There are few dishes that can stand on their own. That don’t need a second fiddle, a side, anything else really except the garnishes that accompany it. Biryani is one such dish, but if I am to be honest than my favourite one dish meal is Nihari. With it’s strong spices, beautifully tender meat, the sourness of the lemon, that bright leafy cilantro. If I had a last meal request it would be Nihari.
There are foods that I think of as Paratha foods, the kinds where even the tenderest chapati does not have the same oomph. A good Dum ka Keema, spicy, smoky, heady punctured with the brightness of mint, the boldness of ginger, that just calls for parathas. It is the one dish that I will always eat at a dinner because there is something about this potent combination I find hard to resist. If there are parathas on the table then whose counting helpings. Definitely not me.
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.