“There are so many beautiful game birds you can cook with these days. Plus, game is seasonal, so it’s often better value than supermarket birds. If you’re nervous, ease yourself in gently by upping the ratio of chicken. Trust me, it’s delicious! ”
For the paste, peel the onion, garlic and ginger, deseed the chillies, then slice it all with the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves). Place it all in a large ovenproof pan on a medium heat and char for 1 to 2 minutes to soften slightly.
Tip into a large pestle and mortar, add the remaining paste ingredients and bash to a thick paste (or whiz in a food processor).
Return the pan to a medium heat. Halve the chicken legs through the bone, then place skin side down in the pan with the quail. Cut off and add the partridge and pheasant legs. Remove and discard the partridge and pheasant backbones, then halve the birds and add to the pan.
Dry-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until everything is golden all over, then add the curry leaves and 1 heaped tablespoon of the paste. Leave to tick away on a low heat while you prep the aubergines, stirring regularly.
Leaving the finger and round aubergines intact at the stalk, cut into quarters lengthways. Cut the large aubergine into thick rounds and slice down into the outer edge of each round to make a pocket. Use the remaining paste to stuff all the aubergines and coat their outsides.
Layer into the pan on top of the game – it’ll be snug! Transfer to the oven to cook for 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are tender and the meat is cooked through.
Put the pan back on a medium heat on the hob, then pour in the coconut milk and a splash of water. Let it gently bubble away for 2 minutes, then season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Delicious served with pickles, salad, rice and Fluffy coconut breads.