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My Ethnic Twist on Thanksgiving Turkey

As the daughter of immigrants, my upbringing has been a diverse combination of South Indian culture and American traditions. One of the best ways I’ve seen my Telugu and American identities blend is through my family’s ethnic take on traditional American holidays, specifically Thanksgiving. 

The turkey recipe that has the most special place in my heart is “Tandoori Turkey,” a combination of Indian Tandoori Chicken and Americans’ love for turkey around this holiday.

Tasty: Tandoori Turkey Recipe

Although this is not the exact recipe that I use, it is very similar. The concept of this multicultural dish is to take the spices and procedure we would use to prepare a tandoori chicken and apply the same things to the turkey, with a few modifications. The marinade and seasoning include plain yogurt, lemon juice, paprika, salt, pepper, red chili powder, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, sugar, cardamom, aniseed and many other spices. This aromatic blend offers my family and me a turkey that not only satisfies our love for spice but also for the American tradition of eating turkey for the holidays.

To be honest, I grew up a little wary of embracing my culture, traditions, and faith. I often longed for a sense of belonging with the typical “American” peers I went to school with. I’m glad that I’ve grown out of that mindset now, though, and instead have found a way to blend both cultures that define the woman I’ve become today. I think it’s important for people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to realize the value behind Thanksgiving. It’s not simply a holiday to eat a standard menu of foods, but rather an opportunity to spend time enjoying great food with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

Rishitha is a senior at VCU majoring in Bioinformatics, while on the pre-medical track. When she isn't in classes, she loves to binge-watch sitcoms, cook, bake, and spend time with her friends and family! In her future, she hopes to become a physician and make meaningful impacts on patients' lives!