According to our blog stats, we get hundreds of hits and searches for chukar and upland bird recipes every month. I have no excuse, but we haven’t posted a new recipe on here for a while; it’s been about five years to be exact. Thanks to Peat, Angus, Bob, and on good days when I can actually hit them, we’ve got a nice supply of chukar, huns, and grouse in our freezer to last quite some time for us and to also share in recipes for visiting friends and family.
This chukar curry recipe was a hit with Bob’s students during his introduction to upland bird hunting class recently; some of the kids from our rural Idaho town had never tasted Indian food, or chukar for that matter, and became immediate fans of both. Two other teachers sampled the curry and immediately wanted the recipe. It must be a winner! The ingredients are pretty easy to find, plus it’s super easy to make. It is my new favorite go-to upland bird recipe.
8 chukar breast halves (from four birds) cut into 1-inch pieces*
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2-inch piece ginger, grated, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes*
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala*
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
½ cup water
Fresh cilantro for garnish. Optional but recommended.
Combine chukar breast with yogurt, half of the garlic, ginger, and salt in a bowl and set aside to marinade. You can use it right away, in an hour, or up to a day refrigerated.
In a large heavy pan with lid, heat oil. Once hot, add onions and cook 5-10 minutes, until browned at edges. Add cumin, remaining ginger and garlic and cook one to two minutes more. Add remaining salt, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cayenne, and cook for two minutes.
Add canned tomatoes, chukar and yogurt marinade from bowl, plus water, stir to combine, and bring to simmer, stirring. Simmer 30 minutes over low heat, covered, stirring once or twice to ensure everything is cooked evenly.
Serve over basmati or jasmine rice and a side of plain or garlic Naan.*
* I’ve made this recipe using a mix of Huns, dusky grouse, and ruffed grouse cut into pieces instead of chukar. Adjust amount of bird meat to suit your taste.
*If you use a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, use half of the can and freeze the remainder in a freezer container to use when making the recipe again.
*Garam Masala is an Indian spice.
Adjust all the other spices to your taste; I’d call this recipe mild or “Cambridge Hot.” Add more cayenne if you want it “Bombay Hot.”
*Naan is a flatbread that can be found in most grocery stores in the bread aisle or near the deli. Follow the directions on the package. If you can’t find Naan, white Pita bread can be used instead. Warm the pita bread in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes, remove from oven and brush with olive oil before serving.