Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kashmiri Lamb Curry or Aab Gosht

A hiatus does wonders for the mind. It's even better for my taste buds. The past few weeks have been a blur, but one item stands out, like the light that blinds you. Makes you close your eyes and focus. A few of my trusty experimenters have stated their difficulty in finding past recipe posts. I guess they havent noticed the header at the top of the page, loudly proclaiming itself---RECIPE COLLECTIONS.. Folks, this is my version of a recipe index. All that I have labored to create has been itemized and posted. So now all of you know where to go. Jen, ChunChun, Christine... All it takes is a click!!!

The season starts. And by that I mean the cooking one, not the seasonal kind. Turkey day will be here soon enough. But before the turkey is bronzed, my first visitor is my daughter. And with her arrival comes a food request list longer than my arm!!! Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled to cook for her. To satisfy all her food fancies. Happy to have her back at our table. And so the season of goodwill and good food begins. 

Request no#1 is any kind of mutton or goat meat. It's hardfor me to say goat meat as I have called it mutton all my life. Traditionally, mutton is aged lamb. So a conundrum it is... Tomaato/tomato. Let's leave it at mutton for her sake. I schlep to a recently discovered butcher in Queens to buy a ton of meat. This butcher's mutton has the taste of meat from home aka Bombay. It's a ride out there, but well worth the effort as the mutton cooks up bone tender. I have Keith Louis to thank for this meaty discovery!! Then I race home to cook for her. The curry is supposed to be tomorrow's dinner, but an impending snowstorm brings her home earlier.

Aab Gosht is a Kashmiri delicacy. The meat is cooked along with chana dal, mint and spices till it falls off the bone. The pressure cooker does its job quite adequately. I mash the chana into the gravy to thicken it. Some coconut milk and lemon juice to finish and I have a creamy mutton curry Shauna will love.

Serves 4-6

2 pounds Lamb stew or cubed Goat meat 
1 cup Chana Dal
2 Onions
1 teaspoon Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon grated Ginger
3 tablespoons Coriander Chili chutney OR 1 cup Coriander and 3 Green chilies ground              into a paste
20 Mint leaves
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 2"Cinnamon stick
6 Cloves
10 Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder
1 cup Coconut Milk
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Fried Onions and Mint Laeves to garnish

Wash meat and drain well.

Soak chana dal for 4-6 hours. OR place dal in a saucepan cover with water and bring to a boil. Take off the fire and let dal sit for 1 hour.

Cut onion into small dice.

Roughly chop mint leaves.

Place meat, ginger, garlic paste, onions, mint, coriander chilie paste or chutney, salt and oil in a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed saucepan.

Cover with water and bring to a boil. Pressure cook meat for 16 minutes. If you are cooking the meat stovetop, cover meat with a lid, lower flame and let meat cook for 1-1 1/2 hours or till done. Check water level and add more if needed.

Once the pressure cooker has cooled, open lid and place meat on high flame and let the gravy thicken. It should take 15 minutes or so.

Now add coconut milk and lime juice and stir well. Simmer for a few minutes more.

Place cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder and pulse till they are a fine powder. Add cardamon powder to masala and pulse a few times to incorporate. 

Sprinkle this masala over mutton and mix in.

Serve mutton garnished with fried onions and mint leaves.

I wait eagerly for my baby to come home. Traffic confounds her, prolonging the journey. Grey clouds fill the skies outside. But my kitchen shines bright, suffused with the joy and anticipation of our family meal.