Saturday, June 30, 2012

The First Recipe!

কষানো খাসীর মাংস

Dry Lamb Curry

Dry lamb curry garnished with caramelised onions

I'm a big fan of meat, so I thought I'd make my first post a meat dish. To be honest, I prefer beef over mutton, but we didn't have any at home when we were cooking this. However, the mutton can easily be substituted for beef in this recipe, and I'll write a few words about how to do this at the end. 

I've also titled the dish in Bengali, and put down what I think is an appropriate English translation. I don't like labelling dishes as just curries, because in my opinion it doesn't provide enough of a description. 


  • 1.5 tablespoons of ginger paste
  • 2.0 tablespoons of garlic paste
  • 2.0 tablespoons of onion paste, optional for thicker gravy
  • 1.0 teaspoon of powdered turmeric
  • 2.0 teaspoons of powdered chilli 
  • 2.0 teaspoons of powdered cumin 
  • 1.0 teaspoon of powdered coriander 
  • A few dried bay leaves
  • A few sticks of cinnamon
  • 6 or 7 cardamoms
  • 6 or 7 cloves
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 0.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2.5 medium sized onions
  • 1.5 kg of lamb, diced into cubes
  • 3.0 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • 8 to 10 fresh whole chillies, optional for flavour


  • Fry the onion in oil on medium heat till brown
  • Add the onion paste, ginger paste and garlic paste, mix and continue frying for about 2 minutes
  • Add about half a cup of boiling water to the mixture, stirring it into the spices
  • Add the turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, cloves and salt, stirring to mix as each spice is added
  • Continue cooking the mixture for around 25 to 30 minutes, adding boiling water as needed to prevent it from drying up over the cooking period
  • The cooking time is only provided for guidance: the spices will release a distinct fragrance when they are done and this becomes identifiable with practice

Upper left, browned onions. Upper right, brown onions with spices added.
Lower left, spices being mixed in. Lower right, spice mixture simmering.

  • Add the mutton, stir to mix and smear the spices over the mutton
  • Add the freshly ground black pepper to the pot, stirring to mix it into the mutton
  • Turn the heat up high to make the mixture bubble and heat the mutton quickly
  • After the mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium again and leave the mutton to cook for around 45 minutes or until it is cooked through, uncovered to ensure the pieces of meat remain whole
  • Add a little water when necessary to prevent the dish from completely drying up
  • Mix the yoghurt with a pinch of salt and the 0.5 teaspoons of sugar, and stir into the pot
  • Add the fresh chillies to the pot whole - these are mostly for flavour and colour, and not for spiciness
  • Reduce the heat slightly, cover and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Add a little more black pepper and a few more cardamoms to the dish, stir and let the dish simmer for 2 to 3 minutes before turning off the heat

On the left, the mutton just as it has been added to the spice mixture 
and on the right, the dish after it has finished cooking. Note that the dish was
left with more gravy than is usual.

Additional Notes
Substituting mutton with beef is simple. Use only 1.5 tablespoons of garlic paste for the spice mixture, and cook the beef a little while longer than the mutton before it turns soft and chewy. Traditionally this dish is bulked up with potatoes - add these 15 minutes after having added the meat to the spice mixture.

My most recent attempt at the dish, bulked up with potatoes
& meat on the bone with marrow. Photo from my
Instagram feed.

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