July 9, 2007
She arrived in London last week. Complete with three boxes of kasoori methi, 10 bags of savoury snacks and a lifetime supply of incense.
Despite a grand tour of my favourite Indian shop, she still brings me supplies like the global spice trade is about to implode.
And then I have to make that hateful trip to the Halal butcher. Mother crinkles her little nose and heads to the car, leaving me to haggle and watch Mia Sahib chop up the raan (leg of lamb), pack it, hand it to me, take my money and return the change. All using the same hands!!
The best thing about having her here, of course, is that she insists on cooking my all time favourites. And just her presence is enough to bring back memories of the delightful meals we ate at home in Kolkata.
We made mutton ishtew for dinner together. An everyday staple, this is a sublime goat meat and vegetable stew traditionally made to soothe the stomach on difficult days. We cooked it with Mia Sahib’s lamb and a host of veggies.
Steaming hot Basmati rice – essential. Doting mother who lovingly serves it up – optional extra.
This recipe serves 4:
750 gm diced leg of lamb (bones included)
2 medium onions, chopped roughly
1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely
3 large carrots, peeled and halved
2 small turnips, peeled and halved
1 large beetroot, peeled and quartered
2 black cardamoms
2 bay leaves
2 1″ by 1 cm cinnamon sticks
Half tsp black pepper powder
2 tbsp flour
1 large quartered tomato
1 tbsp butter (optional)
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large pot on a high flame. When hot add the whole spices – bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Fry these for a couple of seconds.
When they starts sizzling and releasing their glorious aromas into the kitchen, add the onions and the ginger and fry for five minutes until translucent. Add the flour and mix it well into the onions frying until the whole mixture goes brown.
Now add the lamb and the tomato and mix them into the masalas for two minutes. Now, chuck in all the vegetables, cover with hot water and cook covered on a medium flame until the lamb is tender.
This should take about 45 minutes. The vegetables will start melting into the light curry.
When the meat and vegetables are cooked, sprinkle the pepper, stir in the butter and add salt to finish.