Roast Pheasants Indian Style


If you roast pheasants without seasoning them they can be dry and bland, and so one of the best ways to treat them is to use a spicy marinade. Serve with saffron-flavoured rice and a green salad.


For The Pheasants And Marinade

  • 2 oven-ready pheasants
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped very finely
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon each ground cloves and cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • juice of 1 orange

For The Sauce

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 2 teaspoons each ground cumin, ground cardamom and ground coriander
  • 250 g (8 oz) mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped finely
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée
  • 300 ml (½ pint) hot water
  • 50 g (2 oz) creamed coconut, crumbled Cayenne pepper
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped roughly
  • Salt


Using a small sharp knife, cut 3 slits in the skin on each side of the pheasants’ breasts and 1 slit in each thigh. Put the chopped garlic in a bowl with the groundnut oil, tomato purée, vinegar, ground spices and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly, then smear the mixture over the birds pushing it into the slits and under the breast skin, too. Put the birds in a roasting tin, cover the tin tightly with foil and leave at cool room temperature for several hours or overnight.

Add the lemon and orange juices to the roasting tin, cover with foil again and roast in the centre of a preheated oven, 160°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 for 1½ hours, basting occasionally with the juices. Remove the foil and continue roasting, uncovered, for another 30 minutes until the birds are browned.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the ground spices and stir, then add the sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, garlic and ginger and stir around until the mushrooms have softened and the tomatoes are mushy. Mix the tomato purée with the hot water and add to the mushroom and tomato mixture.

Cover the saucepan and simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes, then add the creamed coconut and stir in until it dissolves and thickens the sauce. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt and remove from the heat.

Transfer the cooked pheasants to a carving board. Pour the juices from the roasting tin into the saucepan of sauce, stir and reheat. Check for seasoning and add the chopped coriander leaves. Pour the sauce into a jug and serve with the carved pheasants.