Wednesday, March 25, 2015


This morning, I was discussing with a fellow foodie some of the quintessential Mumbai dishes.

I mentioned DABBA GOSHT

She wanted to know more about it.

So, let me dig deep into my Foodie Writing Archives, and pull out for her, and you, this Dabba Gosht recipe I had posted long back, more than 10 years ago, and which features in my Foodie Book APPETITE FOR A STROLL.

Recipe for the Inimitable Baked Mutton Curry Delicacy

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

I love Dabba Gosht.

If you have tasted it you know that it is 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 will 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 want to use raw papaya  and if your meat is very tender – then it just does not 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, peppercornsjeeratejpatta], salt to taste.

Then I add the marinated boneless mutton pieces  fit the lid tightly  put on a slow fire  till the mutton is cooked.

Please note – I have not added any oil so far (only water, then the spices and then the marinated mutton).
I love to sample and taste from time to time and assure myself everything is fine – tasting always helps me plus-minus the ingredients as required.
Now  I separate the cooked boneless mutton pieces and keep them aside. 

I do not throw away the spicy mutton stock – we will 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.

Then I add the spicy mutton stock and  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 eggs.

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.
I always keep tasting the gravy  so you too do not forget to taste the gravy.

The gravy should be so luxuriant and lip-smacking yummy that you should want to chew your fingers.

Once the gravy is ready – I stir in the fragrantly spiced cooked boneless mutton pieces and thicken the gravy to baking consistency.
I thoroughly beat four eggs and delicately blend in half the beaten egg mixture 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.

When the dish is almost done – on top of the baked melange  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 rotis served hot.
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 will 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 – yes - the Dabba Gosht tasted delicious with Khameeri Roti.

I have also chanced upon a decent Dabba Gosht at Sadanand Restaurant in Pune 
 located opposite Balewadi  at the junction of Baner Road and Katraj Bypass  and I found the Dabba Gosht 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 the dish  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’ 

Gosht means ‘MEAT’

So  does this imply that Dabba Gosht is mutton cooked in a tin ...? 

Yes  we baked the dish in a baking tin – isnt it...?

Wait a minute. 

There is another explanation too. 

Dabba, pronounced differently, also means ‘PRESS’.   

I have 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 of the origins of its name  the fact is that Dabba Gosht is mouthwateringly lip-smackingly delicious. 

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

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1. This recipe is based on my improvisation. You are requested to do due diligence and use ingredients/cooking method as per your discretion/style.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

I wrote this recipe long back around 10 years ago, and it features in my foodie book APPETITE FOR A STROLL,  and I have also posted the recipe online in his foodie blogs at urls:  and

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