Mutton ishtew with mother dear

Mallika Basu - Mutton ishtew with mother dear

Posted 9th July 2007

indian-stew.jpgThere are some things that never change. Mother is one of them.

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

4 cloves

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.

19 responses to “Mutton ishtew with mother dear”

  1. Asha says:

    HeHe!! Hope you washed off all the coins he gave you!:D
    Ishtew looks great,I have never visited a butcher before,buy whatever they have in the Deli.
    Enjoy your mom.I know a Punjabi mom who brought 3 big bags Almonds to England from India for her doctor son!;D

  2. sra says:

    The reason I eat v little meat is because I can’t bring myself to go to the butcher.
    Forget bloody change, I’ve seen people marinating meat tasting it off the raw flesh! (As you can guess, I’m not a sushi fan.)

  3. Anita says:

    C’mon girls – nothing like stuff from home 😉 My Dad swears by Indian badam, BTW.

    Ishtew must taste great with the ‘extra’ added!

  4. Wendy says:

    Aren’t mother’s great? 🙂 Will be trying this recipe some day soon.

  5. Maninas says:

    Sounds lovely!

    I’m not too keen on handling raw meat, and try to delegate it to my bf whenever I can… However, I’m getting used to it, though still thinking it over… ouch… there’s a part of me that says i’m being squeamish, and wimpish, but the other part can’t help ‘squeaming’…

  6. Cinnamon says:

    The ishtew looks yummy…. nice photo too….. anything served with an extra dash of mother’s love would always taste wonderful!

  7. This looks great! Nothing like mom’s cooking!

  8. Cooking Chat says:

    mmm, now this sounds good. need to teach my mother to cook like this (afraid that’s not likely though, very Irish in her cooking)

  9. Shilpa says:

    Hi dear, thanks for your comment,

  10. Shilpa says:

    Hi dear, thanks for your comment, and my question is related – have you ever cooked meat in a pressure cooker? I’m wondering if that would make them tenderer faster?

  11. Mallika says:

    Hi Shilpa – YES! Meat gets tender really quickly and easily in the press cooker. The only problem is that it is not as flavoursome because it doesn’t get much time with the masalas.

    I give chicken about 10-15 mins and beef/lamb about 20 minutes for soft meat that just falls off the bone.

  12. Shohini says:

    Enjoy your mum’s company Mallika! It’s so nice to be spoiled and pampered, although I inevitably get a lecture on how poorly my kitchen is set up.
    Your recipe reminds me of my mum’s stew – the best part was getting an early taste in a little steel katori with a side of toast!

  13. Sylvia says:

    I proved two time indian food , one in London and another time in Sao Paulo. In those twice times I found a lot of pepper and it could not feel the pleasure. But, reading your recipes, didn’t see them very spicy .I will try again. And I agree with you, mother is mother in any part of the planet. Luck us is this way,. I loved your blog, beautiful pictures, very elegant and wonderful recipes .My first visit, but for sure not the last

  14. Shilpa says:

    Thanks, girl! Serious?!? Just 20 mins for soft beef?! Oh well, I guess I’ll let the finished dish sit around until the next day before eating it for the masalas to get in! 🙂

  15. Usoshi says:

    hey Mallika,

    This is by far the coolest blog i’ve been to!!!!!!! you really have an amazing sense of humor…
    any wayz i had a very technical question, can you tell me if there is any basic difference in the cooking method/time for goat meat and lamb……. we get both but i’ve only tried goat meat so far……. following the ture bengali tradition!!!! but the problem is that the kind we get here in Toronto(Canada), or at least the halal market we get it from has a terrible “anshte gondho” ….. my mom told me to really fry the meat along with the spices for longer (kosha ) but all it does is waste a lot of time and the raw smell is still there…
    so i was thinking abt trying the lamb for a change……. and maybe even stewing pork!!!!!!


  16. Mallika says:

    Hi Usoshi – thanks so much. I really appreciate your feedback. I don’t use goat meat in England because of the same reason – the smell. But lamb is pretty much the same, a little bit better maybe. I don’t know about you but I enjoy beef and do eat it (yes, yes, bad Hindu!!).

    If I were you I would try lamb out and if the smell is not great, then pork. If you eat beef then you are set.

    Kamon holo ishtew amakey bolo…

  17. Achinta Mandal says:

    Add flour in the recepie is not under the ingredience.

  18. Maunika says:

    You got me at lifetime supply of incense! Indian mother eh! Love this recipe I’ve never added turnips and beet to a stew. But I bet its an ideal winter treat. M x

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