RECIPE: Venison tikka masala

On these cold, winter days, nothing hits better than a warm and spicy meal. So I looked to India for the inspiration for this Tikka Masala, and instead of traditional meat, I had a few nice deer sirloins calling my name from the freezer.

Take note, this can take some time to prepare, so if you want it for dinner consider getting your main preparation – the garam masala and marinated meat – out of the way to make your life easier.

Note: Garam Masala is a spice mixture that is easy to make, though some ingredients may be hard to find at some local grocery stores, especially rural ones. For that reason, I’m simplifying the recipe as much as possible. Further, you can buy whole seeds and grind them yourself with a mortar and pestle if you choose.

PREPARATION:

  1. Make the garam masala. 
  2. Dice the onion and mince the serrano, garlic and ginger. Rinse the basmati under cold water in a thin mesh strainer. Set aside.  
  3. Trim your sirloin, then cut into cubes. 
  4. Season your meat with a pinch of salt and pepper, then put into a resealable plastic bag. Add the cumin, coriander, 1 tbsp of the garam masala and yogurt, then seal the bag and squish until meat is coated. Refrigerate for one hour. 
  5. Heat oil in a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until beginning to brown, roughly 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, ginger and serrano. Cook, stirring often, until onions are browned and soft. Once cooked through, sprinkle with the last tablespoon of garam masala and coat well. 
The tomatoes will slightly reduce and darken as you cook them.

6. In the last 5 minutes, bring the water, salt, butter and rice to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Once finished, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. 

7. Add tomatoes to onion mixture and cook 20 minutes. 

8. As tomatoes begin to reduce and darken, cook the sirloin cubes. You can either grill them on skewers or in a hot pan. Whatever method, remove the cubes from the bag, shake off excess yogurt and cook for roughly 2 minutes on each side. You want the meat to begin to char. 

9. Once finished, add the sirloin and coconut mixture to the sauce and stir. Heat through. 

10. Plate rice, then add tikka masala on top. Garnish with cilantro and serve

INGREDIENTS

The garam masala

1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground cardamom 

2 tsp ground coriander 

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp ground mustard 

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

1 tsp ground nutmeg 

1 tsp ground cloves

The rice

1 cup Basmati rice

1 3/4 cup water

1 tbsp butter 

A pinch of salt 

The rest

1 venison sirloin

2 tbsp garam masala 

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 white onion

6 cloves garlic

2 tbsp fresh ginger

1 serrano chile 

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes 

1 cup coconut milk

Salt and pepper

Cilantro for garnish 

Andrew Spellman

A West Virginia University Reed College of Media alum, Andrew has a deep passion for his field of work. He is currently a sports and outdoors writer for The Dominion Post in Morgantown, WV, and a current issues and affairs writer for Project Upland. He also runs his blog, Hill & Holler, on the side.

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