It was distinguished enough to be deemed a worthy volume pairing for meat in Wajid Ali Shah’s royal kitchen-in-exile. With such patronage, the potato gained fast following among gourmands in the erstwhile Nawab’s city of refuge. Yet, Indians had and continue to have a good number of other starchy produce to choose from. Long before and well after the arrival of Solanum tuberosum, we tucked into sweet potatoes, yam, arvi, and a diverse array of other tubers and root vegetables.
Then, early in the 17th Century, the potato made landfall in Surat courtesy a Portugese ship. Batata Suratta was how the tuber would be called in Goa. In just a few decades, the South American import began to be cultivated in Karnataka, with the British and Dutch championing it in other areas of the country, and on occasion gifting it to each other.
Wajid Ali Shah’s cooks proved the genius pairing of potatoes and meat in Awadhi biriyani. But they were by no means the first. In the 17th Century, in the last mushaira of the Mughals, cooks in the court of Shahjahanabad struck upon a meticulous pairing of potatoes and goat’s meat that suspended time and cast a spell. Aloo gosht is still made, but only a few are equal to a feat that demands dedicated insight into flavours and textures. Here, we pull the sheet off the ingredients and processes and invite you to the test and the inevitable taste to follow.
The imagination of this recipe, perfected by a team of hobby chefs, goes to the incomparable SSH Rehman — the guru of Indian fine dining. He recommends serving this dish in the piyala, with a generous stack of warm Hyderabadi kulchas by the side to soak in and deliver the full splendour of the aloo gosht.
|Mutton curry cut||2 kg|
|Peeled baby potato||1 kg|
|Full fat yogurt||6 cups|
|Cold pressed oil||4 cups|
|Ginger garlic paste||¾ cup|
|Bay leaf||4 no|
|Big cardamom||4 no|
|Green cardamom||6 no|
|Coriander (dhania) leaves (chopped)||50 g / 1 cup|
|Brown onions||6 cups|
|Freshly ground black pepper||2 tbsp|
|Green cardamom powder||4 tbsp|
|Coriander powder||2 pinches|
|Kewra water||5 drops|
|Desi ghee||3 tbsp|
|Mutton stock*||5 cups|
|Mutton bones||5 kg|
|Whole black pepper||20 nos|
|Coriander root||¾ cup|
|Bay leaf||4 no|
|Big cardamom||20 nos|
|Onions||5 nos, medium|
|Garlic cloves||½ cup|
|Ginger (2”)||2 nos|
|Green cardamom||5 nos|
Preparation of mutton stock
1. Blanch the bones and immediately shock in cold water.
2. Heat oil in a stock pot.
3. Add in onions, garlic, ginger, coriander root along with black pepper, bayleaf, green cardamom. Saute.
4. Pour in cold water. Allow to come to a boil.
5. Remove all the scum and put the flame on slow.
6. Cook for 6-8 hours till reduced to half.
7. Strain through a muslin cloth.
8. Store the stock refrigerated.
Preparation of main dish
1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom handi, add in bay leaf, big and green cardamom, javithri, cloves and cinnamon. Saute over medium heat till they begin to crackle.
2. Add in brown onions and saute till the moisture has evaporated.
3. Then add in the mutton chunks and saute till the mutton turns brown.
4. Sprinkle in salt, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Stir.
5. Pour in the beaten full fat yoghurt to the handi and bhuno for 5 minutes.
6. Add mutton stock, cover and simmer, stirring continuously, until mutton is 50% cooked.
7. Add in the baby potatoes, ground black pepper, green cardamom powder, cover and
simmer for approx 20 minutes.
8. Adjust the seasoning and finish with a sprinkle of kewra water.
9. Remove to a bowl. Finish with a dollop of ghee.
10. Serve hot with indian breads or pulao. SSH Rehman recommends serving this dish in the piyala, with a generous stack of warm Hyderabadi kulchas by the side to soak in and deliver the full splendour of the aloo gosht.