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Balti Mutton or Lamb Curry Khada Masala 1
Balti Gosht Khada Masala 1

Shagufta Shahin

I first tasted this dish on holiday in Pakistan. We had travelled to Murree and then taken a little coach ride to Ayubia, which is a remote town further up the mountains. These are the foothills of the Himalayas, also known as the Switzerland of Asia! We told the cook that we were going for a walk up the mountains and would be back in an hour. Could he make us something filling and tasty. He looked at us as if to say "shouldn't everything be .....?" Anyway we had a delicious and memorable meal and it gives me great pleasure to be able to pass this on to others to savour! The list of ingredients looks long but it is an easy to cook dish, the actual cooking time is perhaps 15-20 minutes. These amounts should be enough for 4/5 people.

The words Khada masala mean 'whole spice'. Some people say it means 'un-fried or raw' spices.

This dish is suitable for cooking in a slow cooker or crock pot.

Note: This dish is ideal for a slow cooker. Just put everything in and cook on high until it comes to boil and then leave to cook on medium or slow for 6-8 hours.

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Ingredients

1 kg. good quality mutton or lamb leg or shoulder meat, cut into cubes. Ask your butcher to cut it for you, leaving the bones in. Other meats can also be cooked in the same way.
2 medium sized onions (300 gm. total), peeled and coarsely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, whole or roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped/grated
1 1/2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste
1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
2 tsp. coarsely ground coriander seeds or coriander powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coarsely ground cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds or kalonji/kalaunji (nigella sativa)
5-6 whole cloves (laung or lavang)
6-8 whole black peppers (kali mirch)
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large sized tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 heaped tbsp. tomato purée (optional)
3 green chillies, slit lengthways
3-4 sprigs of fresh garden mint, washed and chopped (or 1 tbsp. dry mint leaves)
2 tbsp. dry fenugreek leaves – methi (optional)
A handful of fresh green coriander leaves

Instructions

1.Put all of the above ingredients, except the last five, in a large, heavy based saucepan that has a tight fitting lid, to seal all the moisture/steam.
2.Add only 1/2 cup water, as the onions and meat will release water. If not, you can always add some towards the end.
3.Bring to boil. Leave to cook gently (simmer) for around 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Poorer the quality of meat, longer it takes to cook.
4.Remove the lid and dry the sauce slowly, mashing the onions and garlic with a spatula.
5.Add the fresh tomatoes, green chillies, tomato purée, methi and mint leaves. Stir until the tomatoes have been reduced and the whole mixture looks like a sauce. If the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan, add a little water at a time as you go along. Once the mixture starts releasing the oil, it is ready.
6.Add fresh coriander, cover and remove from heat.
7.Balti gosht is ready. It is best eaten with hot Tandoori Roti 2 or Nan or Chapatties and a few good friends!!

Notes

Remember to keep all ingredients as near to fresh and unprocessed as possible.
The amounts given are for a mildly hot curry but you can increase or decrease the amount of chillies according to your taste. All other ingredients remain the same.
Kalonji can be spelled as Kalowunji on some packets.

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