This Indian recipe for cooking grouse is heady, aromatic and packed full of flavour. It will also work will other types of game.
4 tbsp vegetable or corn oil
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chillies, each broken into 2-3 pieces
½ tsp black onion seeds
700g/1lb 9oz pumpkin flesh, peeled, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
3-5 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried mango powder (amchoor), available from Indian supermarkets (or mango pickle from a jar)
3 tbsp vegetable or corn oil
¼ tsp cloves
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 fresh bay leaf or cinnamon leaf
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
3 tomatoes, 2 blended to a purée, 1 seeds removed, cut into 1cm/½in slices
6 grouse breasts, bones removed, cut into 1cm/½in strips
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 lime, juice only
For the spice mixture, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the spice mixture ingredients and dry fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant.
Remove from the pan and transfer to a mortar and pestle. Grind the mixture to a coarse powder, then set aside.
For the pumpkin pickle, heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the fenugreek seeds and dried red chillies and cook until they pop. (CAUTION: Keep the pan well away from your eyes and face.)
Add the pumpkin cubes and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.
Add the onion seeds, salt, chilli powder and turmeric, then reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid and cook gently until the pumpkin has started to break down, about 8-10 minutes.
When the pumpkin has broken down, stir in the sugar until the mixture is glossy. Sprinkle over the dried mango powder or mango pickle and stir until well combined.
Meanwhile, for the grouse, heat the oil in a flat-bottomed Indian wok or a large frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cloves, cardamom pods and bay leaf and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until they sizzle.
Add the 1½ finely chopped onions and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli and stir-fry for a further 1-2 minutes, or until softened.
Stir in the chilli powder, ground coriander and ground cumin and cook for a further minute, until the spices are fragrant.
Add the puréed tomatoes, stir well, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Continue to simmer the mixture until the volume of sauce has reduced by half and the sauce has thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
When the tomato sauce has reduced, push it to one side of the wok or pan and add the slices of grouse. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until browned on all sides.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion slices. Stir in the spice mixture, salt and sugar until all of the tomato, grouse and onion mixture is well combined, then continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
Stir in the tomato slices until well combined.
Sprinkle over the fresh coriander leaves, then squeeze over the lime juice and remove the pan from the heat.
To serve, spoon the wok-cooked grouse onto each of four serving plates. Spoon the pumpkin pickle alongside each serving. Garnish each plate with a few sprigs of micro salad leaves.
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