Asian-Spiced Fried Turkey with Sweet Potato Fries and Cranberry Syrup

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 13 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 15 min
  • Inactive: 3 min
  • Cook: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 (12 to 15 pound) small turkey (cut with a cleaver: leg/thigh/ breasts cut into 3 parts)

8 cups water

2/3 cup kosher salt

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

3 tablespoons toasted Szechwan peppercorns

2 tablespoons toasted black peppercorns, plus freshly ground black pepper

10 1/4 inch thick slices fresh ginger

4 star anise

4 bay leaves

2 bunches sage, leaves picked from stems

Cranberry syrup, recipe follows

Sweet potato Fries, recipe follows

Cranberry Dipping Sauce

1 large red onion, jullienned

2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped

3 cups cranberries

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2cups cranberry juice, sweetened

1/2 cup sugar, or less, to taste

Salt and pepper

Sweet Potato Fries

3 large sweet potatoes, cut into spears

Chile Salt:

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

Canola oil, for frying


  1. Two to three hours in advance, combine the water, salt, sugar, soy sauce, peppercorns, ginger, anise, and bay leaves in a cooler large enough to hold the turkey and stir to mix. Taste the brine, it should taste like sweet ocean water. Adjust salt and or turkey to taste. Add the turkey, if it is not covered, add more water and adjust seasoning accordingly. Fill the cooler with ice packs and cover.
  2. Fry in 375 degree F oil until cooked through 10 to 12 minutes depending on piece. Remove the turkey and season with the same chile salt used for the fries.
  3. Note: If you would like to do some of the cooking in advance, heat oil to 345 degrees F and blanch the turkey for 10 minutes. Later when ready to serve, heat the oil to 375 degrees F and finish cooking until a meat thermometer registers 170 and the skin is crisp and golden.
  4. Plating: Arrange the turkey in the center of the plate, stick spears out of the turkey with the cranberry syrup in a small separate bowl. Sprinkle with chile salt, garnish with fried sage leaves. Dip in cranberry syrup, and enjoy.
  5. Serve the turkey, if desired, with sweet potato fries and garnish with sage leaves that have been fried at 375 degrees F for 1minute until crisp and translucent, not brown.

Cranberry Dipping Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onions and the ginger until the onions are translucent. Add the cranberries, orange zest/juice, vinegar, cranberry juice, and sugar and simmer until reduced by about 25 percent. The mixture should coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the chunky sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Sweet Potato Fries

  1. Cut the sweet potatoes into spears and place in the prepared fryer for 10 minutes until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the chile salt.
  2. Note: as with the turkey, the fries can be blanched in 345 degree F oil ahead of time until just tender, but not brown, and refried in 375 degree F oil until crisp and golden.