Tandoori grey squirrel with Rajasthani spices

  • Main
  • medium
  • 4
  • 1 hour 15 minutes, plus marinating time


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Grey squirrels

  • 4 grey squirrels, skinned, gutted and cleaned

First marinade

Belly braising

Rajasthani spice marinade

For the raita

For the pickled vegetables

For the chutney

Spice mix for stir-fry


To serve

To start the dish, butcher the squirrel to separate the hind legs and front legs, placing the belly/mid-section aside. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, rub the mixture onto the legs and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4
In a deep roasting tray, mix the squirrel mid sections with the cloves, cardamom, bay, salt and chilli. Add enough water to cover, add a foil lid to the tray and place in the oven to braise for about 1 hour, until tender
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. While the meat is still slightly warm, pick out and discard all of the bones and cut the meat into 1cm thick strips
To prepare the Rajasthani spice mix, add the mustard oil to a heavy-based pan and heat until it begins to smoke. At this point, add the ghee (or clarified butter) and quickly reduce the temperature
Add the sliced onions, fry until soft, then add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. In the same pan, add the cloves, cardamom, coriander seeds, peppercorns and fennel - in that order - and cook on a high heat for 1-2 minutes, taking care not to let the spices burn. Finally, add the coriander stalks, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool
To make the pickle, peel the carrot and cucumber into long strips - using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin for the best results - and thinly slice the radish. Roast the spices in a hot, dry pan until aromatic (for 2-3 minutes), then add to a pan with the vinegar, water, salt and sugar
Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. While still warm, add the vegetable strips, stir to combine and set aside to pickle
For the chutney, combine the coriander, garlic, chilli and oil in a blender or food processor and blitz to form a smooth paste. Mix in the salt, sugar and lemon juice, and refrigerate until required
For the raita, simply combine all of the ingredients a bowl and leave in the fridge until ready to serve
Remove the squirrel from the fridge and wipe most of the first marinade off
Combine the reserved Rajasthani spice mix and Greek yoghurt in a blender and blitz until smooth. Apply the mix evenly over the squirrels and set aside for another 20 minutes at room temperature
Place the squirrel legs on a long skewer for use in a tandoor or barbecue, and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes until the flesh is firm and cooked, but not dry. Alternatively, use a grill on a high heat to achieve a good dark golden colour to the flesh, then reduce the heat if necessary to cook further
While the squirrel is cooking, prepare the stir-fry by starting with the spice mix. Roast all of the spices together in a hot, dry pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove and grind into a coarse powder
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, add the strips of onion and peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red chilli powder and cook for another couple of minutes. Now add the squirrel meat, followed by the ginger, coriander, spice mix, salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and add squeeze over the lemon juice
Remove the squirrels from the tandoor/grill and sprinkle with lemon juice, chaat masala and chopped coriander. Remove from the skewers and serve with the stir-fry, raita, chutney and pickled vegetables
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