, and anyone who has a toddler knows that trying to keep up is an exhausting task.
What’s the Difference?
So what’s the difference between an Asian Roast Turkey and an American one? It’s the Asian spices. I use cilantro, lemongrass, fish sauce, and garlic as my base, but I use the traditional turkey method of stuffing with aromatics, and I plan to make giblet gravy to serve for Thanksgiving dinner.
My dad grows pandan leaves, and I used that to give my roast turkey a more Asian flair. If you don’t have this, you can totally skip. Happy cooking, friends!
I roast this turkey in the same way that I would an American roast turkey. I stuff the cavity with onions, celery, and any aromatics I have on hand – this year, we have pandan leaves, which was great! I season the top with my Asian marinade (made with garlic, lemongrass, pepper, fish sauce, and black soy sauce) and then pour melted butter all over.
The key to a nice, brown turkey is buttering the layer in between the skin and the meat. I use my fingers to loosen the skin away from the meat (making sure that it doesn’t tear and stays attached), and I’ll add slices of butter underneath there. I’ve used melted butter to do this before, but I’ve found that solid, room-temperature butter slices work best.
Asian Lemongrass Roast Turkey
- 10-12 lb fresh turkey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- garlic powder, to taste
- 1 stick butter
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
- 8 cilantro stems (no leaves), chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp black soy sauce (or dark soy sauce)
For Stuffing in Turkey Cavity
- 3 medium onions, quartered
- 3 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 4 pandan leaves, halved (optional)
Prepare the Asian Marinade
- Using a food processor, add the chopped garlic, minced lemongrass, chopped cilantro stems, black pepper, fish sauce, sugar, and black soy sauce. Blend together. (Alternately, if using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass, garlic, cilantro stems, and black pepper into a rough paste. Then stir in the fish sauce, sugar, and black soy sauce.) Set aside.
Prepare the Turkey
- Take fresh turkey out of fridge and let sit for an hour at room temperature.Take the neck bone and giblets out of the turkey. (Set aside for giblet gravy). Remove any excess fat. (Set aside to render the fat and fry with cooked rice).Liberally salt the turkey all over and rinse with water. Pat dry. Add a generous amount of salt inside cavity and rub all over.
Stuffing the Turkey
- In a roasting pan, add one quartered onion and two stalks of chopped celery to the bottom. Add a turkey to a roasting rack (if you have one.) If you don't, lay the turkey on top of the aromatics. On the bottom of the turkey, generously add salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Then turn the turkey over.Stuff the cavity with two quartered onions, one celery stalk, and the pandan leaves (optional). You can also use any aromatics you have on hand.Using your hands, create a pocket of space underneath the turkey skin. Carefully separate and loosen the skin from the breast and sides (be careful not to tear the skin). Cut the butter stick in half. Half of the stick, melt in the microwave (30-45 seconds until melted). The other half, you will slice and place underneath the turkey skin. Spread the sliced butter underneath the turkey skin, rubbing your hands over the top of the skin to smooth it out as best as you can.
Adding the Marinade to the Turkey
- Generously season the turkey with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.Then, pour the Asian marinade all over the top of the turkey. Using your hands, massage the marinade to make sure it reaches everywhere. Pour the melted butter on top. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under its body.
Roasting the Asian Turkey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 2.5 to 3.5 hours, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees. The juices between the leg and thigh should run clear. Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving. Enjoy!