Sri Lankan Venison Curry

Sri Lankan Venison Curry

I've called this curry Sri Lankan as I have used our Jaffna Curry Powder however I should point out that the venison came from the wilds of the Brecon Beacons (Welsh Venison Centre) and the recipe was concocted in my kitchen in Tintern. In before the haters, who, as they say, are gonna hate. 

I chose the Jaffna powder because it is quite earthy in flavour, fennel and fenugreek add that, and also because I like the level of heat that it brings. I also added some juniper berries which work really well with game and I do think it helps elevate the dish so try not to exclude them!! 

Whilst cooking you may need to add a few splashes of water (anything up to 100ml throughout the cooking time) to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Additionally, you want the venison to be tender and not dry out so always check the meat after 45 minutes to find the sweet spot - all cooking appliances vary. Don't forget to season before serving - it really can elevate your dish.  

Ingredients - serves 4 
800g diced wild venison
2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste (you can buy this in a jar or learn how to make it here)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml water
4 medium size onions, roughly chopped
4 tbsps Jaffna Curry Powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (deggi mirch)
2 tbsps crushed juniper berries 
small handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsps natural yoghurt
Salt to taste 

For the naan breads
500g plain flour, sieved
150ml milk 
100g natural yoghurt
10g salt 
5g baking powder
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

To serve 
500g basmati rice, cooked 


Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute slowly for about 10 minutes. Don't rush this. When they are light golden brown and the edges beginning to caramelise add the venison. Cook the venison for about 5 minutes, until the juices come out of the meat.

Next add in the ginger and garlic paste and give everything a good stir, allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Now add the curry powder, juniper berries and chilli powder and stir it altogether for a minute or two. 

Turn the heat as low as possible and stir in the tomatoes and water. Pop the lid on the casserole and slow cook for about 1.5 - 2 hours, the venison should be really tender. Keep an eye on the dish, stirring to prevent it sticking and add a splash more water if necessary. 

Whilst the curry is cooking you can make the naan breads. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. If the dough is too dry add a little milk to bring it together. If it is too sticky add a little flower, it's not an exact science I'm afraid! Don't over knead at this stage. Leave to rest for at least an hour.

When ready to make the naans place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead into a soft dough. Divide into 8 and use a floured rolling pin to shape into naans. 

Heat a frying pan over a high heat and cook the naan breads in the pan - no oil necessary, just the dry pan. Depending on the heat they should take between 3 and 4 minutes on either side. Remove from the pan and keep warm until ready to serve, repeat with the remaining dough.  

When you are ready to eat remove the curry from the heat and stir in the yoghurt. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary (it can really lift a dish so don't be afraid to add some!). Plate up with the basmati and naans, sprinkle the curry with the chopped coriander.  

Venison Curry


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