Tandoori Pheasant, Spiced Aubergine Caviar and Poppy Seed Potato Cake.

Tandoori Pheasant, Spiced Aubergine Caviar and Poppy Seed Potato Cake.

This dish came about from the remaining pheasants I had left from last month. Game meats are incredibly lean and dry out very quickly.  A good way of keeping it moist I thought would be to marinade it. Pheasants only have a mild game taste rather than the heavy irony taste of venison or grouse, hence I thought of turning it into a tandoori. I love Indian spicing but I find Indian food lacks texture. Therefore, I came up with a spiced potato cake, which is coated in poppy seeds rather than breadcrumbs and served on the side, offers a lovely crunch to the dish.

Again these pheasants were from the Blackface Meat Company, if you can’t get hold of any, as ever, just substitute chicken. The aubergine caviar is a wonderful way of serving it. As it is really healthy and substitutes as the curry sauce too. The ingredients list looks enormous, essentially though most things are all repeated. If you can’t be bothered to grind your own spices and make a proper marinade either use a shop bought tandoori  paste or failing that curry powder added to the yoghurt. If you have a dairy allergy just mix the spices with some oil and use that as the marinade.[purerecipe]


  • 4 Pheasant Breasts
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Onion(Nigella) Seeds
  • 1 Dried Chilli
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tsp Ginger Paste
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 300g Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tsp Garam masala
  • Poppy Seed Cakes

  • 200g Mashed Potato
  • 1, finely diced Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 TSp Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped Coriander Leaf
  • 75g Poppy Seeds
  • Spiced Aubergine Caviar

  • 2 Aubergine
  • 1 Large, sliced as thin as possible Onion
  • 2 Tomato
  • 1 Tsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 TSp Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Leaf
  • To Serve Steamed Basmati Rice


  1. Create the marinade, roast the coriander, cumin, fennel and cardamom in a dry pan until the aromas increase. Blend/crush bash whatever you do until you have a finer paste. Mix this with the yoghurt along with the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the pheasants and marinade overnight if you can or at least two hours.
  2. For the Spiced aubergine, roast them in the oven for an hour at 200°c. Remove the flesh. Slowly cook the onion for 10mins until soft with the spices. After 5 minutes add the tomatoes and paste. After 10mins add the aubergine flesh. Cook for a further five minutes bashing with a spoon to smooth it out. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. For the poppy seed cakes, fry the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds together for a few mins. Add the mashed potato. Season. Cook for five minutes then add the coriander, cool and shape into discs about 1cm thick. Roll in the poppy seeds, they will stick easily. 
  4. Heat a grill to high, lay the breasts on a piece of foil. Grill until the top starts to caramelise, about 5-6 mins. Turn over and repeat. 
  5. Whilst these are cooking, shallow fry the poppy seed cakes for a few minutes aside.
To serve, place some of the aubergine caviar in a round. Put some steamed rice in the middle and top with a pheasant breast. Slide in a poppy seed cake where you can.


  1. I do enjoy good Indian foods but find the restaurant variety is often not nearly as healthy as it could be, laden with butter and ghee and cream. This one looks and sounds absolutely delicious and the addition of poppy seeds sounds lovely too. I disagree though about Indian foods lacking texture, sometimes more subtle, but it definitely has texture!

  2. This looks absolutely elegant and delicious. I have never eaten caviar or pheasant. Your recipe sounds very divine. Love it!

    • Dave Crichton

      Pheasant is lovely if you can get hold of them. Just tastes like a well aged chicken. The caviar is just a name given to roasted aubergines. As once you extract the flesh, the internal seeds look like caviar.

  3. Pheasant is one of my favourite meats and I love Indian food too. This recipe was made for me! As usual your presentation is perfect. 🙂

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