Rajasthani smoky venison kebabs

Rajasthani smoky venison kebabs

By
From
I Love India
Serves
4
Photographer
Martin Poole

Rajasthani royalty were known to hunt often, hosting hunt parties in their countryside lodges. In those days, the gains were marinated and cooked over charcoal, or in a large pit. They were known for using a lot of yogurt and chillies in their dishes, but not too much complex spicing. These venison kebabs are typical of those dishes: the flavours are really harmonious, not too tart as with some other meaty kebabs, not too spicy and very moreish. The smokiness is a big part of the flavour so, even when this is cooked indoors in a Rajasthani kitchen, it is often smoked with some hot coals, a little ghee and cloves. These are great kebabs and a natural to cook on the BBQ, and you can also make them with chicken, lamb or beef. I bought a pack of venison pieces pre-cut for a stir-fry and used them in this dish. They are thin enough to flash cook, but not too thin that they dry out. These flavours really lift this lean meat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the kebabs

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
250g venison pieces
bamboo skewers
25g ghee or unsalted butter, melted, to baste
lemon wedges, to serve

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced, (or 45g bought crisp fried brown onions)
5 large garlic cloves, sliced
150g greek yogurt
15g roughly chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
2 teaspoons see method for ingredients, (fresh if possible)
1/2 teaspoons chilli powder, or to taste
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 good teaspoon salt, or to taste

Method

  1. Heat 2.5cm of oil in a small pan. Add the onion and fry until brown. When you take them out, they should crisp up. Pour the oil into a bowl, leaving behind 1 tsp in the pan. Add the garlic and cook until just colouring at the edges.
  2. Pour this into a blender with the onion and remaining marinade ingredients, adding 2 tbsp of the onion oil. Blend until smooth, adding 1 tbsp or so of water to help the blades turn. Taste and adjust the chilli and salt, then stir in the caraway seeds. Add the venison pieces and marinate for a few hours if possible – or at least 1 hour – to allow the flavours to penetrate. Soak the skewers for 30 minutes, so they don’t catch and burn on the barbecue.
  3. When you are ready to cook, preheat the barbecue and return the meat to room temperature if you have put it in the fridge.
  4. Skewer the venison pieces on the soaked bamboo skewers, or use thin metal ones. Place on the grill rack and cook for 4–6 minutes, turning halfway. Then baste with the ghee or butter and cook for another 30 seconds on each side. Serve with the lemon wedges, some Minted Yogurt Chutney and some onion rings.
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