There are some foods that have a visceral appeal, where even before you take a bite, every sense of yours knows what to expect. The tender tear of the paratha, the firm delicate swoosh into the masala, a piece of bread picking up heady spiced beef and the gentler cauliflower. You know just how good it will be before you take your first bite. And then when you do it’s tough to stop. In case you cannot tell because I am so subtle, Gobi Gosht is one of those foods for me. I can’t remember if my mother made it (must ask), or when and where I discovered it, but I am undeniably a fan.
There are foods that I think of as seriously desi (south asian) in their flavors, the kind of foods I wouldn’t make for someone who was just trying out Pakistani food. Kharay Masalay ka Gosht is one of them. With it’s heady aromatic spices – the name Khara Masala literally means whole spices – this unassuming dish packs a punch! As those of you who cook regularly from the blog (thank you!) know, I am not a fan of the “garam masala” taste. I love using it in powder form as an accent, but usually keep the whole spices moderate. However, for kharay masalay ka gosht I am willing to make an exception! This aromatic dish goes best with some simple bread, although a little sheermal never hurt anyone 🙂
As the weather becomes nicer I start to really resent making dishes that take hours. I type this after having the last two and a half hours of my life cooking/cleaning. It makes me positively nostalgic for quicker, more flavorful dishes like this Thai Red Curry Beef made with Mae Ploy Curry Paste. Mae Ploy is a Thai brand which sells curry pastes ( on amazon!) that are bigger on flavor than insipid grocery store ones. By the time I am done ‘fixing’ those I often feel that I may as well have made the paste myself! But that runs counter to my whole wanting to spend less time cooking thing. That said, when I first used this paste I found it unpleasantly punchy. However, with some tweaking I have found ratios that work well for me.
Today I am sad. That’s a terrible opening line isn’t it? It’s the wet weather, the kid that I love to bits but is so so clingy, the rooms that don’t stay clean, the blog pictures that aren’t doing justice to the food, the sleep I need to catch up on…and the list goes on.
What am I doing writing a blog post then you ask?
Well, when I am sad and tired and overall cranky I want my mamas food, the flavourful easy to make food I grew up eating and these mirch pasanday hit the spot. The premise is so simple, slow cook beef fillets and onions, stuff some green chillies, lightly fry’em and mix it all in. But the end result…it is almost beautiful in how it tastes. Since there is no actual chilli powder in this dish my kids are happy to eat the meat which makes this a total win. I mean what cranky mama wants to cook two meals at one time?
The green chillies I use for these mirch pasanday are the Pakistani kind that I seem to be able to easily find in stores in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). You can use anything you are comfortable with stuffing, except jalapenos. With their thicker skin they are harder to work with for this purpose. I have even done this dish with the intensely fiery scotch bonnets, but may I suggest that if you use them that you scrape the seeds out first!
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Aalu Gosht is the quintessential Pakistani dish, the kind that doesn’t find it’s way onto many restaurant menus, but is a staple in every home. Be it with Goat meat or Beef, bone in or boneless, every family has their version of aalu gosht and it seems to me that they are all delicious.
My Nanna (maternal grandmother) is the undisputed champion of making aalu gosht. Her salan is light and almost broth like and the flavor is so utterly beautiful that us boneless meat eaters would forgive her those hunks of bones with smallish pieces of meat. I would love to tell you that this is her recipe, but alas it is not. None of her four daughters make this particular salan/curry like she does and I can only hope to crack the code one day. For now I offer you an extremely tasty second: my mothers. Or rather, my version of my mothers, the cooking method is my sister in laws.
I do apologise for the lacklustre photos, this Pakistani version of meat and potatoes isn’t quite ready for it’s close up, but with the cold months upon us it seemed a little selfish not to share the recipe for one of the most comforting dishes of all time.
Aalu gosht aficionados will note that I don’t use whole garam masala i.e. cloves, peppers etc. I find that while the whole spices add a depth to the salan that I don’t really miss them when I go without. If you find you miss it then simply add an inch of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 4-6 whole black peppers and a 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds in with the meat mixture. For those of you with chilli-phobic kids like my older one this dish is easy to edit. Just put less red chilli powder in the beginning, then pull out some meat and curries before adding in the green chillies at the end.