Think of hills in India and one is immediately reminded of a piping hot plate of maggi or momos with garma garam chai. But ever wondered how these mountains may have a lot more hidden beyond the common? Himachal for instance, is a treasure trove of regional, exotic delicacies that are worth celebrating. The region of Himachal is surrounded by states like Punjab and J&K, which are known for sumptuous meat delicacies, and the influence of the same can be witnessed in the range of non-vegetarian dishes of Himachal. From simple mutton     broths to rich and decadent mutton curries, Himachal has it all. And if you are looking to experience something truly authentic, flavourful and rich, Chha Gosht is one dish you shouldn’t miss. 

Tangy, tantalising and one of its kind, Chha gosht, which is also locally known as khatta ghosht, is a mutton curry that is made with a beautiful blend of besan, buttermilk and an array of aromatic whole spices. Its thick and luscious gravy is sure to make you drool when served with a steaming hot plate of rice. The gravy is thick and luscious and the meat feels heavenly with a plate of rice. Chha gosht get its tangy flavour as well as the name from buttermilk, or chaas. It is like an ode to the tradition of using chaas in Himachali cuisine and the local people’s penchant for all things tangy and tantalising. While it was a staple feast in local homes during winters earlier, nowadays it is rare to find, unless you specifically search for it.  

 

The origins of Chha Gosht are humble though, it is known as shepherd’s food. It is popularly known to have been made by the shepherds who had to spend the winters on the snow-capped mountains with nothing more than meat and buttermilk available to survive. Many old references suggest that Chha Gosht originated to be like a one pot meal made by the Gaddi tribe of Dhauladhar for the herders, who needed something hearty after a full day of work. While earlier it was just toughened meat thrown in a pot full of fresh buttermilk and left to slow cook for hours, when trades route opened it got the influence of both Mughlai and Dogri cuisines and gift whole spices such as cardamom. It transformed from what was essentially a yakhni to a curdled bright yellow gravy.

Source: Chha Gosht

Want to try this at home? We’ve got a perfect recipe for it. The process involves preparing the mutton and the gravy separately and then bringing the two together.  Find the full recipe below.

Chha Gosht Recipe

1/2 kg Mutton

1/2 Cup Buttermilk

1/2 Cup Chopped onions

2 Tbsp Besan flour

1 Tbsp Ginger garlic paste

1 Bay leaf

1 medium sized cinnamon stick

1-2 Green cardamoms

2-4 Cloves

4-5 Black pepper

1-2 Dried red chillies

A pinch of hing

1/2 tsp Coriander powder

1/2 tsp Haldi

1/2 tsp Red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Method

1. Add the mutton, whole spices, some salt in a pressure cooker and cook it for 3-4 whistles.

2. Remove the mutton pieces and save some mutton stock for the gravy.

3. Add oil in a pan and cook a pinch of hing, dried red chilli, ginger garlic paste.

4. Now add the onions and other dry Ingredients like coriander powder, haldi, red chilli powder.

5. Add besan and mix everything well together.

6. Once the besan and onion masala has been mixed well, add the buttermilk and stir well.

7. Add the saved mutton stock too, check for salt and adjust accordingly.

8. Now add the mutton and let everything cook well. Keep the consistency as dry or runny as you like. Serve hot with rice or roti.