Best Yummy Venison Curry, garam!

Blog pictures 03 13 13 078 300x225 Best Yummy Venison Curry, garam!

Sorry about the photo- we ate so much of it!

Not that I was getting tired of making our deer meat into my Granny’s fabulous Chili con Carne or my mother’s velvety Hungarian Goulasch, but I just had a yen for curry- Curry Goat, Lamb Vindaloo- so why not try something like that with venison?  Having been to India twice and gotten a serious Aunty Manjula YouTube addiction I felt equal to winging it. It came out very well- looks like lamb vindaloo, with the slightly softer texture of venison, with a complex fragrance, just the right heat for us- just short of pain, and leaves a gentle warmth in your stomach, as if the ginger is helping your digestion.

In following this recipe don’t just dump the ingredients in the pot as you read them off. Do follow the traditional steps. It makes a world of difference in the flavor.

You will need:

A big heavy pot with a lid

1 quart-sized freezer bag of venison stewing chunks.

11/2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds ( I have substituted any brassica seed)

2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil, or other healthy fat.

1 onion, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped bite sized

3 potatoes, peeled and chopped bite sized

a knob of ginger root about the size of a walnut

4 big cloves of garlic

4 dried chilies, cayenne type (reduce if you can’t take heat)

1 tablespoon cardamom pods

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 inch of cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

1 tomato or 4 tablespoons tomato sauce

Water to cover

salt to taste

OK, put the coriander seeds, which you can save from when your cilantro bolts, in the coffee grinder with the peppercorns, the cinnamon bark(break it up with your fingers first), the cardamon pods, and the dry chilies. If you feel the chilies are not really brittle, you should toast them briefly in your dry pot, without turning your back. (This is a nice extra step, and you should learn how fast chilies toast, because you can make your own chili powder. ) Powder your spices finely, and transfer them to your blender or small chopper. Add the garlic, ginger root, and turmeric, and whiz to a coarse paste. BTW if you don’t have dry chilies, I have added fresh ones to the garlic, ginger, etc. and it was great. Slightly different.

Put the cumin seed and mustard seed in the pot dry and toast them on a medium flame until the mustard seeds start popping.  Add the paste and 2 tablespoons butter or oil. I have used half and half coconut oil and butter. Stir over medium heat until it smells delicious- maybe 3-4 minutes. Compliments will be pouring in. Add onions and carrots and continue to stir so the mixture doesn’t burn but the onions are softened and the sugars are caramelizing a little. Add the meat and stir until the juices that come out of the meat have evaporated and the meat is brown- you won’t really be able to get it brown without burning so- well, gray is fine. Just don’t let it burn. Add a lot of water to cover, tomato, and maybe a 1/2 tsp salt to start with. Simmer covered 30-40 minutes -until the meat is tender, add the potatoes- just sort of tuck them in and submerge them well, then remove the lid and let it cook down until the broth turns into a thick gravy. Be especially careful towards the end that it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Check the seasonings at this stage. It should be nice and spicy. See if it needs another pinch of garam masala. Many Indian recipes use garam masala at the end, and it is a nice, sweet/spicy rich flavor which adds to the complexity.

It goes well with with Basmati rice, a creamy sour element (raita), a sweet fruity element( chutney), and in our house, steamed greens. Last time I put some very thick Kefir on the table, which substituted nicely for raita. I should have taken a flashlight to the garden for cilantro but I got lazy. Fresh mango or peach or melon chutney is great, but it is winter and I didn’t have any. I think we need to try something with watermelon pickle.

And of course Kingfisher beer!

13 thoughts on “Best Yummy Venison Curry, garam!

  1. I have a freshly butchered buck in the freezer, This recipe sounds terrific , thank you I will give it a try, Even the king fisher Beer!

    • Oh yeah! My husband played a concert that was sponsored by Kingfisher in Mumbai, so I feel a certain loyalty, although actually at home I am a total Guinness girl. Although I guess you need the light crispness of Kingfisher with a nice garam curry. (Garam means hot in Hindi- bahut garam- very hot. One of my least useful hobbies is studying Hindi- since not all Indians speak it and they speak English better than we do.)
      Thanks for the encouraging comment- I have been super busy lately playing catch up after a cross-country trip, and since most comments seem to be spam I let the blog slide. I’m back though. It is deer season here and I have a tender young doe in my freezer. Ironically, I’m soaking chickpeas for a vegetarian chickpea curry- it’s just good, and my husband is less carnivorous than I am.
      Cheers Susan

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  3. Many thanks for the recipe – a great way to use leftover venison from Christmas day; we had it with chapatis and our home-made Indian garlic pickle. By the way, you mention potatoes and tomatoes in the ingredients but the recipe doesn’t say what to do with them – I added them at the point of adding the water and it worked fine.

    • This is why feedback rocks. I add a little tomato to the curry to give it a little sweet tart yum- it rounds out the flavor, and with the water is a good time. The potatoes should go in about a half hour before the curry is done so that they won’t have dissolved. Just tuck them in below the surface of the broth before it gets thick. I forget if I said this as well, so I will go back and update, but a scant teaspoon of garam masala is sometimes added to spicy curries at the end of cooking and I find it adds a sort of sweet/warm complexity to the flavor.
      Check out my naan epiphany.
      I’d love your garlic pickle recipe!

      • Hi Susan – thanks for that; here’s the garlic pickle recipe. The recipe is from Dharamjit Singh’s wonderful book “Indian Cookery”:

        8oz garlic 1/2 – 3/4 tsp tumeric
        1 3/4 tbsp salt 1 1/2 tbsp kalonji
        4 tbsp fennel or aniseed 6 bay leaves
        1 tsp lovage seed 1/4 tsp asafoetida
        1 tbsp cayenne pepper 3 pippal (long black pepper)
        1 tbsp whole black peppercorns 1 1/2 – 2 pts oil
        1 tbsp garam masala

        – Peel garlic (make sure it does not get wet) and place
        along with all the aromatics in a pickling jar.
        – Cover with good quality oil so that 1/2 inch of oil covers
        the ingredients.
        – Stir well and cover with a stretched muslin cloth.
        – Put in a warm place (e.g. in the sun) and stir 3-4 times daily.
        – At night cover with lid.
        – Repeat for 3-4 days, then leave undisturbed for a week.
        – When ready the garlic will become translucent and lose much
        of its pungency.

        • Yum! Happens I do have some pippal we brought back from Chandni Chowk market last time we were in Delhi, but no hing(asaftda.) or black cumin (I did not know the proper name of Kalonji, thanks!). I was thinking of trying to grow asafoetida this year as a friend of mine offers it from his seed company, and I have grown black cumin, which has a lovely blue flower, and is sold as Love in a Mist in flower seed catalogs, but last year I didn’t! Lovage is a wonderful herb- I have used it in creamy fish chowder, the chopped herb, and it lifts the creamy blandness into sublime savoriness. It is a majestic plant, like a six foot tall dill/celery. What a wonderful time I will have with this recipe! Can I use olive oil? Also re: Dharamjit Singh’s book “Indian Cookery” I just bought it on your recommendation. Thank you again!

          • Hi Susan – hope you like the book! I’ve had my copy for about 30 years now and it’s one of my favourites. I’d never heard of the term black cumin before – in the UK kalonji is sometimes referred to as nigella (from the latin), or more prosaically (and misleadingly) black onion seed. It’s one of my favourite spices. I saw your other blog post on your garlic crop, so it looks like you’ve got plenty of raw materials to make this recipe :-) I’d love to hear how it goes and what you think of it. And yes, olive oil will be fine – I think any good quality oil whose flavour isn’t too pronounced will do the trick.

          • I LOVE it! Mr. Singh ji is delightful. Not only are his instructions clear, but his descriptions of Indian cooking remind us that there is an Indian haute cuisine, one he sighs after as a dying art. He harks back to times when pastry cooks were a tribe of jolly men while chefs of savory meat dishes were more serious and dignified, when milk-fed lamb was served wrapped in gold and silver leaf (for roughage and mineral intake, he says) or baked en papillotte by bake-steaming them in dough cases which were then discarded. Of course, in India, discarding isn’t really discarding. The pressed banana leaf sweetmeat bowl you throw out the window is eaten by a passing cow. His prose is educated and graceful, and filled with pleasure in the task at hand. I would love to meet him. I presume he is elderly or no longer with us. What a great book! Thanks again!

        • BTW check out the recent recipe I posted on how to roast a whole haunch of venison. There aren’t many pictures yet but it is one of the best things to do with a deer!

        • Mr.Singh refers to the kalonji as black onion seed, which of course Nigella is not- but I wonder if one could use the seeds of alliums as a spice. They do produce a lot, when you let their pretty blooms go. Bees are wild about leek flowers. I have grown Nigella, but I think it is happier in a European climate. I will see if I can find an eastern exposure for it this year, as that is a cooler sunshine. I imagine Mr. Singh did not do his own gardening, or perhaps it is erroneously labeled in shops so he had no choice. Ajwan, for example, is not lovage seed, as he calls it, as I grow lovage and the seeds look like large dill seeds, while ajwan looks like small caraway and has a sort of acrid, medicinal taste that grows on you. In Ethiopean stores it is also labeled bishop’s weed, and is used in favoring spiced butter (nitr qibe) among other things. Bishop’s Weed is a short, invasive ground cover often found variegated in American gardens which looks to be an Apium like lovage, celery, carrots, caraway, parsley, etc., but I have not collected any seed to see if it is the same.

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