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Meaty memories

  • Published at 04:33 pm August 6th, 2019
JAP Mutton
Photo: Ting Tian

Heirloom recipes, simplified

My Dadi was a notoriously terrible cook, God bless her soul. We’d beg her not to cook. My Nani on the other hand, is an amazing chef, and so is my mother. I may not have inherited a lot of jewellery, but what I got handed was a gift that keeps giving: priceless recipes from my Nani and a grand aunt on my dad’s side, which are timeless crowd-pleasers.

Given that Eid ul Adha brings together families over meat-heavy meals, I’m sharing some family heirlooms with Turtleboo’s lazy twist to make them easier to make at home.

Fenu To the Greek beef:

What you’ll needPhoto: Eiliv Sonas Aceron

1 kg good quality beef with bones and fat  

5-6 medium sized shallots, sliced

1½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp red chili powder

1½ tbsp cumin ( toasted and powdered)

1 teaspoon of fenugreek 

4 bay leaves

1-3 cloves

1-3 cardamom 

2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste

1 whole medium size lime, juiced

Alu bukhara (A few for the recipe and a few to enjoy snacking on while you cook- ensure you wash them well since they have sometimes have sand)

2 cups of caramelized onion

½ cup oil 

Ghee and salt to taste 

Mix everything well and heat up the non-stick pan and leave the meat well covered in medium heat. Some may be tempted to put this in a pressure cooker but trust me, the results are different. You want to wait for the meat to turn a glazy glamourous dark brown. Slow cook the meat till tender. Resist the temptation to add water at this stage. Every once in a while, stir the meat so that it doesn’t stick to the pot. Reduce heat if required. 

The meat will automatically be tender, eventually releasing all the water. If you still think it requires a little water at the end, add a few tablespoons. The oil and the spices will separate. At this stage, taste test for salt and cumin, and add more if you prefer it salty.  I usually sprinkle some toasted cumin powder on top right before serving . When the meat is tender drizzle ghee and add a few green chilies. 

Serve with pulao, white rice or even naan. Or, if you are like me, pop a few pieces in your mouth from the pot in the name of taste testing it.  

J A P Mutton

Dadi (my great aunt) always prefaces this dish with the phrase “Jokhon ami Pakistane”, and that’s how we came to call it JAP khashi.

What you’ll need

Leg of mutton

4-5 tbsp garlic paste  

Salt to taste

5-6 medium-sized tomatoes, cut in chunks,

A few green chilies

A pinch of whole cumin seeds, toasted


Mix the garlic paste and salt and slather liberally over the mutton leg. In a big pot add enough water that eventually will dry out during boiling, making the leg tender. Slow Cook the leg until all the water dries out and add the tomatoes and green chilies, and stir well.

The tomatoes should melt and the skin of the tomatoes should be stringy. The meat should be tender and falling off the bone.

Before serving, add the whole cumin on top and drizzle some ghee to make it richer. 

Best served with warm naan.

Boro Nani's Ribbon Curry 

What you’ll need:

1 kg beef, cut against grain into 1/2 inch strips - flattened with tenderizer until they resemble ribbons

For marinade:

1 cup strained yoghurt

2 tbsp garlic and ginger
Photo: Bigstock

2 tbsp onion paste

Salt to taste

2 tbsp unripe papaya paste

Marinate the meat and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oil in a pan and add marinated meat in it. Cook it in medium-high heat. 

Cut extra shallots in chunks and fry in a separate pan until light brown, and then add to the meat.

Keep stirring and some whole black pepper.

Cook until meat is tender and the oil separates.

Before taking it off the heat, add more shallots in chunks and green chilies, and cover.

The steam will half cook the raw shallots and chilies.

Serve with naan or pulao.