Saag Gosht: A Recipe from the Diwans of Multan


Imagine going to work on a plate of saag gosht with rotis made from wheat straight from the fields of Punjab (Pic source: Wikimedia Commons)

Palak e gosht ke aamayzish ki khoobi. Swaad kee aashiq hee jaante hain!

It’s time to pull a precautionary shawl, pick a basket, head to the markets, and forage like a forefather for some greens. Specifically palak (spinach). This recipe calls for some fresh spinach that combines excellently with mutton.

Saag Gosht is a favourite of the aristocrats—in fact this specific recipe has been sourced from the kitchens of Diwani Manzil, ancestoral residence of the the Diwans of Multan, successors of whom now make a home in India.

Saag—a catchall for all edible leafy greens— also caught the fancy of Abul Fazl—Akbar’s minister and author of Ain-i-Akbari, who described a simple masala saag preparation as “one of the most pleasant dishes“.

The present season calls for lean fortification which Saag Gosht serves up magnificently. Palak in cahoots with mutton is stunning, healthy, and irresistible. You’ll need to prepare mutton stock and buttermilk ahead of time, so you have only have to reach out for them in the main prep. Make sure you have a stack of piping hot rotis / naans / kulchas, and friends ready to go to town on the spread.

Number of portions: 4
Tools: Heavy bottom pan, lid, slicer
Plate: Curry bowl
Sensitivity note: Greens should not discolor
Ingredients Quantity
Mutton shanks and chop 1 kg
Onions 3 no, medium
Buttermilk 2 cups
Cold pressed mustard oil 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste 3 tbsp
Bayleaf 3 no
Big cardamom 4 no
Green cardamom 5 no
Cinnamon stick 2 no
Methi Dana ½ tsp
Salt To taste
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Yellow chilli powder 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 3 tbsp
Garam masala powder 1 tsp
Spinach, chopped 3 cup
Spring Onion, chopped 2 cups
Turnip leaves, chopped 3 tbsp
Coriander leaves, chopped ½ cup
Kasoori methi 1 tbsp
Mutton Stock 3 cups
Shredded spinach 2 tbsp
Red chilli whole 4 nos

Preparation of main dish
1. Slice the onions evenly and divide into half. Transfer the half of the sliced onions in a bowl and keep aside. Puree the remaining half and transfer to another bowl. Keep aside.
2. Now heat oil in a heavy bottom handi, add in bay leaf, big and green cardamom, and cinnamon. Saute over medium heat till they begin to crackle.
3. Add in the sliced onions and saute till brown in colour. Pour in ginger garlic paste and saute further.
4. Add in the prime cuts of mutton and saute over medium heat till all the moisture evaporates.
5. Sprinkle in salt, red chilli powder and yellow chilli powder. Saute till the oil leaves the side of the pan.
6. Pour in the raw onion paste kept aside to the handi along with buttermilk and bhuno for 5 minutes.
7. Sprinkle in coriander powder and saute further.
8. Add in chopped spinach, spring onion, turnip leaves, coriander leaves followed by flavourful and aromatic mutton stock.
9. Season with garam masala powder and simmer covered on dum at low heat till mutton is cooked.Finish with kasoori methi.
10. Now heat cold pressed mustard oil in another pan. Allow it to smoke to remove the raw flavor of the oil. Add the methi dana and allow it to crackle till dark brown in colour.Strain off the methi danas and reserve the methi flavoured mustard oil.Keep aside.
11. In the same pan, smoke some more mustard oil. Deep fry the red chilli whole and keep aside for garnish. Similarly deep fry the shredded spinach till crisp for garnish. Drain on an absorbent paper towel.
12. Check the consistency of the saag meat. It should be semi dry.
13. Remove to a bowl. Finish with a drizzle of methi flavoured mustard oil , fried red chilli and shredded spinach crisps.
14. Serve hot with indian breads or pulao.

Mutton Stock
Amount: 5 lt
Tools: Stock pot
Sensitivity note: Should not be cloudy
Ingredients Quantity
Mutton trotters & leg bones 5 kg
Water 10 lt
Bayleaf 20 nos
Onions 5 nos, medium
Garlic cloves ½ cup
Ginger (2”) 2 nos
Green cardamom 5 nos
Oil 1 cup

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.

Amount: 1 lt
Tools: Blender
Sensitivity note: Should not be over-churned
Ingredients Quantity
Curd 4 cups
Water 4 cups
Salt To taste

Preparation of buttermilk
1. Measure out the curd and transfer to a blender.
2. Add in water and sprinkle in some salt as per taste.
3. Blend well and store chilled in refrigerator.
4. Do not overchurn the buttermilk.