Ghugni is quite a popular street food in Kolkata which finds a resonance with my childhood and growing up in the city. I still have a vivid memory of the street hawkers carrying a large bowl of ghugni on the flame, roamed around the streets in the evening, calling for the buyers with a signature yell. Ghugni used to be a lucrative tiffin snack at the school gates with a piece of bread too. For those who had never heard about it, Ghugni is actually a spicy curry prepared with dried yellow peas which is known as ‘ghugnir mator’ in Bengali. Pretty riveting in the tongue, Ghugni remains still a favourite and I use the following space to describe its recipe although slightly in a different mould. Here I will add Mutton keema in the Ghugni which makes it even more compelling for the non-vegetarians. Must admit although that is not my innovation at all. In fact ‘keema ghugni’ or ‘mangsher ghugni’ is also immensely popular in Bengal. Happy cooking.
Among all the meat curries, ‘rezala’ caste an enchanting spell on me, that is hardly going to wither away with time. Not entirely sure of its origin rezala is crazily popular in Eastern India. It actually is a white creamy meat curry, attaining the colour due to the ingredients such as yogurt, cashew nut and poppy seed paste. When the pieces of mutton gets dipped into the gravy, it is pure aesthetic. The patches of fat coming with the meat floats on the gravy and makes it so tasty that it is not a crime to sip it just like chorba, the mughlai stew. Rezala goes down so very well with biryani but one can have it with roti or paratha also. However it takes its share of time to prepare and one needs to keep the patience which is worthy to say the least.
“Mutton Chanb” is one of the most lucrative Mughlai foods, I have ever came across with. Perhaps I mentioned earlier that Kolkatans are crazy about Mughlai cuisine and one can find a number of traditional mughlai restaurants over the city. Whenever I get into any of these restaurants, the order is not complete without the famous “Mutton Chanb”. This dish is prepared with goat ribs cooked slowly with various spices, however I used lamb ribs here. The essence of Rose and Kewra water adds an exquisite aroma in the food which spreads all over and everyone knows that you are preparing something very special. In fact it is a rich preparation and not a-everyday-dish which you can make once in a while for some special occasion.
Pasanda is a Mughlai dish of meat in rich gravy. Raw meat, coated with yogurt and few spice seasonings, cooks itself in ‘dum’ i.e. in a closed vessel on low heat. The meat could be any of mutton, beef or chicken. And whenever almond nuts are used in the preparation; it is called ‘Badam Pasanda’.
As a Bengali I just love to eat any preparation of mutton. Here goat meat is generally known to us as Mutton. But unfortunately I don’t find goat meat here in Europe, so as an alternative, have to be content with Lamb meat. In fact this time I prepared the dish with lamb meat, which otherwise can well be replaced with mutton or chicken, following the same recipe.
As we all know “Mughlai food” is pretty rich in content, one should not have it just regularly. However during festive season, we can let our daily food habit break loose and compromise a bit. So we can enjoy ‘Mutton Badam Pasanda’ at our home during Durga Puja and perhaps either ‘saptami’ or ‘nabami’ would be ideal for it. 🙂
Ingredients to serve 4 :
- Boneless pieces of mutton – 400 gm.
- Garlic paste – 1 tbspoon
- Brown onion or Beresta out of 1 medium size onion
- Plain yogurt – 250gm.
- Melted Ghee/Clarified Butter – 3½ tbspoon
- Red chilli powder – 1½ teaspoon (adjust according to your taste)
- Black pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin powder – ½ tbspoon
- Sugar – 1 teaspoon
- Clove – 2-3
- Cardamom – 2-3 pods
- Garam masala powder – ½ teaspoon
- Almond flake/slice – 2 tbspoon + extra for garnishing
- Salt to taste
Mix together the meat, garlic paste, yogurt, chilli powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, sugar, cloves, cardamom and ghee in a kadai or heavy bottomed frying pan.
Put the kadai on gas over very low flame and cover it with a lid. Let the meat cook on ‘dum’ i.e. in air tight condition on low heat. There is no need to add water, the meat will cook by yogurt, ghee and the water released by itself.
Grind the brown onion into a fine dust.
As the meat gets cooked (it took more than one hour for me) add brown onion powder, garam masala powder, almond flakes and salt. Give it a good stir and again let it cook for another 4-5 minutes putting the lid of the pan.
Now transfer the meat in a serving bowl and garnish with almond flakes.
It will be best served with ‘rumali roti’ (the thinnest bread in the world) in my opinion. But making ‘rumali roti’ is not the easiest task and I didn’t try it at home yet. So I served mutton badam pasanda with Misti Pulao. It will be equally enjoyable with roti, paratha or puri.
- You can use whole almonds instead of flakes. Just peel and boil the almonds before using. I have almond flakes in my stock so I used that.
- Mutton takes time to get cooked. In order to cook it faster marinate it with green papaya paste overnight. Green papaya paste works as a natural meat tenderizer.
Mutton curry over Sunday lunch is the dearest thing on earth for the Bengali. It features right on top of their list of coveted foods for years. However, outside India, mutton is not the easiest meat to get and one has no choice but to replace it by lamb while following the same recipe. Here I am sharing the traditional mutton recipe which my mother used to follow, that I watched while growing up and still vivid in memory.
Ingredients to serve 4 to 5 :
- Lamb (cut into medium size pieces) – 500 gm.
- Potato (medium size) – 4
- Finely chopped tomato (large) – ½
- Onion (large) – 2
- Garlic – 2 to 3 big cloves
- Ginger paste – 1 teaspoon
- Plain yogurt – 2 tbspoon
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Garam masala powder – ½ teaspoon
- Nutmeg powder – ½ teaspoon
- Whole garam masala
- Mace or Javitri – ¼ teaspoon
- Bay leaf – 2
- Salt to taste
- Cooking oil (preferably mustard oil)
Marinate the meat with salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder, nutmeg powder, bay leaves, tomato, yogurt, ginger paste and 1½ tbspoon of oil for at least 2 hours (for best result marinate it overnight).
Peel the skin of the potatoes and cut them each into 2 halves. Finely slice the onions and crush the garlic. Take the whole garam masala as shown in the picture below or look for the ingredients of garam masala under “Useful Supplementary” tab.
Slightly fry the potatoes with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder.
Heat 2 tbspoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add mace, whole garam masala spices and saute them till nice aroma comes out. Then add crushed garlic and fry till light brown. Throw the onions into it and fry till it becomes brown. Now add the marinated lamb and cook very well until oil comes out from the mixture, add the half fried potatoes in mid way. Now pour water as needed, also add salt if needed. Let the mixture boil. Now cover it with the lid on and cook over medium heat till the meat becomes tender. Lamb takes longer time to cook, often more than one and half hour, so keep patience. After the wait, long but worthy, you are ready to serve the delicious lamb curry. Serve it with rice or chapati.
Note : I follow the same recipe with chicken. You can do as well. 🙂