Cumin Scented Turkey Stir-fry

I made this dish for my parents during their recent visit. I think it epitomizes my mother’s style of cooking, which embraces fresh foods, creates balanced, one-dish meals, maximizes deals at the grocery, and stretches key ingredients within meals.

Unfortunately my camera charger was lost somewhere in my boxes, so I only had my cell phone camera to capture this meal!

Embracing fresh foods – it is summer, and there is a wonderful amount of cheap, fresh produce here. The zucchini I had on hand was an easy choice for this meal.

Balanced, one-dish meals – it makes your life easier! Enough said πŸ™‚

Maximizing deals on food – One of the things that my mother always stressed to me was to look at ingredients creatively. This meal sounds fancy with the ground turkey, but would it sound less fancy to you if I told you it was made of 50% off ground turkey burgers? Although the meat was already preshaped into patties, it wasn’t a problem to repurpose them in the stir-fry.

Stretch your key ingredients – in addition, the dried rice noodles add bulk to the meat while absorbing the flavor, resulting in more food for less money. You can do similar things such as add brown rice to taco meat, vegetables to dumplings or meatloaf, etc. Many of these tricks add more flavor and textural interest — I personally prefer vegetables in my meatballs!

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. The cumin adds a twist to what could be a typical Asian ground meat stir-fry — and had my mom guessing as to the mystery flavor πŸ˜‰ It is enough to be discernable but not enough to be overpowering — hence the name:

Cumin Scented Turkey Stir-Fry

Serves 3-4


  • Handful of dried thin rice noodles, soaked in a cup of water
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sambal olek chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2″ of fresh ginger, diced


  1. While rice noodles soak, put ground turkey in a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix pepper, cumin, and coriander throughout.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger, and fry till fragrant and garlic just begins to color.
  3. Add ground turkey mixture, making sure to turn constantly in order to break up the meat.
  4. Add zucchini, and stir fry until zucchini just begins to soften.
  5. Add remaining soy sauce, sugar, and chili sauce, if desired. Adjust flavorings as necessary.
  6. Serve with hot brown rice.

2 thoughts on “Cumin Scented Turkey Stir-fry

    • it’s the way to do it! that way you reduce waste and learn how to move beyond a recipe… i’m glad she was such a good influence on me πŸ™‚

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