I was very privileged to be asked by Rosemary and Porkbelly if they could do a photo shoot with me cooking a dish in keeping with the royal theme of the Maharani Supperclub. I decided to cook a Shahi (Royal) Venison Qorma in the Mughlai style. This is nothing like the Korma dishes that you find on standard curry menus in the UK. For a start, it is not sweet and it does not contain coconut. It is a fragrant and delicately spiced dish – fit for a Queen!
Try this dish for an alternative Christmas feast. Brilliant at parties as well. The recipe for Royal Venison Qorma was featured on Rosemary and Porkbelly’s wonderful blog – click here to find out more.
You will need:
- 500 g venison cut into medium sized cubes (Ask the butcher to throw in some marrow bones too so the total weight should be about 700g)
- 2 large red onions
- 100 g clarified butter/ghee – Lurpak Cook’s range clarified butter works very well
- 4 large cloves of garlic and roughly the same volume of fresh ginger root
- ¾ cup natural yoghurt (I prefer setting my own or Onken)
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (use paprika if you do not have have this)
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground mace
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 4-5 cloves
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 3 Indian bay leaves
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp Deccan Tiffin Special Garam Masala
- Pinch of saffron
- unrefined sea salt
- 2 tsp Screwpine (Pandan leaf) extract
- 100 g freshly kneaded wheat dough
Peel and slice the onions as finely as you can. Heat the ghee on high heat in a wok or kadahi. Add the onions and stir. Keep the heat on high and stir occasionally. We are aiming to have browned and crisped onions.
While the onions are cooking, start preparing the other ingredients. First peel the garlic and scrape the ginger root and cut both into centimetre wide pieces. Grind both in an electric grinder together with half a cup of water and a teaspoon of salt.
Continue frying the onions until they become crisp and move them to the sides of the wok so that the ghee drains into the middle – we will be using this to fry the meat. If more time is needed on the onions, start grinding some of the spices.
In a pestle and mortar roughly smash the two types of cardamom to remove the outer skins. Take the seeds out and grind these to a fine powder together with the peppercorns and cloves. Reserve this powder for adding into the dish later.
After the onions have been browned and the ghee has collected in the middle of the wok, spoon as much as you can get out into another casserole dish (choose a heavy based dish with a tight fitting lid). I like using my old cast iron casserole for this dish, but a le creuset casserole or something similar will work well.
Heat the ghee on a high flame, when hot add the meat and stir. Keep stirring until the liquid evaporates and ghee reappears at the bottom of the casserole. This is called the bhuna method.
Once this happens drizzle a couple of teaspoons of the garlic-ginger paste on to the meat and repeat the bhuna process until you see the fat separating; add more of the mix and repeat until it is all finished.
Do the same with the yoghurt (drizzle a small amount, stir until the fat separates) until all the yoghurt is used up.
Blitz the fried onions and add them to the meat with enough water to cover the meat pieces. Now add the chilli powders, coriander, mace, nutmeg, ground spice mix of cardamoms, cloves and pepper and the bay leaves.
Simmer for a minute and then add the garam masala, saffron and screwpine extract. Put the lid on and seal all round the edges with the dough to prevent any steam from escaping. Cook on a very low heat for a further hour. This is the “dum” method of cooking developed in the royal kitchens of north India.
Serve with freshly made roti or naan – it is traditionally eaten with tandoori roti or naan.