Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dabba Gosht – Baked Mutton Curry – Recipe and Food “Gyan”

Whenever you go to a restaurant – it is best to have the “Signature Dish of the restaurant. 

My Foodie Friends had told me that Marrakesh Restaurant (Balewadi High Street Pune) was famous for Shawarma, Falafel and Rolls. 

The menu of Marrakesh Restaurant highlights Indian and Lebanese Food. 

Why is a restaurant famous for Lebanese Food named Marrakesh...? 

I do not know.

Because – Marrakesh is a city in Morocco. 

Yes Marrakesh (also spelt Marrakech) – is a historic city in Morocco. 

So – why a Lebanese Cuisine restaurant is called Marrakesh – that – you will have to ask the owners. 

But – like I told you earlier – Marrakesh restaurant in Balewadi High Street is famous for Lebanese Food – Shawarma, Falafel and Rolls.

In fact – most of the foodies in the restaurant were eating Rolls. 

So – I should have ordered a Shawarma Roll. 

But – I browsed through the menu – and – I was delighted to see Dabba Gosht on the menu. 

Now – Dear Reader – one of the quintessential Mumbai Food Delicacies that I miss in Pune is DABBA GOSHT 

So – instead of ordering Shawarma (the signature dish) as I normally would have done – I decided to be a bit adventurous – and – I ordered Dabba Gosht” 

I wish I had played safe and followed my dictum of ordering the “Signature Dish of a restaurant – because – the Dabba Gosht was most disappointing.  

Now  DABBA GOSHT is supposed to be a Baked Dish.  

What was put in front of me was a spicy mutton gravy with a soft fried egg on top masquerading as Dabba Gosht (see pictures below) 

Dabba Gosht” Served
Dabba Gosht” Ready to Eat
Well – I may be wrong – and – maybe – this may be the version of “Dabba Gosht” popular in Pune – but – like I said – according to me  “Dabba Gosht” is a baked mutton curry – like the quintessential Mumbai “Dabba Gosht” I used to relish during my Mumbai days.

So – let me dig deep into my Foodie Writing Archives  and pull out for this Dabba Gosht recipe I had posted on my blogs long back – more than 12 years ago.

This recipe for Dabba Gosht also features in my Foodie Book APPETITE FOR A STROLL 

But – before you read my experimental recipe for “Dabba Gosht” – let me tell you that I also saw another of my favourite quintessential Mumbai Food Delicacies “Nalli Nihari” on the menu of Marrakesh. 

But after today’s experience – the next time I visit Marrakesh – I will stick to its signature Shawarma Rolls...

Dear Reader – here is my recipe for Dabba Gosht...

Recipe and Food “Gyan”

From my Foodie Archives: One of my favourite dishes  Dabba Gosht

I love Dabba Gosht” 

If you have tasted 
Dabba Gosht  you will 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 Dabba Gosht  and – you will know how it tastes.


STEP 1 : Cook the Mutton
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 do not 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 two cups of water

To the water  I add whole spices (clovescardamom – both badi elaichi and choti elaichi – cinnamonpeppercornsjeeratejpatta) and salt to taste.

Then – add the marinated boneless mutton pieces  fit the lid tightly  put on a slow fire  till the mutton is cooked – yes – cover and cook the mutton – but keep and eye on the dish as it cooks.

Please note – I have not added any oil so far – I have added only water – spices  and then – I have added 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. 

If required – you can add some water  if you notice the mutton sticking to the pan.
Once the mutton is nicely cooked and succulent  I separate the cooked boneless mutton pieces and keep them aside. 

I do not throw away the spicy mutton stock – but I strain the stock to remove any solid spice pieces.

We will be use the strained spicy mutton stock to prepare the cashew-nut gravy

STEP 2 : Make the Gravy
Now  I prepare a dahi-based thick kaju gravy (yoghurt based cashewnut gravy) 

I start 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 gravyletting 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 do not 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 must do too – do not forget to taste the gravy.

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

Once the gravy is ready  stir in the fragrant spiced cooked boneless mutton pieces – and I thicken the gravy to baking consistency

Once the Mutton Gravy is ready – we will take it off the fire – and complete the final step in the preparation of Dabba Gosht” – we will bake the Dabba Gosht

STEP 3 : Bake the Dish
I thoroughly beat Four Eggs

Then  I delicately blend in half of the the beaten egg mixture into the boneless mutton gravy – till the beaten fluffy eggs and gravy have merged well into a smooth mélange

Now  I grease a baking tin with a liberal quantity of pure ghee

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 .

Now – I put the baking tin in the pre-heated oven  and bake the dish on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes till almost done.

When the Dabba Gosht is almost done – I open the oven – pull out the baking tin with the almost done Dabba Gosht – and  on top of the baked mélange  I pour the remaining whisked egg mixture  and I add a dollop of pure ghee 

Then – I put the almost done Dabba Gosht back into the oven – close the oven  and I complete the baking process till the dish is glazed and crusty

When ready  I pull out the baked Dabba Gosht” out of the oven  garnish with fresh green coriander, thin ginger slices and juicy red tomato slices 

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 flavour – 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

Dabba Gosht is a Mumbai speciality – and you will surely find Dabba Gosht at a few select places in Mumbai like Noorani, Delhi Darbar, George (Fort) et al

My personal favourite is 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 they “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 – and today – at Marrakesh in Balewadi High Street – but the Pune Style Dabba Gosht were not baked.
Wherever you are  search for Dabba Gosht  or cook/bake the exquisite dish yourself. 

It is best to bake Dabba Gosht 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.

 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 


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. 

And – if you find Dabba Gosht on the menu of any restaurant – do try it out – and let us know how you liked it.

Happy Cooking – Happy Baking – and – Happy Eating.

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1. This recipe is based on my improvisation. You are requested to do your own 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 stories 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 12 years ago  and it features in my foodie book APPETITE FOR A STROLL. 

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