Dal Gosht ~ When The Hubby Cooks

Hello, my lovely readers! What special plans have you made for Easter? Well, since it's a working day here in Dubai we will be having our festive family meal at night as the kids will have school and fixing a mutually convenient time for lunch is not possible. The hubs and I have drawn up a simple list of dishes to cook together and then we aim to spend a quiet time relaxing at home. Pork bafat and some kind of chicken or mutton curry will definitely be on the menu. I am planning to make some sanna to go with it. I am still wondering what to make for dessert. Perhaps I should make the self-saucing rich chocolate pudding that I posted yesterday or maybe I should try a totally new recipe so that if it turns out well I could confidently share it with you guys. What do you think? 

And hey, that reminds me that I still have a nice dessert recipe waiting to be posted. I really hope to squeeze in some time before Saturday to post it, so do come back to check. Okay? 

So coming back to our Easter plans, after our simple meal has been enjoyed we will make our customary calls to wish folks back home. Our families certainly celebrate Easter better than we do. They attend the Easter vigil mass on Saturday evening which is a ceremonial celebration of the Risen Lord. The mass encompasses different liturgical parts including the Service of Light (where the Paschal Candle is ceremoniously lit) and renewal of Christian commitment, Liturgy of the Word (in which nine (or at least seven) readings from the Bible are read instead of three) followed by the Liturgy of  Baptism and Liturgy of the Eucharist. This ceremony usually lasts for two hours or more (depending on how many readings are read) and was so much a part of my growing up years. What wasn't a part of it was the Easter bunny and the whole hullabaloo revolving around the Easter eggs. Without getting into a religious discourse, I will just say that commercialism has got the better of us today and just like Santa has become the face of Christmas, the Easter bunny and eggs bask in the limelight of Easter day. As such, the latter two have nothing to do with Easter but a lot to do with springtime and a tradition borrowed from German folklore where the bunny brings coloured eggs, candy and other goodies to well-behaved children. Eggs and hares (or rabbits) were considered as symbols of fertility and since birds lay eggs and hares give birth to large litters in the early springtime these remained to be symbols of medieval church art and passed down several generations. Pretty interesting, no?

Now that I've shared some gyaan (and learnt so much while reading up on the net) let us proceed to today's recipe which has nothing to do with Easter. I did want to share something Easter specific but in Mangalorean cuisine, we don't have anything that fits the bill. We don't have a customary cake, bread or curry to suit the occasion. Each family has their own preferred dishes to be eaten during the Holy Week followed by a meaty feast on Easter Sunday. Lent in the past strictly demanded men and women of faith to observe frugality and vegetarian meals were opted by everyone who wished to do so. Over the years the focus has been less on what we ate and more on the simplicity of life we lived. 

So here goes - today's recipe is Dal Gosht which essentially means 'Lentil Meat' is a beautiful medley of mutton, lentils and spices cooked together to perfection. This medium spicy curry that goes very well with chapathi or roti has been on the hubby's list of things to make for the longest time ever. A few weeks ago he finally made it and we polished it off with some store bought kuboos (arabic bread) as hunger struck faster than I could roll out chapathis. Since mutton doesn't feature very often on our dinner plates, we like to experiment with different recipes whenever it is brought. While South Indian recipes fare better in our house, occasionally North Indian ones are tried too. Most recipes found on the net make use of a mix of split lentils like masoor dal, tuvar dal and chana dal. We have only used chana dal (bengal gram) as it is the hubby's favourite. Make sure to cook it until tender and not too mushy. 

Dal Gosht
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 30 mins | Serves: 4

1. Cut the mutton into medium sized pieces. Wash and drain. Keep aside.
2. Wash the chana dal in 2-3 changes of water or till the water runs clear. Cook with 2-3 cups of water to which a little salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder has been added. The dal should be tender but not mushy or else it will turn into a paste once you add it to the curry, so take care to keep an eye out as it cooks.
3. In a pressure cooker heat some oil and fry the onions till golden-dark brown (but not black, so take care not to burn them). Drain and set aside. Once cooled they will turn crisp. You may also deep fry the onions to achieve the same result or even use store bought browned onions.
4. Add some more oil to the pressure cooker if required and on medium-low heat, fry the green and black cardamoms, cloves, cumin, cinnamon or cassia bark, bay leaf, peppercorns for a few seconds. Toss in the kasuri methi too for a quick few seconds.
5. Add in the garlic paste, julienned ginger and tomato paste and stir fry. Next, add half the fried onions and chopped tomatoes and fry for half a minute.
6. Toss in the powders - turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander and garam masala and continue to fry on a low heat. Now add the meat and fry for about 3-5 minutes
7. Add the mint leaves, 1-1/2 cups of water and salt to taste. Cover the pressure cooker, place the weight (whistle) and cook until the meat is tender (I normally cook mutton on full heat until the first whistle goes off, then reduce the heat completely and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes. Then let the cooker cool down a bit until the whistle releases easily. Open and check, if the meat is not tender, cover and cook again for another 5 minutes on a low heat till done)
8. Add the pre cooked chana dal, the rest of the fried onions, coriander leaves, green chillies and mix everything. On a medium heat cook until the gravy starts to thicken.
9. Remove from heat, garnish with ginger julienne and slit green chillies (optional). Serve hot with rotis, chapathis, naan or rice