Crispy venison with tamarind caramel

Tom Kime combines traditional Thai flavours with British venison in this exciting salad
By Tom Kime
Crispy venison with tamarind caramel
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1.5 kg haunch venison, bone removed
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • vegetable oil, for frying

For the tamarind caramel

  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 coriander stalks, scraped and finely chopped
  • 3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 1-2 limes, juice only

For the salad

  • 1 pomelo (Chinese grapefruit), peeled and segmented
  • 8 spring onions, finely shredded
  • ½ bunches coriander, roughly torn
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Tips and Suggestions

Tamarind pulp is available from Asian food stores and some supermarkets. It is a dried form of the fruit that contains seeds and fibres that can be removed by softening the pulp in hot water then sieving. Convenient substitutes such as tamarind paste are readily available, but do not have the same fresh flavour. If using tamarind paste, skip the steeping process and add 1-2 tablespoons to the mixture to suit your taste. If using tamarind concentrate, which has a consistency like treacle, start with just 1 teaspoon.


1. Cut the venison into three equal-sized pieces and put them in a large saucepan with the star anise, lime leaves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and poach the meat for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the venison from the liquid and allow to cool. Reserve 100ml of the poaching liquid and discard the rest.

3. Pat the venison dry with kitchen towel and cut the meat into 3cm square cubes. The venison should still be quite rare. Pat the cut pieces dry again and save any liquid or juice that the meat exudes.

4. For the tamarind caramel: put the tamarind pulp in a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water from the kettle. Leave to steep for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break down the fibres.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the garlic, chilli, coriander stems and ginger until aromatic. Add the white and brown sugars, fish sauce, soy sauce and star anise. Sieve the tamarind liquid into the saucepan and stir until well combined.

6. Simmer the caramel on a medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, until it becomes syrupy and sticky. Stir in the lime juice and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

7. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan until hot, then add the meat pieces. Cook quickly, so they turn crispy on the outside but remain rare in the middle. Remove and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

8. For the salad: peel the pomelo, removing all the pith, and cut or tear into segments, discarding the thick membrane. Cut or tear each fruit segment into two or three pieces. Place in a salad bowl and add all the other salad ingredients.

9. Tip the venison into the tamarind caramel and mix gently until coated, then pour the contents of the pan into the salad bowl and toss gently until combined.

Rate This Recipe