Friday, May 11, 2012

Baked Mutton Curry - DABBA GOSHT

Recipe for the Inimitable Baked Mutton Curry Delicacy

From my Foodie Archives: One of my favourite dishes... 

I love Dabba Gosht.

If you’ve tasted it you know it’s unmatched, unparalleled, unique, inimitable – the ultimate amongst mutton dishes in Indian Cuisine.

It’s a rare, exquisite, delicious, succulent, melt-in-the-mouth boneless mutton delicacy dish and only very few select eateries feature it on their menu.

My Dear Reader, Fellow Foodie, let me tell you how I make it and you will know how it tastes.

I take some good quality fresh boneless mutton, say half a kilo, cut into small pieces, wash it clean, rub it thoroughly with "ginger - garlic - green chilli - green papaya paste" and keep aside to marinate for a while.

I believe that cooking is a qualitative art, not a quantitative science, so I’ll leave the choice of exact proportions to you as per your experience and taste – I like to use a wee bit of green papaya paste as tenderizer for meat, but if you don’t, and your meat is tender, it doesn’t matter.
In a pan, with a tight fitting lid, I take enough water, say two cups, add whole spices [cloves, cardamom – both badi and choti elaichi, cinnamon, peppercorns, jeeratejpatta], salt to taste, and add the marinated boneless mutton pieces, fit the lid tightly, put on a slow fire, till the mutton is cooked.
I love to sample and taste from time to time and assure myself everything is fine... and it helps me plus-minus the ingredients as required.
Now I separate the cooked boneless mutton pieces and keep aside. I don’t throw away the spicy stock – we’ll be using it to prepare the cashew-nut gravy.
Now I prepare a dahi-based thick kaju gravy starting off with a generous amount of pure ghee to nicely sauté the spices, herbs, masalas, liquidized onions, tomato-puree, using the spicy mutton stock, I prepare the rich cashew-nut gravy letting my imagination run riot – whisked curds, whipped cream, roasted onion paste, rich cashew-nut paste [fortified with almond-dry fruit pastes], grated cheese, even grated boiled egg.

Sometimes, if I don’t have all the ingredients to make the gravy thick enough, I may boil very small pieces of macaroni or spaghetti in the spicy mutton stock to smoothen and thicken the gravy.
Don't forget to taste the gravy.

The gravy should be so luxuriant and lip-smacking yummy that you should want to chew your fingers...!
I stir in the fragrantly spiced cooked boneless mutton pieces and thicken the gravy to baking consistency.
Now I thoroughly beat four eggs and delicately blend in half into the boneless mutton gravy till they merge well. 

Now I grease a baking tin with a liberal quantity of pure ghee and then I pour the mélange into the greased baking tin. 

Then I pour a generous dollop of ghee on top of the yummy thick ready to bake mixture and bake on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes till almost done.

Then, on top, I pour the remaining whisked egg mixture, add a dollop of pure ghee and complete the baking process till the dish is glazy and crusty. When ready, I garnish with fresh green coriander, thin ginger slices and juicy red tomato slices and the Dabba Gosht is ready to be devoured.

Dabba Gosht tastes superb with freshly baked pav or soft piping hot roti.
Dear Reader, you must have your own culinary discovery, but let me tell you that I find Dabba Gosht a superb eating experience – generous boneless mutton pieces, soft, juicy, succulent, releasing scrumptious flavor as they melt in my mouth and the yummy, delectable luxuriously thick white gravy made rich, wholesome and nutritious by the sumptuous combination of ingredients like cashew (kaju) paste, fresh cream and eggs.

It is a rare and magnificent eating experience which makes my mouth water even as I write this.

Dabba Gosht is a supreme feast fit for the kings...!

Next time you eat out, scan the menu for Dabba Gosht. It is a Mumbai speciality and you’ll surely find it at a few select places in Mumbai like Noorani, Delhi Darbar et al. My personal favourite in the Dabba Gosht at Noorani near Haji Ali on Tardeo Road.

I have once savored an excellent Dabba Gosht at Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar near Metro where I think they don’t bake it but “dum” cook it, leaving the gravy a bit less thick, so you can enjoy it with roti – it was delicious with kameeri roti.

I’ve also chanced upon a decent Dabba Gosht at Sadanand in Pune, located opposite Balewadi, at the junction of Baner Road and Katraj Bypass, and I found it excellent.
Wherever you are, search for Dabba Gosht, or cook the exquisite dish yourself. It is best to bake it as I have explained in the recipe, but if you prefer you may dum cook it. 

Remember to enrich it, play around with the ingredients, improvising, experimenting, improving the recipe, and then relish it to your heart’s content.

And don’t forget to tell us all about your Dabba Gosht cooking and eating experience ... ! 

Dear Fellow Foodie...have you wondered why this dish is called DABBA Gosht. 

Dabba means ‘tin’ and Gosht means ‘meat’ – does this imply that Dabba Gosht is mutton cooked in a tin ...? 

Yes, we baked the dish in a baking tin, isn't it...?

Wait a minute. There is another explanation too. 

Dabba, pronounced differently, also means ‘press’.   

I’ve heard a theory, maybe apocryphal, that the dish is called Dabba Gosht because the boneless meat pieces are pressed against a special stone to enable the marinade and masalas to permeate thoroughly and make the boneless mutton pieces truly delicious, succulent and melt-in-the-mouth.

Well, whatever the version, the fact is that Dabba Gosht is mouthwateringly lip-smackingly delicious ... !!! 

Do try out the recipe and tell us how you liked it.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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