Garam Masala-spiced Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

Garam Masala-spiced Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

Garam Masala-spiced Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

Even if you don’t cook often, keeping a few key spices in your cupboard can be useful for a variety of different cuisines. Whether you have cumin powder, crushed red chilli flakes, or curry powder, they can be used in recipes for spice rubs, pasta sauces, and burgers. Two main Indian spice blends are curry powder and garam masala powder. Curry powder can come in many different styles, but generally contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek — the deep yellow hue most certainly comes from the turmeric. Garam masala is pretty specific and doesn’t come with too much variation; it consists of black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom,  cumin and bay leaf. While curry powder has an earthy, pungent flavor from the turmeric and fenugreek, garam masala is more smoky and fragrant, thanks in part to the cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Ingredients in Garam Masala

Main ingredients in any garam masala: cloves, black peppercorn, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon

If you keep a small bottle of garam masala in your pantry you can use it for a variety of things including homemade masala chai. You can also use it if you run out of other spices, like I did the other day — I found a terrific recipe from Cookin’ Canuck for Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs. As I looked at the ingredients, I realized I’d run out of Chinese five-spice powder in my pantry…however, because five-spice contains cloves and cinnamon I figured garam masala would be a good enough substitute. It was! The meatballs are simple to  make, bake in the oven quickly (15-20 min), and stay nice and moist thanks to the fresh parsley. We’ve had these meatballs tucked into butter leaves as lettuce wraps, snuggled into warm pita, and over simple sesame noodles. The Cookin’ Canuck makes her own homemade teriyaki, but I cheated and used a store-bought teriyaki sauce.

McCormick Garam Masala

Leading spice brands like McCormick offer most Indian spices, including garam masala (Photo Source:

Garam Masala-spiced Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs (adapted)

Serves 4/Yields about 30 small meatballs


  • 1-1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (adjust as needed for consistency of meatball mix)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup store-bought teriyaki sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a large baking sheet with non-stick foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, onion, garlic, ginger, parsley, garam masala powder, egg, panko, salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix well to combine. Form into small meatballs (about 2 tablespoons of mixture) and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, slowly warm up the teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan on your stove top.
  6. After 15 minutes, brush the meatballs generously with the warmed teriyaki sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately with the extra sauce.

Garam Masala-spiced Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

 Recipe adapted from Cookin’ Canuck