Food Talk

Slow cook this mutton

Resist the temptation to convert dum gosht khada masala, a beautiful blend of gosht khada masala and kate masale ka gosht, into a gravy dish

Slow cook this mutton


Pushpesh Pant

WE have always maintained that home-cooked food is most satisfying. This doesn’t mean that one has to replicate the insipid ‘home style’ curry that is often encountered in restaurants. As a matter of fact, it’s the C-word that makes us see red. The Brits are responsible for the abuse of Tamil word ‘kari’ and using it to label myriad qorma, kaliya, salan, do pyaaza, rogan josh et al and reduce these to the lowest common denominator. But we digress. We are ourselves to blame for following the line of least resistance when it comes to using spices. As a reflex, we reach for powdered, packaged stuff — mass produced from ingredients of different quality. The result is that everything tastes the same. It’s certainly convenient to squeeze out ginger-garlic pastes from a tube or a pouch but in this case also much is lost in ‘translation’ from the original. Lastly, the presence of the pressure cooker in the kitchen has led to extinction of the traditional art of slow cooking. Rarely do we get a chance to treat ourselves to ishtoo, kosha mangsho or dum pukhta. Nor do most of us try our hands at minimalist ‘jungli maas’ or ‘banjara gosht’ that makes do with just salt and chillies.

We have great pleasure in sharing with our readers a recipe that is a beautiful blend of gosht khada masala and kate masale ka gosht. Do not worry too much if you can’t find all the whole spices on the kitchen shelf. A pinch of haldi may be substituted. Ditto for coriander. Don’t be deterred by the cooking time. The dish doesn’t require long preparation or marination and doesn’t have to be supervised constantly. Resist the temptation to convert it into a gravy dish. Be patient, and we will soon share a recipe for a flavourful aromatic tari.



Mutton (shoulder, neck, ribs) 750g

Onions 200g

Garlic cloves 6-8

Ginger 2-inch piece

Bay leaf one

Cinnamon stick 2-inch piece

Cloves 4-5

Brown cardamom 2

Green cardamom 2

Black peppercorns 10

Pipli (optional) 1 piece

Red chillies (whole) 2-3

Green chillies 2

Mace 3-4 blades

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1-1/2 tsp

Turmeric (coarsely pounded) 1-inch piece

Ghee/butter 1/3 cup

Salt to taste


Clean, trim and wash the meat. Wipe dry. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Retain fat.

Peel and slice the onions coarsely, lengthwise. Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Scrape the ginger and cut into not too thin strips or pieces.

Heat ghee or butter in a thick-bottomed pan. Put in the meat pieces. Sear for 30 seconds to seal in the juices, stirring once or twice; don’t brown. Then add the onions, garlic and ginger. Add all other ingredients/spices now. Stir well to mix. Cover with a tight lid. Reduce the flame to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir and sprinkle 1 tbsp of water, if required. Cover and reduce the flame to low. Cook for 45 minutes. Uncover in between after 20 minutes, stir once to scrape the residue from the bottom and sprinkle another tablespoon of water — no more. The dish is done when fat separates and comes to the sides and the meat comes off the bone. Check if it’s done to taste. If you prefer it well done, continue cooking on simmer for another 15 minutes after sprinkling a little (another tbsp) water. Enjoy with phulka, parantha or steamed rice.

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