I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Aalu Gosht is the quintessential Pakistani dish, the kind that doesn’t find it’s way onto many restaurant menus, but is a staple in every home. Be it with Goat meat or Beef, bone in or boneless, every family has a version and it seems to me that they are all delicious.
My Nanna (maternal grandmother) is the undisputed champion of making aalu gosht. Her salan is light and almost broth like and the flavor is so utterly beautiful that us boneless meat eaters would forgive her those hunks of bones with smallish pieces of meat. I would love to tell you that this is her recipe, but alas it is not. None of her four daughters make this partiaular salan/curry like she does and I can only hope to crack the code one day. For now I offer you an extremely tasty second: my mothers. Or rather, my version of my mothers, the cooking method is my sister in laws.
I do apologize for the lacklustre photos, this Pakistani version of meat and potatoes isn’t quite ready for it’s close up, but with the cold months upon us it seemed a little selfish not to share the recipe for one of the most comforting dishes of all time.
Aalu gosht aficionados will note that I don’t use whole garam masala i.e. cloves, peppers etc. I find that while the whole spices add a depth to the salan that I don’t really miss them when I go without. If you find you miss it then simply add an inch of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 4-6 whole black peppers and a 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds in with the meat mixture. For those of you with chilli-phobic kids like my older one this dish is easy to edit. Just put less red chilli powder in the beginning, then pull out some meat and curries before adding in the green chillies at the end.
This one’s for me. I know, I know, that sounds terrible. But it is.
It is so hard to cook like someone else, but for people like me who grew up only eating their mothers cooking so much of our sense of what food ought to taste like comes from mama. The other day I had this sudden craving for this dish, but truth is I had never made it before and I have had several versions of it which I do not like very much. So I took a risk, called my mother and this is the recipe she gave me. And it works. Mama Jafri, bless her heart, isn’t necessarily the most accurate recipe relayer – often times when I would complain about how something didn’t turn out well she would say “oohhh… but if you wanted to make it really good then you should have…”
Like on what planet am I aiming to cook mediocre food?
Anyway, points to Mama J on this one.
The reason I say this one is for me is this: I cannot afford to lose it. And if I scribbled it down on a piece of paper somewhere then I most certainly would. Seemed best to put it out in the internet-verse where others can have access to it as well.
Confession: I have been so so homesick for the last few weeks. By homesick I mean homesick for Karachi. I miss my family, I miss the noise, I even miss the smell – and let me tell you Karachi does not smell particularly pretty. I also really miss the food. A lot of how I cook is shaped by how my husband and in laws eat, so there are only a few things that I make with any regularity that bring back memories of lunches and dinners at home. Lunches and dinners that involved extending our table so that we can could seat what was then our family of 7. Lunches and dinners that began with us waiting for my father to come to the table so that we could start eating while we surreptitiously picked at roti or naan. We always ate together; I don’t think I knew there was any other way.
Anday Aalu ka Salan or Egg Curry is one of those dishes that tastes like home. Ironically this recipe is actually not from my mother, but Shanji, my aunt/the big sister I never had. She is the cook behind the biryani recipe here. Shanji has mastered the art of making food from home taste like food from home even when none of the ingredients here taste like they do in Pakistan. I tell you that lady is a genius.
Before we get started, I think it is pretty evident that many of the foods we have made so far are oil heavy. That unfortunately is the nature of the beast. I do recommend, as always, that you drain excess oil off the top when you are done cooking. As your dish cools it will rise to the top and then you can gently tip it out or blot it with paper towels. The frying of the boiled egg – as funny as that sounds – makes this dish a little extra special, but feel free to skip it if you want.
Also I am currently cooking for 5 adults plus my tot so I doubled this recipe which is why it will look like I have a whole lot more masala than you will. However, the amounts of onion, potatoes and tomatoes are representative of this recipe.
You know that whole a rose by any other name stuff? Yeah well that’s how my husband, my mother in law and now even my two year old feel about Chicken Curry. It matters little which variation on the theme it is, the traditional spicy rich korma curry, the plain Jane chicken curry, the tomato-y chicken curry, or kalya a turmeric heavy curry, as far as they are considered it is the food of champions. This is why after spending my childhood successfully avoiding eating it for the most part I finally had to figure it out and I must say I have found a few versions I really like. Here is just one of them.
I like this one particularly much because I am a fan of all things tomato, plus even with the reduced red chillies (I only put in half a teaspoon when cooking for Zara) it still manages to be very flavourful. Also, for a dish with depth it does not take long or require for me to be standing at the stove anxiously the entire time. This recipe is an amalgamation of ones I have found on the internet and tips from one of my aunts. Did I ever tell you that my family is populated by amazing cooks? You would think it would mean I have some kind of natural talent… Anyhow, luckily for us, what I lack there I make up for with good note taking.