Paddock To Plate

Like any Indian-style curry, this is great served with accompaniments such as cucumber raita and a simple tomato salad.


  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds

  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1.5 kg alpaca neck rosettes, diced (see note)

  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee

  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated

  • 2cm knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated

  • 1½ tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see note)

  • 1 cinnamon quill

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped palm sugar or jaggery, finely chopped (see note) 

  • 10 fresh curry leaves

  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and coarsely chopped

  • 500 ml (2 cups) water

  • 400 ml coconut cream

  • 200 gm paneer, cut into cubes (see note)

  • 12 snake beans, cut into batons

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced into rounds

  • Steamed basmati rice and poppadoms, to serve

  • Chat masala spice mix

  • 2 tbsp roasted coriander seeds

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see note)

  • 1/2 tsp roasted carom seeds

  • 1/2 tsp dried mint

  • 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (see note)

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch of asafoetida powder (see note)

  • 1½ tbsp black salt


  • 1.

    Dry-roast the fennel seeds and turmeric in a small pan over medium-high heat until fragrant until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Finely grind in a mortar and pestle then combine in a large bowl with the alpaca meat, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

  • 2.

    Melt the ghee in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over medium heat, add the onion and slowly sauté until onion is very tender (5 minutes), add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the curry leaves, chilli and cinnamon, stir to combine, then add the alpaca and jaggery. Stir to combine well, add the water, coconut cream and fresh chilli and bring to the boil. Add the paneer and snake beans, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender (1¼ - 2 hours), then add lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 3.

    Meanwhile, to make the chat masala spice mix, dry-roast the spices in a frying pan over low heat until fragrant and slightly darkened in colour (2-3 minutes). Finely grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, add the black salt and store in an airtight container for up to a month.

  • 4.

    Separate the onion into rings and spread over a serving platter, season with a teaspoon or two of the chat masala spice mixture and serve with the alpaca curry along with steamed rice, poppadoms and accompaniments.


Note - Alpaca is a sweet-tasting red meat which is very high in protein and low in fat, with a flavour that is a cross between lamb and veal. It’s available from butchers specializing in wild meats and will need to be ordered in advance. You could also substitute lamb neck. 
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar made from the sugarcane plant or from some species of palm. Black salt (also known as kala namak) has a distinctive pungent flavour of sulphur. Kashmiri chilli powder is a deep red chilli that is medium-hot in flavour.  Carom seeds (also called ajwain) are a strong almost thyme flavored seed a little bit smaller than a cumin seed. Dried mango powder (also called amchur) is made from dried and ground green mango and adds a lovely citrus flavour to curries and other dishes. Asafoetida is a spice made from the dried latex gum of a several species of the perennial herb ferula is often used as a digestive aid. Paneer is an Indian-style fresh curd cheese, similar to ricotta. Jaggery, black salt, Kashmiri chilli powder, carom seeds, dried mango powder, asafetida and paneer are available from specialist Indian food stores.

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