Roasted Turkey with Thai Aromatic Paste
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 8 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • ⅓ cup finely-chopped cilantro roots or ½ cup finely-chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns or 1 tablespoon ground white pepper (I like this amount, but you can use half of it if you're sensitive to pepper.)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (You can use 2 tablespoons fish sauce, if you'd like, but this will make the paste too runny.)
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ⅓ cup, packed, finely grated palm sugar or ¼ cup, packed, dark or light brown sugar
  • One 10-pound turkey, thawed
  • ¾ cup clarified (best) or melted unsalted butter (okay)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (any kind except the molasses-like sweet dark soy sauce)
  1. Make the paste by grinding the garlic, cilantro roots, and peppercorns into a smooth paste. (The best tool for this is a mortar and pestle. You can use a small food processor or mini-chopper but you may need to add a little bit of water to the paste to get the blades going.)
  2. Transfer the paste to a small bowl. Add the salt, oyster sauce, and sugar; mix well.
  3. Create a large pocket between the skin and the flesh of the turkey (see post for explanation). Spoon the paste into the pocket and rub it on the flesh underneath the skin. Once that's done, pull the skin taut and wipe off any paste on the outside. (At this point, you can roast the turkey right away or you can chill it, uncovered, for up to 6 hours.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  5. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen twine or a silicone rubber band. Roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 375F.
  7. Mix together the clarified butter and dark soy sauce.
  8. Brush the turkey all over with some of the butter-soy mixture. Loosely tent the turkey's breasts with a large piece of foil which has been greased (so it doesn't stick to the skin).
  9. Continue roasting the turkey, brushing the skin with more butter-soy mixture every 15 minutes and keeping the breasts tented the whole time, until the meat around the "ankles" start to split and the thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160F. For a turkey this size, this should take no more than 3 hours (excluding the first 30-minute high-heat roasting).
  10. Remove the turkey from the oven. Remove the foil tent and let the turkey rest for 30 minutes. Carve. Serve.
Recipe by SheSimmers at