I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Aaloo 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 aaloo 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.
Aaloo 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.
The quintessential Pakistani meat and potato curry
- 1 lb boneless beef chunks or upto 2lbs bone in meat (use your discretion here)
- 2 roughly diced medium onions
- 1 heaped spoon crushed garlic
- 1 heaped spoon crushed ginger
- 1 - 2 tsp red chilli powder
- ⅓ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 ½ tsp salt can adjust later
- 2 to matoes finely diced
- 2 potatos halved lengthwise and cut horizontally into wedges
- ½ tsp garam masala powder or black pepper
- handful of cilantro
- green chillies diced to taste
- a squeeze of lemon juice
Put the beef chunks, onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, and salt into a pot with two cups of very hot water. Mix.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring the mixture to a boil, once it is boiling then bring it to a simmer and let it cook (covered) for 45 minutes to an hour or however long it takes for your beef to get tender. Instant Pot: Manual 20 minutes then quick release
Once the beef is tender, then crank up the heat to evaporate the water and once the spice paste/masala starts to stick add a generous lug of oil and saute the masala until the oil rises above it’s surface.
Then in go the tomatoes, cook until the oil rises above the surface of the masala.
Now add in your cup of water, the potato wedges and once again bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Now add more water if needed and the garam masala, cook for two minutes and adjust seasoning.
Switch off the stove and add some bright fresh cilantro and green chillies - you can leave these whole, slice them lengthwise or finely chop them. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and dig in with some chapati (flatbread) or naan.
Classically you would saute the onions, ginger, garlic first in a little oil. Then you'd add the spices, cook for a minute and add the meat cubes to brown them a little before tenderizing the meat. This produces better flavour but it requires more time.