HomeGameAtul Kochhar’s Pigeon Breasts With Sweet Rhubarb Pickle Rhubarb is always an interesting ingredient to cook with – and is so versatile for both sweet and savoury dishes. The rhubarb pickle is the perfect companion for the pan-fried pigeon breasts flavoured with Atul’s own blend of garam masala. Ingredients For the pigeon: 4 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying 8 pigeon breasts, skin on and patted dry 1 1/2 tablespoons see method for ingredients 15g butter sea salt freshly ground black pepper baby watercress leaves, to garnish For the sweet rhubarb pickle: 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 tablespoon panch phoron 2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated 1 onion, finely chopped 500g dark brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon garam masala 100ml cider vinegar 500g rhubarb stalks, peeled and thinly sliced, (save the peels for deep-frying) 75g sultanas 50g peeled and cored apples, diced 2 tablespoons grenadine, (optional for colour) For a rhubarb and chicory salad: 2 tablespoons orange juice 1 1/2 teaspoons sunflower oil 1 head chicory, leaves separated 1 rhubarb stalk, peeled and thinly sliced, ideally with a mandolin celery leaves pea shoots pomegranate seeds Method 1 Make the rhubarb pickle at least 1 week in advance for the flavours to combine. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the panch phoron and ginger and sauté over a medium heat until the seeds crackle. Add the onion and sauté for 3–5 minutes until it is translucent, then stir in the brown sugar and ground spices. 2 Add the remaining ingredients, stirring over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for 15–20 minutes until the mixture is thickened. Stir often so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. 3 Remove the pan from the heat and leave the pickle to cool completely. Transfer to hot, dry sterilized jars with vinegar-proof lids. Seal immediately and store in a cool place for at least 1 week. Once opened, store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 4 If you want to serve the salad as a side dish, assemble it as close as possible to serving. Mix the orange juice and sunflower oil together in a large non-metallic bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicory, rhubarb, celery leaves, pea shoots and pomegranate seeds, and toss together. 5 Just before cooking the pigeon breasts, heat enough oil for deep-frying to 190°C. Add the rhubarb peels and deep-fry for 1 minute, or until crisp but still retaining the vibrant ruby colour. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. 6 Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan. Add the pigeon breasts, skin side down, and fry for 1½ minutes. Turn them over and fry for a further 30 seconds. Sprinkle the breasts with 1 tablespoon of garam masala, add the butter to the pan and fry for a further minute, basting with the pan juices, or until the breasts are springy to the touch. 7 Leave to rest for 3 minutes, covered with foil. Season with salt to taste. 8 Meanwhile, reheat the gravy with the remaining garam masala and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. 9 Serve the pigeon breasts with the sweet rhubarb pickle and the gravy. Garnish and serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of Atul Kochha from Benares.