Christmas Kitchen: Vietnamese-style Leftover Turkey & Sweet Potato Curry

Moving away from some of the more ‘Christmassy’ festive content today I’ve got the perfect recipe for you today because, lets be honest, we’ve got even more turkey leftover than usual today because we all cooked turkeys way too big for our tiny households yesterday!

If you’re looking for something bold, fresh and full of bright flavours to cut through all the rich festive food we’ve been having (and to make a dent in that turkey mountain!) why not make my Vietnamese-style Leftover Turkey & Sweet Potato Curry? It is super tasty and super speedy, taking just 30 minutes from start to finish.

Adapted from Diana Henry’s brilliant leftover chicken and sweet potato curry in A Bird In The Hand: Chicken recipes for every day and every mood (ad) – which means yes, if you’re coming to this recipe at any other time of the year it is also delicious made with leftover roast chicken – this simple supper is perfect served with plain rice or on it’s own depending on how hungry you are.

Up until now I only used leftover turkey and leftover turkey stock (follow these directions to make your own if your carcass is still kicking about!) to make a version of my Mum’s brilliant Leftover Roast Chicken Pie (both of these recipes will be happening in my kitchen this year during these quiet days between Christmas and New Year, probably my favourite week of the year), but this recipe really is a keeper. I’ve honestly now started keeping a can of coconut cream in the cupboard at all times so I can always make this – sometimes swapping out the sweet potato for regular, and also adding pumpkin in the autumn – every time we have a roast chicken.

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Vietnamese-style Leftover Turkey & Sweet Potato Curry

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


A simple, bright and aromatic leftover turkey (or chicken curry) with Vietnamese-inspired flavours that is the perfect thing to make with the leftovers from your last roast bird.


  • 1 large brown onion
  • splash light oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 x 160ml (5 1/2 oz) can coconut cream
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 23 large handfuls leftover roast turkey or chicken
  • 1 lime
  • boiled rice, to serve
  • fresh coriander, to serve


  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion into half moons. Heat the oil in the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook with a pinch of salt for 5-6 minutes or so until they’re nice and golden, but not burnt.
  2. Meanwhile, de-seed and slice the chilli. Peel the sweet potato and cut into bite sized chunks. Also, half the lime, and cut one of the halves into quarters.
  3. Add the sliced chilli, coriander and turmeric to the onions and cook for a minute or so until the mixture is fragrant. Add the coconut cream, stock, fish sauce, sugar and sweet potato cubes. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.
  4. Stir in the chicken and cook for a further minute or so until it is heated through. Stir in the juice of the lime half and season the curry to taste with more salt, if needed.
  5. Serve over boiled rice, sprinkled with a bit of fresh coriander and with a reserved lime quarter on the side of each bowl.