Roast Pheasant Masala

Roast Pheasant Masala (Roast Pheasant with Indian Spices)

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


Roast Pheasant Masala is a delicious alternative roast brimming with the rich aroma of Indian spices, without any heat. Perfect for festive occasions or no occasion at all!



  • 2 oven ready pheasants, that means all cleaned (about 600g/1.3 lb)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes

Dry Whole Spices

  • 6 cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
  • 1 tsp coriander (or 3/4 tsp ground coriander)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 3/4 tsp ground cumin)
  • 1 small stick cinnamon (or generous pinch ground cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (or 1/4 tsp freshly milled black pepper)


  • the whole spices above, ground
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5cm (2″) ginger, medium thickness
  • 1 green chilli (or more, for heat)
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 100g (3.5oz/1 small pot) thick yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Prepare the marinade

  1. Toast the whole spices in a frying pan on a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. You will know when they are done, by the lovely, smoky aroma. Don’t let them burn! Leave them to cool while you get on with the other ingredients.

If using ground spices, just move on to the next step.

  1. Place the garlic, ginger, green chilli and coriander leaves (cilantro) in a chopper and chop to a fine grind. Or, chop them all finely, by hand if you haven’t got a chopper. Seriously, you don’t?
  2. Place the yoghurt in a bowl and tip the chopped garlic, ginger, chilli and leaves in.
  3. Follow this by all the other ingredients.
  4. When the whole toasted spices have cooled down about 10 minutes, place them in a spice or coffee grinder and blitz to a fine powder and add to the yoghurt.
  5. Stir the yoghurt mix thoroughly.

Marinate the pheasants

  1. Rub the yoghurt marinade all over the pheasants, getting under the skin and in the cavity. Cover, and leave to marinate for as long as you can, minimum an hour. Overnight would be great, just remember to keep the birds in the fridge and get them out 30 minutes before cooking to allow them to get to room temperature.

Cook the pheasants

  1. Turn the oven on to 220˚C (430˚F).
  2. Slice the carrots, onions and tomatoes in rings and place them in a roasting tin. You can use any vegetables you like here, like leeks and celery.
  3. Place the pheasants on the vegetables, and roast them, uncovered, at the initial high temperature of 220˚C (430˚F) for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down to 180˚ (350˚F) and cook for 45-60 minutes more, until the birds are done, basting at least 3 times during the cooking period. The birds are done when the legs are no longer very pink, and more importantly, the juices run clear when you use a knife to pierce the thigh.
  5. Take it out of the oven, cover with a foil, then a tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes, before carving and serving as discussed above.


Total time does not take into account the marinating time.

  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Anglo-Indian