Turkey Kebabs with Spicy Cardamom-Mango Sauce

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Kateryna Odyntsova

STRATEGY SESSION: In this recipe, I limit total  fat, saturated fat, and calories by starting with a lean protein (turkey breast). Because it tends to be dry and flavorless, I rub it with an aromatic and spicy paste. Additional moisture comes from the sauce, in which low-fat yogurt takes the place of full-fat. Because the yogurt contains protein and a little fat, the glycemic impact of the mango (which has a high glycemic index) is dampened. I use macadamia nut oil because olive oil’s flavor would be inappropriate in this setting.


I love make-ahead “helpers” that give me a jump on a tasty meal, and spice rubs are key. They keep almost indefinitely in the freezer and a little goes a long way. The one used here provides enough for 4 rounds of kebabs, so the 5 minutes you invest in it will be well spent. It isn’t absolutely necessary to toast the spices, but it does add depth to the flavors.

Speaking of flavors, the ones here are more subtle than you might guess from the ingredients. If the rub were overpowering, the sauce would seem wimpy. Both are intended to be on the spicy side, but not in-your-face. If you crave intense heat, increase the cayenne.

Serving suggestions: I like these kebabs with Indian-inspired chickpeas, lentils, or black-eyed peas.  They’re also tasty with a non-creamy cole slaw (“non-creamy” because you don’t want to obscure the yogurt sauce).

Special note: This recipe has been entered in today’s Foodbuzz Top 9 competition. If you like the recipe (and/or the photo), Kateryna and I would really appreciate your help. To vote, go to http://tinyurl.com/trkykbab and click “buzz-it” at the top of the page. Don’t be concerned if the buzz count doesn’t change. Thanks very much for your support!


Turkey Kebabs with Spicy Cardamom-Mango Sauce 

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1¼ pounds boneless skinless turkey breast, cut into 1½ -inch chunks
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. In a medium nonstick skillet, combine the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Measure out 1 tablespoon and place in a medium bowl. Reserve remainder for another use. (Store, covered, in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.)
  2. Add the oil, garlic, ginger, and onion to the spice mix. Whisk to blend. Add the turkey chunks and toss well to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  3. Combine the yogurt, mango chunks, cardamom, and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (May be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.)
  4. Prepare the grill with an oiled rack and preheat to high. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes. Thread turkey chunks loosely on the skewers. Grill (or broil) for 8 to 10 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until the turkey is cooked through but not dry. Serve with the sauce on the side. 

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 193 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 88 mg cholesterol, 1 g total carbohydrate, trace dietary fiber, 35 g protein, 299 mg sodium.


  • October 4 2010, 9:29 AM

    Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it
    btw, bird nest is made up of about 58% soluable proteins…the highest amoung all food and even synetic protein powders
    it greatly increase tissue regeneration
    sources taken from the internet

  • October 4 2010, 9:44 AM

    Glad you like the recipe and thanks for the tip about bird nest. I’ll look into it.

  • October 4 2010, 3:15 PM
    Katie from UNBREADED

    I’d love to see more (any!) low-glycemic recipes on Foodbuzz, so I was happy to give you my vote! Looks delicious.

  • October 4 2010, 3:25 PM

    Thanks so much for your vote. Just as a point of information, of the 40+ low-glycemic recipes I’ve posted on FB, many have actually made Top 9. I don’t know if you’ve seen them there, but the FB editors have been pretty open-minded with respect to my material- even though most of their Top 9 offerings are anything BUT low-glycemic. In any case, I really appreciate your support and hope you will enjoy the many low-glycemic options on this site.

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