As a child, the idea of the kidney as consumable meat was utterly horrifying. To my brain, meat was only restricted to the neatly prepackaged cuts you saw in the supermarket. Clean, blood-free and familiar. It wasn’t until much later that I realised the reality of the situation. That all of these things could come from the same animal.

This led me to the very obvious question of why these different cuts were treated so differently. Why could a prime steak be treated with reverence and tripe from the same animal be treated with such disdain? What had offal done that was so awful? In the end, it turned out that it’s all a matter of perception and perhaps even more importantly, how the meat is treated. 

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Kidneys by nature have a strong, distinct flavour, which isn’t always appealing to those unfamiliar with them. Almost metallic and sometimes reminiscent of blood, it takes a lot of careful cooking and some choice of spicing to make its natural flavour work in harmony for a delicious dish. But with a ton of benefits, they are incredibly nutritious providing iron, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids

This Parsi dish takes those cues and runs with them using liberal amounts of chilli, ginger, spices and the acidity of tomatoes to tame the taste of the kidneys and transport it to a rich, dunk-worthy sauce. If you’re still sceptical about the potential of offal as a delectable ingredient, this recipe will make you think twice. 

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm lambs kidneys
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 – 2 fresh green chillies
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Parsi Sambhar Masala powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree or paste
  • 1 - 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  • Remove and discard the membranes from the kidneys and cut them in half lengthwise and remove and discard the sinews from them.
  • Cut the kidneys into quarters and rub them with the flour and leave for about 5 minutes to lessen the gamey smell, and rinse them well.
  • Chop the onion finely;  finely chop the chillies;  finely chop the coriander leaves so that you have about 2 tbsp of them;  peel and cut the potato into small dice.
  • In a pan heat the oil over low to medium heat and fry the onion until starting to turn golden.  
  • Add the garlic-ginger paste, chillies, chilli, turmeric and Sambhar powders, tomato puree, water and potato dice, stir, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the kidneys and half the coriander leaves, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, ensuring that the potato and the kidneys are cooked.
  • Add salt and pepper and lemon juice, stir, cover the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.