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Tandoori Pigeon

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Tandoori partridge

Seared on the outside and nice and pink in the centre

So many people are missing out on great tasting game. I’ve met a lot of people who refuse to try anything that they can’t find at the supermarket. Luckily some supermarkets are now introducing game but the best is found at good online and local butchers.

My friends at Farmer’s Choice recently sent me a nice selection of feathered game that I’ve been having fun experimenting with. I knew today would be a busy day at work so I decided to marinate four pigeon breasts for my wife and me for tonight’s dinner.

Cooking the tandoori pigeon only took ten minutes and tasted so much better than those spongy ready made quick convenience meals.

I carefully cut the breasts away from the birds this morning and then put the bones in a stockpot with onions, carrots, celery and a few other things. That all went into a slow cooker to produce an mouthwatering soup. More on that another day

So then… back to the tandoori pigeon. You could of course use this same marinade with other meat such as rose veal, chicken, turkey etcetera but I hope you give pigeon a try. You can order it online from Farmer’s Choice. Good game dealers will supply it too during game season.

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The important thing is not to over-cook it. This is NOT chicken. You do not need to cook it through. Simply sear it on the outside and leave the centre rare to medium rare. If you cook the pigeon too long it will get tough.

Yield: 2

Tandoori Pigeon

Tandoori Pigeon


  • 4 pigeon breasts
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon green chilli paste
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • A pinch of citric acid (or to taste)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c (400f)
  2. Place the whole pigeon breast in a bowl and rub the garlic, ginger and green chilli pastes into the flesh.
  3. Now place the remaining ingredients in a pestle and mortar or blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add this paste to the pigeon and stir it all well to combine.
  5. Cover and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 10 hours. The longer the better.
  6. When ready to cook, heat the oil in a frying pan until quite hot but not smoking.
  7. Gently place the pigeon breasts in the oil and brown on both sides for about a minute per side.
  8. Now place in the oven to continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Remember to watch the meat carefully so that you don't over cook it.
  9. You do not need to do the final cooking in the oven but I thing it gives the meat a more evenly cooked appearance.
  10. Serve with a nice raita and or your favourite chutney.


I usually cook my tandoori style recipes in my tandoor or on the barbecue. Today I was lazy and the oven worked just fine.

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Farmer’s Choice sent me the pigeon for this recipe free of charge to try. It was awesome.

Kev Shep

Wednesday 9th of October 2013

Done and dusted ,highly recomended ,served with Bombay Potatoes and a mushroom Bargee recipe I have.Did need more breasts per person though would recomend 3 to 4 per person

Kev Shep

Thursday 26th of September 2013

Hi Dan ,going to give this one a try the weekend and if its as good as all your others on this site we will be in for a treat again.Just one thing ,in the list of ingredients under the 4 pigeon breasts you have listed 2tablespoons of,but dont say of what.I wonder if you can let me know what that was please.Keep up the fab work Kev

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 1st of October 2013

Oops. Thanks Kevin. It's nothing. The whole recipe is there.


Kev Shep

Thursday 19th of September 2013

Hi Dan , yet enougher great sounding dish.Going to give it a try next week.One question though , in the ingredients list , under the 4 pigeon breasts you list 2 tablespoons of ? does not say what the 2 tablespoons are .Thanks again for some fantastic dishes have tried quite a few now and find your site one of the best tasting and easiest to follow dishes

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 1st of October 2013

All fixed now Kev. Thank you.


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