By Mark Hix

You don’t often see deer chops for sale but any good butcher should be able to cut them for you, just like lamb or mutton. There’s something delicious about eating a curry on the bone and picking up the bones afterwards and what’s more it looks great.


For the roasted curry powder

  • 5 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 5 tbsp fenugreek leaves
  • 5 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp dried chilli
  • 3 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 3 tbsp nigella seeds
  • 5 tbsp turmeric
  • 30 cloves
  • 5 tbsp ground coriander
  • 5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsp podded cardamon seeds
  • 5 tbsp ground cumin

Grind all the spices, except the ground cumin, cinnamon and coriander, in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Then mix them with the already ground spices and sprinkle into a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Cook over a medium heat stirring constantly and not letting them burn, until they turn dark brown. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool, then store in a sealed jar.

For the curry

  • 3 deer chops or cutlets per portion
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 10 medium red onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
  • 15 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 120g of root ginger, scraped and finely grated
  • A couple good pinches of saffron
  • 40-50 curry leaves
  • 250g ghee
  • 2 tbls fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tbls cumin seeds
  • 2 tbls podded cardamom seeds
  • 5 black cardamoms
  • 10 tbsp roasted curry powder (see above)
  • 5 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3-4 litres lamb or beef stock,
  • 5 dried red chillies 
  • A few sprigs of coriander, roughly chopped to finish


1. Marinade the chops in the yoghurt for a 2-3 hours before cooking.

2. To make the sauce gently cook the onion, garlic, ginger, saffron, curry leaves, fenugreek, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds and black cardamom, in two thirds of the ghee for 3-4 minutes until soft.

3. Add the curry spices and tomato purée and stir well. Add the stock and dried chillies, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Blend half of the sauce in a liquidiser until smooth (don’t blend the chillies) then add back to the sauce. Return to a low heat and continue simmering until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

4. Heat the remaining ghee in a frying pan, remove the excess yoghurt from the chops and season. Fry them until lightly coloured. Add the chops to the sauce and simmer gently for 4-5 hours until tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with basmati rice and scatter with the coriander.