When I was only 4 years old when I visited Kashmir with my parents. But surprising enough I remember quite a lot from the trip actually. The breathtaking views, the biting cold (something that I had never experienced before, since we lived in Rajasthan, the desert state of India.), the way people dressed up, the delicious food and the tension in the air even back then (Kashmir has always been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan).
Well, I recall only pleasant experiences, one of that was our ride in a Shikara – boat ride in the beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar. I still have vivid memories of the snow capped peaks, beautifully dressed men and women and flower sellers on boat, it was so unreal and unimaginably beautiful – a memory that will stay with me all my life. Attaching pictures for reference, Pic Credit: 1) Askideas.com 2) Travel Inn tour and travels
We also visited a beautiful boat house later, where they offered us the most delicious food, a meal which my parents continue to rave about. I was too little to understand the nuances of good food. I do remember, Mutton Rogan Josh was the highlight of that meal.
For all these years, I have been wanting to cook it for my family, and I am glad I did, last Sunday!! And they loved it. Not sure if this recipe is anywhere close to what we had, but definitely reminds me of those beautiful days we spend in Kashmir.
Interestingly Mutton Rogan Josh has two variations, one prepared by the Kashmiri Pandits – without any garlic, onions and tomatoes and the other cooked by the Muslims, with garlic, onions and tomatoes. I tried the latter, plan on trying the other one soon.
Here’s the recipe of probably the most delicious preparation of mutton, cooked until it’s falling off the bones and absorbs all flavors of the freshly ground spices and the rich curry.
Mutton (Goat Meat) 2 lbs
Mustard oil, 2 tbsp
Cinnamon (dal chini), 1 small stick
Black Cardamom (badi elaichi), 2
Cloves (laung), 5-6
Black Peppercorns (kali mirch), 5-6
Green Cardamoms (choti elaichi), 4-5
2 Medium Onions, finely chopped in semi circles (I use a mandolin slicer to get thin rings)
Ginger- garlic paste (about 1 inch ginger and 8-10 cloves of garlic ground into a paste)
Salt, to taste
Asfoetida (heeng) a pinch
Fennel powder (saunf powdered), 1.5 tbsp
Cumin Powder (jeera powder), 1 tbsp
Ginger powder, 1 tsp
Garam masala, 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder, 1.5 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Tomatoes pureed, 1 cup
Water, 4 cups
Heat oil in a wok, add whole spices (cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and green cardamoms), followed by onions, cook until they turn brown, be careful not to burn the onions
Add mutton, saute for 7-8 minutes on medium flame, add salt and cook covered for 5 minutes, take the lid off and add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 5 more minutes
Add the ground spices, asfoetida, fennel, cumin, ginger, kasmiri chilli and red chilli powder, saute for 10 minutes, cover and cook on low,for 10 more minutes
Uncover and add pureed tomatoes, mix well, cover and cook for 10 more minutes
Uncover and add garam masala, stir well, add about 4 cups water, allow it to boil on high, once the water comes to a boil, cover and cook until the meat is tender (tasting is the best way to check for the readiness!!)
Separate the mutton pieces and the curry, pass the curry through a sieve and collect it in a pot, this will ensure a smooth gravy without any whole spices and other residues, now our the gravy onto the mutton pieces, heat and enjoy the rich and deep flavors of slow cooked meat!!
Sometimes goat meat is tough to cook and may take long, do not in any case pressure cook it or put in on high heat, that will only make the texture rubbery, the best method is to add a pinch of sugar and cook on low heat, covered with a lid, until it becomes tender (for me it took 1.5 hours, probably because the butcher did not give us fresh meat). Also cooking on low heat, brings out a nice color and helps the meat absorb the spices.