Brought by the Portuguese to Goa in southwest India, vindaloo is normally made with pork, but venison is a perfect match for the strident flavours – vinegar, garlic and chillies. The dish is notorious for its chilli-laden heat. While this is true, much of the heat also comes from peppercorns, ginger and other spices, giving a more complex flavour than a one-dimensional chilli-hit.
Be sure to allow plenty of time for marinating the meat in the spice mix.
stewing venison 1kg, cut into 2.5-cm cubes
vegetable oil, ghee or mustard oil 4 tbsp
onions 2 large, halved and thinly sliced into crescents
garlic cloves 6 large, thinly sliced
ginger 5-cm chunk, thinly sliced, then cut into matchstick strips
green chillies 4–6, deseeded and sliced
tamarind paste 2 tbsp
chopped tomatoes 400g can
salt 1½ tsp
palm sugar or soft brown sugar 1½ tsp
coriander small bunch, leaves picked and roughly chopped
for the marinade:
green cardamom seeds from 7 pods
dried red chillies 4–6, broken
cinnamon 5-cm stick, broken
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
cumin 2 tsp
black peppercorns 1 tsp
turmeric powder 2 tsp
fenugreek powder 1 tsp
malt vinegar or wine vinegar 5 tbsp
1) First make the marinade. Put the cardamom seeds, dried chillies, cloves, cinnamon stick, coriander and cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan. Dry-fry over low heat, stirring all the time, until the spices darken slightly and begin to smell fragrant – 30-60 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat and tip the spices onto a plate.
2) Add the peppercorns to the dry-fried spices. Grind in batches in a clean electric coffee grinder until you have a uniformly fine powder.
3) Tip the powder into a small bowl then add the turmeric and fenugreek, mixing well. Stir in the vinegar and mix to a paste.
4) Spread out the meat in a shallow dish. Mix in the vinegar paste, making sure the meat is evenly coated. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Allow to come to room temperature before cooking.
5) Heat a large, high-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and gently fry for 20 minutes, stirring often, until golden and soft.
6) Add the garlic, ginger and chillies. Gently fry for another 3–4 minutes until starting to soften.
7) Add the meat and raise the heat to medium-high. Fry for 10–12 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
8) Stir in the tomatoes, tamarind paste, salt and sugar. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
9) Remove the lid, then simmer for another 25-30 minutes or until the meat is tender and the liquid has thickened. Stir in the coriander just before serving.
Recipe © Christine McFadden, October 2021
Venison gives an unmistakable richness to this sixties classic, usually
made with beef or pork. Serve with plainly boiled rice and a steamed leafy
venison fillet 500g, sliced into 1x4cm strips
freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp, plus extra
rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
small onion 1, finely chopped
mushrooms 250g, thinly sliced
paprika 2 tsp
dill seeds 1 tsp
soured cream 300ml plus extra for serving
fresh dill leaves or flat leaf parsley roughly chopped, to garnish
lemon wedges to garnish
1) Spread out the sliced meat on a board and sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon of pepper, massaging it well into the meat.
2) Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and half the butter. When it sizzles, fry the onion for a few minutes until beginning to colour.
3) While the onion is cooking, heat the remaining butter in a separate pan, and fry the mushrooms for about 7 minutes or until they start to give up their juices.
4) Stir the meat into the onions and season with the paprika, dill seeds and salt to taste. Cook until the meat has lost its red colour, then add the mushrooms. Stir everything together and season with more salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
5) Pour in the soured cream, stir well to mix and cook until heated through. Check the seasoning again, then pour into a warm dish. Sprinkle with a little parsley or fresh dill. Serve with lemon wedges and extra soured cream.
Recipe © Christine McFadden from The Farm Shop Cookbook published by