It is always pleasing to get back to blogging that too after a long hiatus. Now what could be more gleeful than sharing a recipe of grandeur on your comeback. Here I bring it on the table the recipe of Mutton Biryani, an all time favourite for the Mughlai Khana enthusiasts. If you ask me the “Gharana” of the biryani, I can declare it to be originally Lucknowi which found its proud inheritance in Kolkata since the later part of eighteenth Century. However, for me while admitting its glorious legacy, I find this biryani to be typically Kolkatan, which ignited my love for Mughlai food in childhood that I carry till date. Hope to get your love and affection for this recipe too.
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.
‘Shami Kebab’ is a small patty composed of minced or ground meat mixed with Bengal gram lentils and spices. It is a very popular snack in India and features regularly in Pakistani and Afghan cuisine. In India it is generally prepared with mutton. However one can use any kind of meat like beef, chicken or lamb. Since mutton is unavailable at my current place, I used lamb mince to prepare these kebabs. They act as delicious starters to impress guests. 🙂
Ingredients for 12 pieces :
- Meat mince – 250 gm.
- Bengal gram or chana dal (soaked for 1 hr.) – 50 gm.
- Potato (medium size, cut into halves) – ½
- Onion (small, cut into large cubes) – ½
- Ginger-garlic paste – ½ tbspoon
- Cumin seed – ¼ tbspoon
- Dry red chilli – 3 to 4
- Whole gamar masala (Cinnamon stick – 1″, Clove – 3, Black cardamom – 1/green cardamom – 3 pods)
- Black pepper corn – 6-8
- Salt – ¼ tbspoon
- Chopped onion (medium size) – ½
- Chopped fresh coriander leaves – 2-3 tbspoon
- Chopped green chilli – 1
- Egg – 1
- Water – 1¼ cup
- Cooking oil to fry the kebabs
Take the ingredients from 1 – 10 & 15 in a large pot, mix well and put over gas on medium flame. As water starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid and put the gas on low-medium. Let it cook for 30-35 minutes, stir occasionally so that it doesn’t get brunt from the bottom . When the lentils get cooked and all of water evaporated, put the gas off. Let the mixture come to room temperature.
Now discard whole spices and dry red chillies from the mixture and grind it to a coarse paste.
Add ingredients 11, 12 & 13 to this meat paste and mix well. At this point the mixture remains little soft. Leave the mixture for 30 minutes and you will get the binding consistency.
Then wet your hand with little water and start making ‘Kebabs’ i.e. flat round shaped balls out of the paste. The size of them will depend completely up to you. I made 12 medium size kebabs, you can make larger or even smaller than that.
Beat egg in a bowl and dip the kebabs into it.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium flame and shallow fry the kebabs from both sides evenly until brown.
Serve hot with salad and tomato sauce.
- Make sure all of water evaporates from the meat mixture, otherwise your paste will be too soft and you won’t be able to make kebabs out of that mixture.
- I throw out the whole spices from the mixture before making the paste. However it is not mandatory and you can keep them with the mixture, if you like.
- You can store the kebabs into the refrigerator for one or two days and then fry while needed after defrosting. Keep the kebabs in layers separated by a plastic sheet in an air tight container.
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.